Conversation in a thrift store

July 20, 2010

I wanted some fun glassware: cocktail-highball-rocks glasses, and whatever else I could find of that ilk at high-end thrift shops. Something sterilizable, of course.

I don’t really like matchy-matchy stuff, but I do like nice stuff.

So after some research on Yelp, my go-to site for all things commercial, I headed for thrift shops in the three most expensive towns near me: Palo Alto, Los Altos and Los Gatos.

Some of the prices were of the “are you kidding me?” nature. I had to look carefully to find deals.

But I scored a bunch of glassware AND, for $2.99, a nearly brand new Aquascutum tie for my husband. (I hate the few ties he kept in retirement–he is color blind.)

At The Happy Dragon in Los Gatos, the checkout line wound around the entire store, giving me plenty of time to chat with my neighbors.

“This line is a sign of the economy,” noted a 30-something woman in front me. She was holding a couple of skirts in her size and a fistful of children’s clothes. As well as a pad of sketch paper and an ice cream maker.

“You know, I’ve come full circle on this,” she told me. “When we got here from Cambodia we were very poor, on welfare in fact, and my mother could only afford to buy us thrift-shop clothes. I was so embarrassed. When I got out of college I bought my own clothes. After a while, I saw how much they were costing me, and wondered what the heck I would do with them when I was done. Now, I have my own daughter and I buy her thrift clothes. She’s too young right now to know the difference and I think we’re good till, what, she’s 12 or 13? Then it’s going to matter to her.”

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