There’s something about thrift store shopping that carries the thrill of a treasure hunt—no really, I’m not the only one who thinks this! Of course, most of us who frequent thrift stores (& I don’t include either vintage clothing stores or antique stores in this) first did so as bohemian college students; some of us have stayed bohemians for various reasons, while others just can’t kick the habit. Anyhoo, I’m happy to say I’ve frequented thrift stores from Burlington, VT to Pasadena, CA, & lots of places in between.
There are so many reasons to shop at thrift stores, & the fact the stuff is cheap is only one of them. In fact, one could make the argument that these days the evil corporate big box stores may be cheaper in some ways, because theoretically, at least, new clothing should last longer than old clothing. But there are two arguments against this—first, the reason the evil corporate big box stores can sell their clothes so cheaply has to do with heinous stuff like child labor & other atrocious labor conditions in third world countries; second, none of those mega retailers ever carries stuff as cool as the apparel (& other goodies) you can find at thrift stores.
I’ve had lots of fun & satisfying thrift store experiences over the years; this is one time I wish I’d kept some journal of these more mundane events over the years, because my memory on many of the details (store names, etc.) is fuzzy at best. Obviously, two great stores from my days living in Baghdad by the Bay were Thrift Town on Mission Street (pictured above) & the Goodwill Store on Haight. I got everything at these stores from vacuum cleaners & kitchen tables to ashtrays to flower vases to t-shirts & sport coats. Thrift Town in particular was great for folks furnishing an apartment on the cheap—it even had (& may still have, for all I know) an appliance testing room. It was a hassle sometimes hauling the big stuff home on BART, however….
Anyway, I could (& probably will, at some point) write about all sorts of items I’ve picked at various thrift stores along the way—but today my focus is on t shirts, & I’ll show off a few of our favorite finds.
I always liked the Buffalo Books t-shirt in the pic below (Eberle & I—yours truly with a weird Council, ID barbershop haircut—in Portland—pic taken by Portland pal Sue Rubin). Sadly, I used to wear it playing baseball & later softball, so it’s gone the way of old t-shirts. This was from Thrift Town.
One “sleeper” locale for great thrift stores is Walla Walla, WA. Why this would be true is a great universal mystery, but trust me—it is. We used to spend Thanksgivings with a whole bunch of great folks at our good pals JD Smith, Caty Clifton & Clifford Smith’s house in the Blue Mountains near Westin, OR, & then later in Athena, OR; & one staple of those visits was the day after trip to Walla Walla for thrift stores & ice skating. Eberle & I bought matching Lay-Rite Masonry t-shirts, complete with walking “brick-man” logo (I know, “too cute” couple stuff); she’s modeling hers in the pic below. Don’t know why I was so taken with these, but I still like them.Back at the turn of the century (takes a minute to think about that, doesn’t it?) we went to visit our Pasadena pals Audrey Bilger & Cheryl Pawelski. Audrey took Eberle & I to a fantastic thrift store—sorry, I can’t recall the name (anyone out there recall?)—where Eberle found the Green Eggs & Ham t-shirt she’s wearing in the pic below (that’s Cheryl, Audrey, Eberle & yours truly, l-r). I think Eberle’s always been abashed at the good fortune involved in scoring this one….Finally, in addition to my obsessions that have already come up on the blog, I’m pretty much obsessed with Mr Potato Head. I’ll write more about this some other time, but I got the great t shirt I’m wearing in the pic below (taken by Dani Leone during “The Grub Stake” recording sessions in 06) at the Idaho Youth Ranch in Payette, ID. This place runs hot & cold, but if you catch it at the right time, it can be great.
Update: Our good pal Audrey sent an email to say that Eberle found the Dr Seuss t-shirt at the Goodwill Store in Pasadena. She also notes that store is "still one of my main sources of clothing." I'm guessing it's Goodwill Store on North Altadena Dr.