Sunday, February 28, 2010

Open Letter To Thrift Stores

Alright folks, I'm taking a slight break from the music reviews for this blog. But don't worry I will return with the third album review in my sophomore success series. I know you're waiting with bated breath for it. Here's a hint: It's from a Scottish twee-pop band named after a French novel. You don't know who it is? Some hipster you are. Which brings me to today's blog.
Anyone that knows me, knows that one of my biggest obsessions other than collecting records is going to thrift stores. I love the thrill of the hunt and finding crazy stuff. It is also my "job" to find it, as currently I make my living selling neat pop culture stuff on Ebay and Amazon. However, in recent years I've had to deal with hipsters snagging neat vintage clothes before I do and don't get me started on the book re-sellers with their fancy bar code scanners. But this blog is not about them, nor is it intended for them. This is my open letter to thrift stores for some changes I think it would be best for them to implement. Here we go:

Dear Thrift stores/Second Hand Shops,

I love you. I love you so much it hurts. I've been shopping at your locations since I had to wear "Husky" sized pants. It hasn't been until recently that a few things have started to bother me. Rant begins now:

1- NEVER put out any clothes with holes or stains! The fact that I should even address this is mind boggling. I don't care if it's a Polo shirt or a Milli Vanilli tour shirt, if it's ruined it shouldn't be put out. I don't know how many times I've thought I've found a gem only for it to have damage. Clothes like this are still wearable unless they're totally wrecked, but don't try to sell them. Donate them straight to the less fortunate.

2-NEVER put out any family reunion, running event, donate blood,sorority/frat or charity t-shirts. Unless it's Madea's Family Reunion on Donate Blood, play Hockey t-shirts these items are just taking up valuable space on the rack. I guarantee you over 75% of these type of shirts end up being donated after they don't sell anyway. So cut out the middle man and donate them right when you get them. If you don't like that idea, why don't you just throw them in a big bin and sell them for .25 each or 5 for a dollar. I'm pretty sure most people are just buying these shirts to sleep in or do work around the house and feel gouged by having to pay full price for them.

3-In your media section NEVER put out any items that are missing something. I am sick and tired of seeing records without sleeves, sleeves with no records, videos with no boxes, CDs without artwork, books without covers. If I found any of these items in a dumpster or on the curbside I might take a chance on them if only to make collage art out of them. But putting up them out and charging full price is just disgraceful and cluttering up your shelves.

4- NEVER put out in personal items. I don't know how many times I've seen stores trying to sell video tapes or audio tapes of stuff taped off the TV or radio. Not only is it illegal it's just weird and I don't mean weird like "that's awesome weird" I mean like "um, dude that's a bit creepy that you actually think other people would want this." This also applies to picture frames. Many times you can find some wonderful picture frames. But for the love of Pete please remove the family photos before putting them on the shelf. I'm not talking about the pictures that came in the frame when it was brand new, those are fine. I'm talking about the frames that have the family portrait of the Boozensteins from 1982.

5-Have some competitive pricing. Do you really think someone is going to pay twice as much for some used item that they can buy brand new at the dollar store down the street? I've overheard some employees complain about how much stuff they get in and it just sits there. Here's a concept (even with your weekly sales) most stuff is overpriced. Why don't you lower your prices or offer bulk discounts? I don't know if you've noticed but we're in tough economic times. Everyone needs a break. Even though you guys are the "cheapest" in town when it comes to most stuff. It's still not "cheap" enough for those that are only a few steps away from being the people you might have to donate directly to next year.

6-Never put out any broken stuff unless you properly market it. Putting out dishes and glasses with chips and cracks for individual sale is just bad. But put all your broken stuff in one box and sell it as a lot marketed as something for mosaic work=genius. For broken electronic stuff, find some employees that know how to scrap it and you'll make more selling off the precious metals to recyclers than you would trying to sell it in your shop where it is just taking up space.

7- Clean up your place once in awhile!!! Look, I'm not expecting the place to look like Ikea, but my God would it hurt to vacuum, dust or clean your bathrooms more than once a week? McDonalds' food may taste like Alpo, but they're a billion dollar a year industry because they make sure the bathroom is always clean.

So that's it or at least that's all I can think of for now. I'm sure there are many other little pet peeves I have about about thrift stores, but I think I've complained for long enough. There is much more good about a thrift store than bad. I mean I can't bite the hand that feeds to hard, because Kharma is a bitch.

Enjoy or don't.

Darren Menendez

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