Saturday, November 24, 2012

No 'Black Friday' for me, I shopped at the Salvation Army Thrift Store!

Black Friday Idiots in Somewhere, America 2012
I have mixed-feelings about this time of the year. Although I enjoy Thanksgiving and being with my family, and taking a moment to think about the things I'm thankful for, I'm also very cynical and down right depressed about the state of my country when I see so much emphasis placed on buying silly material stuff on special promotion at retailers. This is not new, this is something that has been bubbling under my skin for many years. Back in 2008, when I traveled to England the day after Thanksgiving, it was nice to be away from the crazy media about all the silly American shoppers lining up in the freezing cold to get their hands on a 50 inch TV (and it's always a damn TV that people want, isn't it?) for $129. However, being out of the country allowed me to really see for the first time, just how sad the entire shopping circus has become. And that year was when a security guard at Walmart got trampled over and died from his injuries. Let's read that again, a Wal-mart! It's always the same stores that we see in the media that features stupid people acting stupid: Wal-mart, Target, KMart, and Best Buy,... you get the picture. And yes, at the large malls, many other retailers have their influx of the cheap crazy people too, but it's just more newsworthy to show the really insane and those people are at the stores I list. I don't do Wal-Mart, I haven't done KMart since 2002, and I haven't visited Target since earlier this year. What I have been doing as of late is shopping online through or I love to shop, but I'm very selective, and I'm always on a budget, and I HATE crowds, large, loud, crazy, rude, crowds at the mall.
1621 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI
My primary purpose in writing this blog article is to share with you an experience I had when I visited the local Salvation Army Thrift store here in Ann Arbor (image above) today. I have been there a few times before, and after today's visit, I need to make this a routine visit from now on. When I travel to England, I visit the charity shops, that's what they are called there, and I have found some neat stuff. One of my favorite sweaters is from a charity shop I got in Black Heath, a neighborhood of London. Earlier this week as I was reviewing my budget, which includes my December rent, Christmas (doh!), and my impromptu weekend trip to Toronto, I realized that I just don't have it in my budget to buy a new winter coat that I have had my eye on, which cost $235. The current coats I have are still functional, but I really need a new coat as this winter is going to be brutal, I just sense it. So after realizing that I can't buy myself a new coat, that's when I thought about going to the thrift shop to see what coats they had for sale there.

As a back history, I have known many people, poor, middle-class, upper class, who have shopped at thrift shops. It is amazing what you can find there! If you have a flair for fashion, a thrift store is a goldmine, and according to the completely filled up shopping carts at the Salvation Army store this afternoon, there are a lot of thrifty & fashionable, and budget-conscious shoppers in the Ann Arbor area. I swear I think people were even wearing clothes that they had previously bought from there while shopping for more stuff. Well, the thrift store here in Ann Arbor is gigantic, and had I been better prepared and allowed for more time to be there, I could have easily spent several hundred dollars. But I didn't want to go overboard. I went over to the coat section and it's so nice that they have the coats color coordinated and by length so that I could go to the exact rack where my coat style was located. I saw several coats that I really like and I tried them all on. But I wound up buying a black mid-length winter Liz Claibourne coat that was in excellent condition! I could not believe it, I still can't believe I have such a nice coat! Whomever had it before did not wear it often, if ever. And it was ONLY $24.99. I'm sure this coat would have gone for $199 at the store. I love it!!! I also bought a lighter black jacket for $6.99, a long overcoat for the office (it will look great with my leggings) at $2.99 (OMG!), a beautiful blue/purpleish sweater wrap for $6.99, a black mock turtle neck for $1.99 (Banana Republic), and a small lamp for my bedside table (my previous lamp of 17 years died this summer) for $2.99  My total was $49 and some change. Un-believable!

No crowds, no crazy parking wars, no fighting over bargains... just a pleasant experience of shopping at a thrift store, two miles away from the crazy mall, and finding donated articles that I bought and need, with the monies going to help the Salvation Army help people who need their services. So, for this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for my common sense and decency.

Lastly, since it's that time of year and if you're in the spirit of donating some money to a worthy cause, why not consider visiting the Salvation Army website and make a donation into their Online Red Kettle. :-)

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