Thrift stores have been closed for about a month now. That’s a sentence I thought I’d never write, but knee-deep into COVID-19 with no relief in sight, we’re all just hoping that things get better. I’m publishing this a month after I’m writing this, so maybe things will have gotten better. It’s hard to say. I went to drive around yesterday and look at what’s changed, specifically, whether thrift stores received any illegally dumped donations.
In 2013, ‘I was unemployed and looking for work, so I thought it would be a good idea to work at a thrift store. I thought it would be fun. I was wrong.’ I’ve written about some of these experiences years later, but I uncovered this essay from that time, so let’s read, together, my thoughts on working there. I’ll edit anything out that’s too personal or too weird, otherwise, this was how it was like…
I used to go thrifting with my wallet ready to bleed money. I would scour through thrift stores, pawn shops, swap meets, flea markets, antique boutiques, and other second-hand resellers ready to buy anything weird or that which should be in any of my collections. I’m more reserved now. I even doubted if I should ever go back to any thrift stores, but it turns out, it’s easy to turn down that compulsive over-spending. How?
“Have you noticed any changes with me over the last two years?” “I’m not sure. I don’t have a very good memory about that sort of thing.[1,2]” It’s been two years since I started Better Zombie. Then, I inconsequentially wasted time and money for hedonistic reasons. Now, I constantly strive to better myself, my work, and my environment through each of my writings. I’m still hedonistic, sure, I just act with more purpose. Let’s time-travel:
Thrift stores are wrought with morality and mortality. Every item was once someone’s misguided best intentions, loss of interest, or change in life situation. It’s no one’s fault. Handling donations one winter years back, I once accepted a woman’s donations and the story of her daughter outgrowing them, only to see some of those innocent objects destroyed in the trash compactor hours later. At least I gave her a sense of restoring her intended honor.
“What did that [overhead announcement] mean? It sounded cool!” “It meant [basically] in 30 minutes, all hands on deck[1,2].” Coming up on 5 years ago, I was just bumming around in life, and ended up working at a thrift store for the hell of it. While looking for new junk is my primary reason for going, I also like going to remind myself of the times I hopped into gnarly trailers full of donations to salvage rarities.
Words mean nothing in fitness. Similarly to wanting to become a writer yet never practicing writing, you must put in the work not just for fitness but anything in life, in order to achieve the results you want. Fortunately, once you start putting in the work, it becomes easier and after a while, you can’t even imagine life without doing that work as often as you can. It’s a positive feedback loop with subtle results.
Thrifting is anthropological, curatable, functional, fanciful, and recalibrating. I can study an area based on what the average citizen donates. I collect many things. I occasionally need things and some things are just curious enough to own. Most important for me, if I’m stressed out, feeling anxious, or otherwise “not so self-assured,” walking through thrift stores reminds me to take it easy for a bit. There is no hurry exploring materialistic gardens of fascinating junk.