Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thrift stores

Salvation Army Thrift Store; Augusta, ME
Forgot where is this.

A lot of us have seen these if not shopped there. Thrift stores, or charity shops (UK term). In the States, the bulk of them are run by the Salvation Army, and in the UK, Oxfam rule the roost. Goodwill have also cornered the market, but I've only gone in Albany, NY. In my area, the Rescue Mission in Syracuse and Binghamton have Thrifty Shopper. We used to have Volunteers of America in Auburn. Others are indies, run by churches, hospitals, care homes, and non-profit organisations. Some are even for-profit, but I haven't seen any in my state.
One can find clothes, records, videos, electronics, books, toys, furniture, appliances, drinking glasses, costume jewellery, and other odds and ends at rock-bottom prices. You can donate items as well. Most places, you have to have someone look at them first, especially if you want a receipt for an itemised tax write-off (laws may vary by state and country), or if there are restrictions on what's accepted (TVs are a big one because of DTV making older sets obsolete). If something doesn't sell, it could go in the free bin or the dust bin! The revenue after costs and payroll is supposed to help those in need if it's philanthropic. Also, inventory is usually sold as-is and may not be as varied and desirable as when it was brand-new and sold at a conventional retail outlet. With the recession, families are turning to charity shops for everyday items on a budget. The Rescue Mission also has clothing giveaways for the needy.
I think because these op shops aren't about the bottom line, it isn't directly part of the economy, even though because of it, these stores are more relevant than before. Also, those who must squeeze pennies, as well as those who are into vintage fashion, will keep these places around a long time.

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