I am painfully aware that op shopping has been an element sadly lacking from this blog since we came to the United States. Please rest assured that this is not for lack of of actual op shopping, but rather that it has taken me this long to come to terms with the amount of stuff that is here in the thrift stores. America is full of stuff (and as for its corollary, nonsense, well, I'll leave that for another time).
It's actually hard to know where to begin. Well ok, maybe with Value Village which is where my thrifting career took off. We were living in temporary housing in Kirkland at the time (on Seattle's Eastside) and this was one of my closest thrifts. And we're going to talk thrifts from now on, partly because that's the lingo here but also because it feels unnatural to talk about op shops. To me, op shops are run by charities or churches or community organisations, to benefit those organisations or deserving causes. In Melbourne, for instance, I don't consider Savers to be an op shop.
Value Village is the same company here in the Pacific Northwest. It's run for private profit with a bit of money being donated to charities. Incredible business model - receive a large portion of your inventory for free from people who are willing to donate to charity and keep a large share of the profit made. But anyway, having said which, I love Value Village. I don't donate anything to them (I save that for the volunteer-run shops) but I love to shop there. On Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday all items with a tag of a particular colour (orange, blue, purple, whatever) are half price. These are the items that have been sitting on the shelves the longest. Then on Monday those same items are 99 cents. So technically, yes, you could score a couch on a Monday for 99 cents (but it would probably be a very ugly couch). I have been at Value Village on a Monday morning, just incidentally, and there are queues at the door. Queues.
So, the volume and array of stuff to be found at Seattle (and area) thrift stores, like Value Village, is amazing, astounding, awesome. The result of a rampant consumer culture crossed with a throw-away mentality is that you can find pretty much anything that you want or need at the thrift store. Yes, you can head there with a shopping list and just pick up what you're looking for. Until last night the only things that I had had no luck with were Scrabble and a digital kitchen scale. Now I'm just looking for the Scrabble.
All of which brings me around to telling you about my stay at The Last Resort. To be continued ...