Goodwill Hunting

by Lowest Lame.


For all you hunters and gatherers who want to share in finding THE UNEXPECTED(!), THE UNUSUAL(!), and THE UNIQUE(!) amid the used and unwanted...

Let's do some Goodwill hunting.

Now, I'm not talkin' goodwill as in random acts of kindness or the Matt Damon variety (although that would be nice too), NO! This is about thrift stores, vintage boutiques, and consignment shops.

The reasons that myself and others shop these consumer cast-off outlets are as varied as the stuff you will find.

If you long for clothing and trappings of everyday life that set you in a different place and time, there is vintage galore. Authentic shirts, pants, jackets, pj's and negligees from the 1940's to the 1970's are just waiting for a second chance at life. Stuck in the 80's? Probably the most commercial and materialistic decade of the last century, the "Reagan Years" provide us with a plethora of styles. Eighties trends:
- The padded shoulders of "Dallas", and patted ass of Madonna.
- Cyndi Lauper's "true colors" shined through with fluorescent shoestrings. Born in the 70's, punk style grew up and branched out.

You can find all this and more. I'm sure this isn't anything new to you, as the trend to buy and wear "vintage" has rollercoastered through the last two generations.

So, why do we shop second hand stores? Most of this sales genre is run by non-profit organizations. Goodwill Industries' 2006 financial report (latest available info) showed $2.9 billion dollars in revenue with 83% of that moola going to fund education, career services, and other community programs. Close to 1 million people benefited from these services.

Privately owned stores are usually a treat, offering the sublime chance to meet some other eccentrics who share your love of all things retro.

So besides the win/win of buying second hand from charitable organizations, and the gratification of our old-fashioned fetishes, there is also the "green reason". Recycling and reusing many items that still have plenty of life in them keeps them out of our landfills. You can whip up some wooley mittens out of a tattered sweater, or braid some faded flannel into a rug (Have I gone too far?!)

Last, but not least, is the other green reason: Money. Today you are hard-pressed to find a quality made, natural fiber anything for say, $3, which is the average going price for a gently used long sleeve shirt. And for you name brand whores (I've been called that!), A $3 price tag can make your eyes pop out and your fingers twitch. That kind of buzz usually costs alot more!

Whether you're looking to get kitted out in some new threads, or find some creature comforts for the place you call home, check out your local thrift store.

In Pittsburgh, check out Hey Betty and Eons Fashion Antiques, both on Ellsworth Ave.

New Castle (PA) has several consignment shops; The Down Under, for instance, offers a regular collection of used t's and jeans.

In Farrell, check out Prince of Peace Thrift Store. It's out of the way and great pickin's!

The motherload, over in Austintown, OH, is the Vintage Thrift, 2 floors of fabulous.

Happy trails!!
--Lowest Lame, 1/25/08

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