Thrift store closings are hot topics these days, well at least among my circle of former thrift lovers. Yes, I say "former" because many of us have decided that most of our time and dollars are better spent in retail stores. Uh-huh, "retail", you read it right. Many of us are going back to retail while watching the list of thrift store closings grow longer and longer. Thrift store chain Savers, the largest chain of non-profit thrift stores with a total of 350 stores in the US and Canada, is closing a total of 14 stores this spring due to lagging sales performance. The Salvation Army Family Store of Madison County, Alabama is closing by the end of the month and we can't help but wonder "How in the heck does a thrift store go outta business with all of the free donations and tax credits?" Even for-profit stores can "pimp" a charity for donations, right? Then, we discuss discuss our theories of who we think should be next on the "biggest loser" list and why.
Let's talk about the "who".
It's no secret that a local thrift store is my least favorite. Aside from a couple of managers and employees, the store is nothing to brag about but definitely something to complain about. Since changing ownership a few years back, the place has taken a nose dive and I can't help but think "That's what you get!" They have sucked the fun out of thrifting with a jumbo straw and the remaining customers are all singing in unison "Old thrift store ain't what it used to be!" either to "boogie oogie" or "gospel" instrumentals; whatever's playing at the time.
Now, on to the why.
They took a perfectly operating store and attempted to transform it into a trash collecting beast, an empire of second-hand goods, but it's slowing but surely going to ruins. First of all, we don't appreciate "Californy" city slickers trying to play us for fools all in the name of Christianity while collecting our donated goods and adding their profits to the devil's money bag. That free junk that they sell, a lot of that crap is donated by us, repurchased by us, and then redonated by us. They take it, increase the price each time they resell, then ROTFL as the next thrift addict takes the bait. But you know how the old saying goes "You can't fool all of the people all of the time so guess who's not donating back anymore? You're right! A lot of "former" thrifters that I know simply refuse to donate any goods plus we're spending as little money as we can when shopping there. We've learned to feed what's left our addictions by choosing "over priced" items that we like (if we are lucky enough to find any) and then putting most everything back before we leave; enjoying the experience with minimal cost. Hah! It's our version of a "nicotine patch" the single thrift cigarette that we puff, snuff out, only to relight it the next day making it last all week! It's called Thrift Replacement Therapy (TRT).
Hah! That's what we all are saying. Employees are getting the best goods and jacking up the prices of Basic Editions and Faded Glory. Foolish right? Even the poor folk who care very little about style aren't buying it anymore. Those cheap, shapeless, worn, torn, and tattered items just sit on the sales floor until sold to the highest bidder in a third world country and the lonely shoe sold to the amputee at a veteran's home. You know a shoe without a mate is in high demand, right? Of course you didn't know that; only a greedy thrift store owner would!
I sit and shake my head at how an insatiable greed plus Google is driving thrift stores further into a trashy grave. They throw wrenches into their own wheels of productivity, while doing price comparisons with retail chains along with eBay and Poshmark sellers. They are obsessed with individuals who are making profits on thrifted purchases. "No way", they say. "We can't have that!" Then walks in the Processing Sheriff, whips out the pricing gun and the price goes through the roof! Still shaking my head.
Those slickers thought that we weren't too bright, just because we might see a UFO every now and then, huh? Well, those of us country bumpkins who have been thrifting for years are just sitting back on our bags of valuable goods from days gone by while watching thrift stores play out a sorry hand with a bright red flag pinned to their back ends. Sorry guys, but that bull called greed is charging at cha and we're the cheering crowd!
Now, it's our time to ROTFL!