Kulturblog Thrifting: What’s your greatest find?

by Bret

Ok, so this is mostly so I can brag, but also because I thought it would make an interesting conversation.

Last Friday I did my weekly run to the local Thrift Store and found the greatest treasure trove I have ever seen and perhaps ever will see. I walked down the aisle full of puzzles and boardgames (What did you expect? I’m the board game geek around here!) and found a neatly stacked row of old Avalon Hill games in pristine condition, just sitting there, all by themselves with no one to care for them. (Avalon Hill was the premiere game publisher for decades before the current renaissance instigated by the advent of the all powerful Internets) Being the cautious cheapskate that I am I quickly snapped a photo and sent it off to two of my gaming buddies. One of them promptly called me back and told me to grab them all quickly and without hesitation. I obeyed. Two games are missing some key components but otherwise they’re complete and in excellent shape.

Total price for 10 games–$30.

Total approximate value–$200-$250

Needless to say, I’ve been ecstatic even if a little unnerved that I have turned into my mother in a way I most hated as a child. However, what I want to know is what all of YOU think or have experienced with thrift shopping.

What’s your greatest find?

Is thrifting part of your lifestyle? Why or why not?

What’s the deal with our cultural obsession with finding a great deal?

Other thoughts?

8 thoughts on “Kulturblog Thrifting: What’s your greatest find?

  1. OH Yes indeed. The only piece of furniture in my entire house I purchased new is my kitchen table.

    I hit garage sales religiously in the spring and summer. I have my favorite thrift stores I hit regularly.

    My greatest find? Oh man, that’s hard. Probably my antique Kohler Piano that came from San Francisco right before the earthquake and fire in 1906. I got it for $100. It’s beautiful.

    In my living room alone I have two wing chairs ($5 each), the piano, a Pottery Barn coffee table ($10), an antique music stand ($15), and a 1936 Royal typewriter ($3). All from garage sales.

    Estate sales are the best. I get most of my sewing, craft and knitting supplies at estate sales.

    Most valuable find ever? At a thrift store in Redwood City, my mom and I found this old cartoon drawing of Dumbo for 50 cents. We picked it up, and it turned out to be an original production cell from the movie, back when they would give them away.

  2. A complete set of encyclopedias for $3.

    Once I was killing time in an old pawn shop and saw an autographed picture of Bob Hope. It said something to the effect of “To my great friend Frank P, Bob Hope”. The reason it was awesome is my Dad’s name is Frank P, so it ended up being the greatest birthday gift ever. He kept it on his desk for years prior to retiring always starting conversations.

  3. Careful, thrifting is addictive! But it’s the best addiction ever, and has to be the least expensive. I find great stuff all the time. My whole house is furnished in Early Yard Sale, and I haven’t bought clothes in a store for two or three years. Just sitting here looking at my desk alcove, the only thing I see that was purchased new is my computer.

    I think the obsession with finding a deal is that you get that great feeling of winning. And the nice thing about thrifting is, your win does not come at the expense of someone else losing.

  4. I love it all. Thrift stores/garage sales are great for finding costumes and for entertainment (all kinds of weird stuff), Craigslist and freecycle are great when you need something specific.

    At least half our furniture is either from garage sales or Craigslist (my favorite of these, a big solid oak cupboard, has functioned as a pantry, a place to put dishes, a toy cupboard, and is currently our boys’ dresser…I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it). All of it was very cheap, and exactly what I wanted…and if my kids take a sharpie to them, it’s not going to raise my blood pressure much.

  5. I mostly only look for old cameras and vinyl at thrift stores. Best find would probably be a Yashica T4 point-and-shoot 35mm film camera I picked up for about $5. I didn’t know what it was, but it had a Zeiss lens, which I knew was quality. Turns out they go for around $100 on ebay.

    I saw a Tyra show once where she talked about hitting yard sales at the end of the day. Sometimes you can get furniture for free because people just want to get rid of it and don’t want to haul it back into their house or garage.

  6. I’ve been to estate sales where they give you brown grocery bag at the end of the day and you can fill it for $5 or less. I like those.

  7. Estate sales creep me out. But you can find some cool stuff. Last one I went to there was a guy who has a job just going to estate sales looking for furniture and stuff to use as props in movies.

  8. Wow. You all know what you’re doing much more than I do (though I admit I’m a pretty lazy thrifter going to one store weekly looking only for games and books. Though I imagine that could change drastically when/if I ever get married:)
    I like what you said, Queen, about how it’s a feeling of winning without anyone having to lose. I had a great experience of that earlier this year when I traded another game I found for 2 bucks to a guy who’s been looking for it for years for FOUR games I wanted. Both of us were very happy with the trade, so we both won big!

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