NEW YEAR’S SHOPPING THOUGHTS

I spent yesterday at our local internationally-famous mall, checking out their “end-of-year” sales. The parking lot was full, the mall was packed, there was a line of 20 people waiting to get into the Starbucks, and everybody (except for the woman carrying a puppy) was carrying bags of merchandise. Now everyone (except for the puppy and some babies) was in a happy, festive mood. But as I looked at all the shopping bags, I wondered: how much of this stuff do these people actually need? (We’re not counting the puppy. Puppies need homes.)

At our thrift shop, customers aren’t buying because of mall glitz, fashion trends, or the desire to post a selfie of yourself in front of the Chanel store. Most of them are buying things they truly need: clothes for work or play, dishes and cookware, bedding, gifts for others. Or they’re indulging themselves with some jewelry or a collectible, at a price that won’t require a 2nd mortgage. When I ring up a sale at the shop, I feel that the customer is buying something they’ve they’re going to use and love – something they really want or need.

Meanwhile, if you really want and need a puppy, I refer you to the Irvine Animal Care Center, where they have lots of puppies (and kittens) who would love a new home in 2017. Otherwise, come by the ALI thrift shop for everything else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE JOYS OF BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORES

Did you ever notice how nostalgic people are for the days of the small neighborhood shop? The flower stall where the owner conveniently mis-delivers a bouquet of roses in order to introduce two lovelorn customers to each other? The clothing boutique with hand knit-sweaters and jewelry made by local artists? The “general store” where everyone in town wanders in to buy popsicles, pick up their mail, and hear the latest gossip?

You can tell I’ve been watching a lot of Hallmark TV. But what all these stores have in common is that they’re actual stores, where the customers can see and touch the merchandise, talk to the sales staff, and compare notes with other shoppers. There’s something emotionally satisfying about shopping in a real store – a connection to the shopping experience that you don’t get when you shop over the internet.

Pull yourself away from your computer and indulge your nostalgia at our brick-and-mortar thrift shop (we know it’s not brick-and-mortar, but “concrete slab thrift shop” doesn’t quite have the same cachet). You can try on the clothes, play with the stuffed animals, and tell immediately if the crystal candlesticks are going to match your dining room. You can share a friendly smile with one of our volunteers, or chat with another customer about the new restaurant down the street. And you’ll see so many interesting things in our shop that, just like those nostalgic TV shows, you’ll need a few sequels to take it all in.

WHAT WE’RE THANKFUL FOR

As Thanksgiving approaches, here’s the Assistance League of Irvine version of that holiday tradition where you go around the table and everyone names one thing they’re thankful for:

  • We’re thankful for the chance to live in Irvine, a safe and beautiful city in the best country in the world.
  • We’re thankful that we have the resources – time, health, and opportunity – to give back to our community.
  • We’re thankful for those who donate to our thrift shop. You care enough to make the trip over to our shop with the clothes and household items you no longer need, instead of tossing them in the dumpster.
  • We’re thankful for those of you who donate cash or personal services to us – these make a huge difference in our ability to fund our philanthropies.
  • We’re thankful for the teachers, school counselors, and school nurses who help direct families to our Operation School Bell and Scholarship programs.
  • We’re thankful for the help of Target North in the Irvine Marketplace, our partner store where our OSB clients shop for school clothing.
  • We’re thankful for the Irvine Unified School District art specialists and the student artists who make up our annual “Young Masters” exhibitors at City Hall each spring – so much talent in one city!
  • We’re thankful for our Assisteens, who are devoting time in middle school and high school to helping others, through a variety of activities.
  • And we’re thankful for all of you thrift shop customers (and blog readers!) – you’re our partners in this whole endeavor.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from Assistance League of Irvine!

Behind the scenes – what really happens in Santa’s workshop!

The ALI thrift shop is stocked with holiday merchandise – lights, ornaments, Hanukkah-themed items, tabletop linens and decor, and much, much, MUCH more!

Now if this were a movie, little singing birds and mice wearing adorable clothing would have miraculously appeared in the dead of night to put these fantastic holiday treasures on the shelves.

In real life, there’s no fairy godmother with a magic wand to make this happen.  It’s all done by – you guessed it – your devoted ALI volunteers!

We collected 200 plastic storage bins of holiday merchandise during the year (thanks to all you devoted supporters of ALI who donated your holiday decorations to us!) And every donation that went into those bins was inspected, cleaned, priced, and wrapped for protection before it went into storage.  Our three “holiday merchandising managers” – Libby, Robin, and Sharyl – did this ALL YEAR LONG.  You know how you feel after you finally put the decorations away? Imagine doing that week after week!

It’s taking ALL of our volunteers, working behind the scenes, to unwrap everything in those 200 bins and put it out in the shop for you.  So every Tuesday in November, we’ll empty a few more bins and have MORE HOLIDAY ITEMS on the shelves for you.  Come by on our special November Tuesday shopping days to see what’s new!

And if you see an ALI volunteer with a name tag that reads Libby, Robin, or Sharyl – give her a big “Thank you” for filling all those bins!

GET THOSE SLEIGH BELLS JINGLING . . .

Thrift shoppers and blog readers, we know you’re eagerly awaiting our “Holiday Extravaganza” shopping day when we bring out all our holiday merchandise for the first time! We have BIG NEWS for you. This year we won’t just have one Holiday Extravaganza Day – we’re going to have a WHOLE HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA MONTH!

That’s right – we’ll be putting out NEW HOLIDAY MERCHANDISE on EVERY TUESDAY IN NOVEMBER! You read that correctly – TUESDAYS. We’ve collected SO MANY holiday donations over the past year that we’re going to be open for EXTRA SHOPPING DAYS on Tuesdays in November, 10 am to 3 pm. Every week in November, you’ll see different holiday items on the shelves.   You’ll have to visit us again and again to make sure you don’t miss anything!

So hitch up your horses and put the bells on your sleigh, and get ready for our Holiday shopping, starting TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1ST!

NO DEBATE ABOUT THIS!

I don’t know about you, but I’m TIRED of hearing about debates. I’m starting to feel that what began as a good idea has morphed into a huge uncontrollable thing that occupies all our attention for weeks on end. Kind of like when you start out with a nice little baby, and then it grows into . . . a teenager.

Now there are a lot of things we can debate, in politics and in life (dogs v. cats, vanilla v. chocolate, the Angels v. the Dodgers, leaving the seat up v. leaving the seat down, and on and on). But one thing that there’s NO DEBATE on: the ALI thrift store is the place to shop!

Whether it’s clothes, shoes, housewares, gifts, toys, or timeless treasures, you’ll always find great quality, great prices, and no sales tax when you shop with us. And the money we make at the shop goes to support our programs here in Irvine, so you’re helping people in your community, too.

The ONLY debate you’ll have when you visit Assistance League of Irvine will be: how much stuff should I buy?  SHOP NOW

IT’S THE WITCHING HOUR

Halloween is around the corner. . . the dark sky lit by a pale crescent moon . . . the sudden rush of ghostly chilled air in a warm room . . . the creak of hinges as the candle sputters out . . . the parade of goblins and black cats and witches that leads to . . . the ALI thrift shop!

Yes, HALLOWEEN IS COMING TO THE THRIFT SHOP! Our Halloween costumes and decor will be out in the shop starting WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28! Be there at 10 am when we open for the best selection of Halloween merchandise. We’ve got costumes for children and adults, home decor, Halloween jewelry, and much, much more. Shop now and you’ll be able to enjoy the Halloween spirit all through October.

And since everything you buy at the ALI thrift shop is a fraction of the original cost, you can shop with us and still have money left over for your Halloween candy!