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.