Coming Attractions in Irvine

Every time we turn on the TV we are deluged with ads for “Coming Attractions” at the movies. At ALI, we can’t afford to buy TV air time, so here are ALI’s OWN COMING ATTRACTIONS FOR THE NEXT FEW WEEKS!

THROUGH FRIDAY, MAY 26: Our annual pre-inventory sale! Incredible discounts on our already low, low prices. We need to sell as much as we can before we take inventory at the end of May. If you buy it – we don’t have to count it!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 31 THROUGH SATURDAY, JUNE 3: THE SHOP WILL BE CLOSED WHILE WE INSTALL NEW FLOORING!!! We tried, and we tried, but there’s no way to do this without closing for a few days. Just save up all those dollars you would have spent at the shop between May 31 and June 3, because . . .

TUESDAY, JUNE 6: YES – TUESDAY! A SPECIAL RE-OPENING SUMMER SPECTACULAR SHOPPING DAY with ALL NEW (well, new to the thrift shop) SUMMER merchandise. Summer clothes, summer accessories, summer shoes, summer hats, and a new supply of housewares, toys, and linens.

None of these “Coming Attractions” feature superheroes, super villains, man-eating space creatures, or songs your kids will sing over and over for the rest of the summer. Just great merchandise at a LOW price (and depending on how much you buy, it’ll be cheaper than going to the movies)!

THRIFT SHOP INFORMATION

Assistance League of Irvine is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization with a rich history of philanthropic programs to meet the needs of our community. Every year our volunteer base grows in strength and hours given, enabling us to provide greater benefits to the community in which we live and work. We are Assistance League.

Vintage is the future!

At the Assistance League of Irvine thrift shop we get all kinds of retro, vintage, and just plain used items. “Retro,” “vintage,” and “mid-century modern” seem to be hot categories right now. For instance, the most popular specialty license plate at the DMV is the legacy yellow-on-black 1960s retro plate. I remember when I had an ORIGINAL license plate like that. If I’d only kept it. Like my miniskirts, my platform shoes, and my electric typewriter.

Browsing through the thrift shop can bring back many fond memories. Someone recently donated a whole set of vintage Corelle dishes. Every family I knew, when I was in junior high, bought a set of Corelle. Why? Because . . . You could put them in the dishwasher! My friends and I were ecstatic. No more evenings of washing china dishes by hand while your younger brothers and sisters hogged the TV. (The TV, which had a dial on it. Not a remote.)

If you want to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear, stop by the thrift shop. We have the good (fondue pots), and the ugly (lava lamps). We don’t have the bad, because anything that isn’t in good enough condition to sell in our shop is passed on in turn to the Salvation Army.   And because there’s no such thing as a bad donation – there’s a use for everything somewhere.

Just in case you’re wondering they still make Corelle! It comes in pretty patterns now that go well with today’s decor. Maybe we should all buy some so that we’re prepared for the vintage trend in 2075.

You never know!

I’ve been watching that TV series “The Crown,” about the young Queen Elizabeth II in the early days of her reign. (And it’s a relief to watch a TV show about a royal family where you don’t have to worry if the main character will be killed off before the end of the episode.). The real Queen Elizabeth is 91 now, and to most of us it seems that she’s always been a kindly elderly woman with a big purse, a hat, and her pet corgis. As we tend to do when considering our own elderly relatives, we forget that she was once an eager young woman, full of curiosity about the world and finding her place in life.

I’ve concluded that the young Elizabeth would have felt right at home in our thrift shop. Obviously, she would never have done her own shopping, or have had to count her pennies and shillings. But she grew up in the years of the Great Depression and World War II, when shortages, rationing, and making do with less were part of daily life.   She was a Girl Guide (the British version of the Girl Scouts), whose promise includes the words “to be of service to my community.” At 18, like other women of her generation giving to the war effort, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary of the British Army and trained to be a mechanic. She would have completely sympathized with ALI’s mission to to support needy families in our own community. And had she been a non-royal ordinary British housewife, she would have been thrilled at the bargains in our shop!

In real life, you’re not going to meet Queen Elizabeth in our thrift shop – but you’ll meet many women (and men) who share her devotion to their community. You’ll meet other shoppers who may not have struggled through World War II, but who understand the value of quality merchandise at an affordable price. And you can put away the money you save for a supply of popcorn for Season 2 of “The Crown!”

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.

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!

ALOHA TIME AT THE ALI THRIFT SHOP

Every guy in southern California needs a Hawaiian shirt for summer, and we’ve got plenty of them right now at the thrift shop. This popular shirt style was first conceived in the 1930s by a Chinese shopkeeper in Waikiki, Ellery Chun. He advertised his “aloha shirts” on June 28, 1935. They sold out immediately and a fashion trend was born!

World War II servicemen stationed in Hawaii loved the style and brought it back to the mainland. As tourism to Hawaii took off after the war, the shirts became even more popular. The State of Hawaii proclaimed “Aloha Friday” (which became “casual Friday” everywhere else) in 1965 to relax office dress codes and make aloha shirts a wardrobe staple. Today we can’t imagine summer without them!

Tell your guy that Hawaiian shirts have a history going back 80 years, and bring him to the thrift shop to add a few to his closet. Aloha!