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The Best of Thrift Shopping

80s teal leather jacket and striped pants
(this is not officially what I thrifted… all original photos have disappeared)

Shopping at Goodwill {and the like} is not for the weak stomached. It’s smelly. It’s dirty. It’s gross. If you’ve been to one, you already know all this. However, if you’re on a mission to find great vintage and/or thrift pieces, it’s a one-stop shop!

A flea market is a fantastic place to find great and one-of-a-kind pieces that other people buy at places like Goodwill or estate sales and try to sell to you at double or triple their cost so they make a profit. The same goes for “Vintage” shops. And while they do have great stuff, you {usually} won’t be getting the greatest deals on the planet for used items. You’re paying for the ease of having them hand pick the items, clean them up, and display them in appealing ways.

I like being the one to find the “find” at the greatest price ever. Half of my closet is based on this principle and many of my favorite finds I’ve had for years and hopefully will have for many more years to come. It also usually means that I am the only one who has this particular piece. Which to me, is priceless!

{This great hobby of mine may have started when I was a kid. My best friend Rosie lived with her grandmother who owned laundry mats all around Simi Valley. If I spent the night at Rosie’s house on Friday night, I would accompany Rosie and her Grandma B to all the laundry mats to collect the coins from the machines. There was one that was next door to a thrift shop and behind the store were two large dumpsters filled with belts and shoes! I know this sounds grosser than gross but we would “dumpster dive” right in have a field day in there! We came home with so much stuff. And it was all free!}

I used to go to this massive thrift store in Burbank called The American Way. God was that place gross. But it was also divine.

When I first started going around 1995, in my late teens {man I am old!}, the prices were so insanely low. Like $1.69 – $2.99 for everything. And I mean everything. But this was before the huge vintage craze started. It was before any cool people knew about this store and only bums shopped there. To this day I still have pieces in my closet from then. {and actually, prior to that, there was this little and disgusting place on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City called “Claudia’s Boutique” owned and run by this skinny old lady, Claudia, where my friends and I would rummage to find old Levi’s – She was the best for finding the best fitting and fairly cheap old Levi’s}

Then Ebay happened and within a few years, EVERYBODY and their mothers were shopping at thrift stores trying to make a buck. And you know what? Prices went up. I mean, it’s still super cheap but remember, you’re buying old, dirty, clothes that someone else used to wear. Really, how much do you want to spend when you have to go home and clean them up just to wear them?

So last Saturday I went to my local Goodwill and strangely enough, it was rather eventful.

I pulled in the parking lot and got a space right in front of the drop off center. where I dropped off a huge bag of old t-shirts my husband doesn’t wear any longer.

As I was getting out of my car, I saw a man {who looked like Zach Galifianakis} walking in my direction. I knew he was up to no good because when I pulled in, I saw him talking to a man who seemed to be ignoring him. I took that as a sign that I should ignore him as well.

He was wearing a tweed trench coat with no shirt on underneath …and pants and as he walked up to me, questions abound, I just said “I’m sorry” and continued walking towards the drop off center. He called me a bunch of names, and asking me why I wouldn’t listen to him, I replied “Because it feels like you are following me and you’re scaring me now!” {which really made me giggle actually}. He yelled “I’M NOT FOLLOWING YOU” and started walking toward the main entrance to Goodwill …right where I was headed next.

I complained a bit to the guys working in the drop off center, got my receipt and walked over to the Goodwill. As I walked in, I saw him to my right, harassing customers and yelling “I WAS IN VIETNAM” …which is totally impossible because he looked like he was in his 30’s.

About 5 more minutes of harassing ensued and he started heading towards the front doors, which was a good sign that we could all relax and get back to our shopping. However, as he was leaving, there was this lady crouched down and looking at the jewelry counter which was located by the front doors. I heard him ask her for something and when she ignored him he called her a mother fucker then YELLED the N word and slammed out the door.

Now, I’ve heard that word used before but really only by old people {who don’t know any better} “referring to” their pasts, comedians {I miss you Dave Chapelle} or “brotha’s” adding an “a” to the end instead of an “er” making it okay {I guess}.

But I have never heard someone actually call someone that name in an angry way and honestly, it was not only horrendous, it was totally offensive. As soon as I heard it, I looked in her direction and stuttered OMYGOD. And she just looked at me …so sad. It gives me the chills just typing it. I honestly couldn’t believe how offensive it was, to me, a white girl. I wanted to cry.

Sigh* It took a while to shake that feeling but I continued shopping because really, I had just begun! I was in the dresses section and already my arms were hurting from carrying so much. I think I went in the dressing room like 4 different times.

When I was checking out, I made them put all my finds in my be Smart be Green bags and my grand total was $134. I know it sounds like a lot especially since many of the finds went directly to the dry cleaner where I would spend more but honestly, I bought two bags full of great stuff that summed up to be less than half of what my handbag cost!

I paid with cash, and as I turned to leave there was a woman with a teenage daughter behind me who asked “Are you buying for others or is all that for you?” …and I said …Nope, it’s all for me! And I left, wondering if that was a dig or a compliment or a lesson to her daughter. I still wonder, actually.

What I found {and just picked up at the cleaners}: Oscar de la Renta, Chaiken, & Zara trousers, Paul Smith black label tunic with the tag still on, blue plaid Ralph Lauren linen button down {exactly like the red one I found there last summer}, Ralph Lauren brown tweed wool blazer, David Hayes cropped floral blazer, Zara cropped military jacket, vest unknown, little black dress Andrea Polizzi Rex Lester, long vintage black lace dress inspired by THIS, the vintage dress I wore yesterday, the vintage leopard blouse I wore last Friday …and many more which I’m positive you’ll see very soon.

Maegan Tintari

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at ...love Maegan.com sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.

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