Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lessons from the Thrift Store

Several months ago I began volunteering at a local non-profit thrift store named Tried and True.  

My primary "job" there is to price and display the housewares.  I absolutely love it.  I've always had a bit of a soft spot for retail and I love old and unusual items; so this really was a good fit in so many ways.  I've sort of expanded this activity by attending a local auction and buying the boxes that go for one or two dollars for the store.  So, all of this has taught me many lessons - some purely retail related and some with a bit of life application:
  • Just about anything will sell for 50 cents.
  • People are attracted to color.  The prettiest dish or bowl or cup in white will sit on the shelf while the hot pink one will sell in a flash.
  • People buy the sizzle not the steak....the way you display something matters a whole lot in how well it sells.  If it doesn't sell in one place, move it to another location in the store.
  • You may not like something, but someone will.
  • People like to collect cats and cardinals and bears and ducks and geese and roosters.....and tons of other categories.
  • Many things can be repurposed successfully with a bit of imagination.
  • Donations and auction boxes give you a peek into the person.  It can tell you what they found important, how they cared for their items and where they spent their money.
  • Bidding at an auction is better when you're not emotionally invested in obtaining the box or item.
  • Never bid against the guy with the clipboard.  He's serious and will get what he's after.....unless of course you just want to bid him up so that he spends more :-)
  • Condition always matters.
I don't come home with a lot of extra stuff.  In fact, being around it and seeing others  find things they like seems to fill that spot in me that wanted to bring everything home!  Sometimes I feel like I'm a rescuer...saving treasures from the landfill.

I'm having great fun with this new activity.  And that, my friends, is the beauty of retirement.


  1. Never knew some of those places had volunteers. The good thing about volunteer work though is that your "boss" can't really complain.

  2. I LOVE thrift stores, but, never thought about working in one......hmmmm.....perhaps in the future? I love your analytic mind! LOL