Longtime readers of this internet blogging writing spacing thing (or anyone who has a special affinity for inconsequential bullshit I wrote several months ago) may remember that I had, in the midst of mourning the loss of Thrift Town on Winchester (my personal favorite store), noted its transformation into something called “City Thrift” way out on Summer Ave, by I-240. I mentioned wanting to go out there and do a proper report on my findings. This is how long it’s taken me. Please, please… hold your applause.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t come into this whole thing with something of a chip on my shoulder. I genuinely loved Thrift Town – it had a near perfect mix of eclectic merchandise, shoddy charm, and unpretentious affordability that is becoming progressively rarer in recent days – and I resented seeing it shoehorned into the lineup of the rest of the “Thrift Stores” that are all on “Summer Avenue” in “Memphis,” as if that’s all there is to say on the subject any more. Unfortunately, that’s becoming truer and truer every time I drive through a back neighborhood and find the local secondhand shop shuttered, even the Goodwills and the Salvation Army stores, all caught up in this mad rush east towards the suburbs that’s been going on since long before I ever thought about setting foot in Memphis and will presumably continue into the indefinite future…
But I digress.
“WHAT’S THE STORE LIKE FOR CHRIST’S SAKE” I hear you asking, dear readers, and again am compelled to wonder why you always insist on talking in all caps. Truth is? They still bring the quality merch, prices are still solid (if not exceptional), and the intangibles… well, they’re mostly still there.
What are the intangibles, you may wonder? Well, it’s things like this. This stereophonic test record (which tantalizingly advertises the “Phantom 3rd Channel!”), while maybe not most people’s FIRST choice for “secondhand find of the day,” still effectively establishes a mood for the store and tells shoppers what they might encounter… It’s kitsch, it’s cute, it’s fun and it’s cheap and if you felt like picking it up on a lark you could and if you didn’t, no great loss. Plus, how do you fashion a record “in fine furniture,” exactly?
And really, it just went from there. This may sound like I’m phoning it in but I’ve been doing this for such a long time that some of the jokes just write themselves now. Por exemplo, this Dean Martin record, “Welcome To My World,” which I liked a lot better with its initial, longer title… “Welcome To My World, You’d Better Put Your Name On The Liver Transplant List Now Because Take It From Me It’s A Very Long Wait.”
A little light reading, perfect for leaving casually strewn around your loft apartment or piled up in the bathroom, just to confirm to all your guests that you’re actually the pretentious fuckwad that they’d begun to suspect you are.
I don’t know much about “art,” but I know what I like. This falls into neither of those categories
This, on the other hand, I actually kind of liked. I would have bought it but as I reached for it a falcon swooped down from the heavens and snatched it up in its talons and absconded with it into the aether. I could only stand by in slack-jawed astonishment at the magnificent splendor of nature’s finest hunter at the peak of its prowess.
I don’t know what my weird attraction to the “Flour/Sugar/Coffee/Tea” Matryoshka Doll nesting sets is, I just feel compelled to look at them and want them and touch them and photograph them every time I see them at a thrift store which is every time that I GO to a thrift store, and I’ll never buy a damn one of them because I already have professional-grade food storage containers from the awesome restaurant supply store chain in town but I still have to get all up close and personal with them anyway, I think it scratches some kind of weird OCD itch in my head to think that not only is there a place for everything and everything in its place, but that those places can take the shape of attractive, stylishly designed containers that you can arrange in sequential order by size on your kitchen counter and give off the illusion that you have your shit together even when maybe you don’t. Just a thought.
Or, if you find “Flour/Sugar/Etc” too constraining, there’s always the time-honored Arabic Numeral System to fall back on… although I’d constantly be expecting to open up each respective jar and find a big pile of 1s and 2s and 3s in each of them, but I guess that’s a little too literal
This, I had fun with. What’s that, you say? “Est So?” But, that doesn’t make any sense! It’s cryptic Latin gibberish! Someone call Dan Brown!
Ahhhhh, okay. Well then here’s my question – if you were, just for the sake of argument, the Single Greatest Father In The Entire World, do you really think this would be a fitting tribute? It almost seems a little insulting. Like, “here, Dad. You’ve done a really great job and this is what I think you’re worth. Digest that for a while.” No wonder it ended up in…
THE SECONDHAND UNDERGROUND.
Moving on. Purses! Lots and lots of purses! Seriously, this is way more purses than I usually see, anywhere, even at the Purse Store (not actually sure if that exists)! I want to come up with something else to say about all these purses because there are so many purses but I don’t know what else to say about purses because I don’t wear purses!
Ah, the early 90’s. Before we’d all come to an agreement on exactly how to spell “cyber.” In case you were wondering what kind of white-knuckle excitement you were missing…
Welcome to the wonderful world of early 90’s PC gaming. If I hadn’t been there, I’d love to pretend it hadn’t happened too.
I BOUGHT THIS! Not because I find it amusing in the slightest even for ironic value but because I seem to remember a local fried seafood restaurant of some repute having a standing offer where if you brought one in they’d hook you up with lunch! Unfortunately I never go downtown for lunch any more so it’s just gathering dust in my closet.
But someday… Big Mouth Billy Bass will have his revenge. His sweet, breaded, deep fried revenge. Which is then dipped in tartar sauce. God, I’m hungry. What time is it?
TIME FOR THE LIGHTNING ROUND! Okay, most commonly encountered appliance in The Secondhand Underground Zone… The Bread Maker! Least commonly encountered appliance…
Uhhh, this thing. What is it? Harmless grey box, you think? Or…
Okay, most commonly encountered home therapy item… The Handheld Shiatsu! Least common usage for said home therapy item…
Impromptu impersonation of a prostitute robot from the future!
Here are two out of context pictures of my good friend Zach looking like a complete knob:
To be fair, I urged him to touch the fake fur on the lamp. Because, lamps should not have fur. And as such, that makes it a bad idea. And if there’s one thing that dear Zachary and I can always go in for, it’s a bad idea.
How to even describe how this sounded. The look on Zach’s face probably says it all. I sorely regret not shooting a little video, because the sound of these two clanging discordant reverberating bells, right in your ears… Well, look at him. How do YOU think it sounds?
No comment. Moving on…
This couldn’t possibly be as sinister as it looked at first glance, could it? Or as sinister as it looked at second glance? Or as it looks now? I mean it’s just a padded adult highchair, on wheels, right?
What could go wrong with that?
More often than I’d care to recount, I come across musical instruments at secondhand stores that are just things of beauty, once in a decade steals that practically DEMAND to be taken home, regardless of logic or logistics or finances or anything. And one of the skill sets that the hardened thrifter (another word I invented that I’m just going to pretend is acceptable) has to develop is the ability to say “I love you, you’re great, but I can’t pay 70 dollars for you and tie you to the roof of my car and drive you back to my apartment where I have no room to put you.” Easy to say in the abstract, but…
Look at this thing. I could be playing it, right now, like some secondhand phantom of the opera. But, it’s a slippery slope from there to next thing you know the nice camera crew from A&E is knocking on your door asking you if you’d like to be on the next episode of “Hoarders.” This is a fear we in the secondhand world have to manage. And so, we walk away from truly beautiful creatures like The Entertainer III.
Or, the complete set of “The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau.” Because there just isn’t room. There might be room in our hearts, but there’s no damn room on our book shelves.
Not even for this.
And so, we live to thrift another day. Are we better off for the whole experience, or worse? Only time will tell, but we’ll be too busy to listen because
LOOK AT THAT PENGUIN WEARING THE LITTLE CLOTHES AAAAAAAGH SO CUTE