Goodwill Half Price Centre

Recipe for a thrift store blog entry introduction photo:

-Face away from store logo, and preferably sun
-Point camera at both
-Wear sunglasses, unnecessarily
-Squint, even though no one can see you squinting.

And this is what you get. Hello and welcome to another chronicle of discarded absurdity, lost on an offramp on a journey towards secondhand nirvana, here we are. My friends, my peoples, welcome back to the Secondhand Underground. Join me, won’t you?

This time out we stayed relatively local and decided to check in on what we used to think was just another ordinary Goodwill on Highland by the university, but apparently sometime between the last time we ventured there and now, it turned itself into the “Goodwill Half Price Centre” (yes I’m choosing to use the British spelling, it makes it seem more fancy and justifiable somehow, forgive me for trying to put the proverbial prom dress on the proverbial pig as it were) which means what exactly?

IT MEANS ALL THE SIGNS ARE RED WAAAAAAAACKY and apparently everything’s half off although they could do a better job communicating that information to the customers, as you can see the signs still list everything at normal price, and inform you that the “Discount will be taken off at the register” and although that’s not exactly the most complicated notion anyone’s ever conceived, it did take me a moment to parse it out, savvy shopper that I am, so I imagine it only further confuses other folks. Anyway, moving on. A brief overview of the merchandise.

I’ve seen some particularly weak notions get turned into board games in my relatively short and blessed life (Mousetrap, anyone?) but this one has to come close to taking the cake, if not actually taking the entire cake itself. Let’s just say it takes a large fraction of the cake. It takes enough of the cake that everyone else is like “well there’s only a little bit of cake left, why don’t you just have it” and everyone else else is like “well no it’s okay, it’s no big deal, I’ve been trying to lay off the sweets anyway, and it’s only a little bit of cake, so why don’t you take it” and the first bunch of everyone is like “no really it’s okay, I actually don’t like cake all that much (blatant lie) so you should just have whatever’s left of this cake because I don’t actually want it all that much anyway” and the other everyone is like “well now I feel weird, it seems like you feel obligated to give me some of whatever’s left of this cake” and the first everyone has to basically insist like “just eat the fucking cake already” and by that point it’s gotten weird.

Assuredly I started out talking about something. Oh, twenty questions. Yeah, that’s weird. Cake.

I don’t know why (and I don’t want to know why) but my first impulse when I saw this thing was to yell “PUT THE LOTION IN THE BASKET” as loud as I could.

This… lord, I don’t even know what to say about this. For clarity’s sake, this is a photo montage of every school picture this girl had from first grade to 12th. Ok, so. There’s the weird time capsule angle. There’s the movie “Heathers” which I of course live to reference. There’s the CIRRRRRRCLE OF LIIIIIIIIIFE angle, there’s the existential ambiguity of lining up this many portraits of one marginally attractive girl all in a row and there’s something to be said for watching time have its way with a beautiful innocent face, and watching the gorgeous smile of an uncomprehending child gradually start to harden into the forced grimace of a functioning adult, I only wish this picture came with a time lapse future image of the desiccated old woman that this smiling young lady will eventually become. Life in a nut shell. DUHURRRRRRRR

Uhhhh the uhhh goodwill furniture section is looking particularly anemic today. I guess they turned this location into the dumping ground for whatever merch doesn’t make the cut at their other locations, which explains the 50 percent discount, but still, if your entire furniture area is one fucking couch, maybe you need to reexamine your evaluation of what is worthwhile and what isn’t with a perhaps slightly more critical eye. Just sayin.

Same comment applicable for the section formerly known as “Electronics and Housewares” but now more accurately described as “Dust and Junk.” I gotta say, I kind of understand the rationale behind streamlining the selection down to mainly clothes and little odds and ends that didn’t sell at any of the airplane hangar sized Goodwills out in Raleigh, but I can’t say that I find it anything other than disheartening, as well. While the Goodwill on Highland was never my FAVORITE store in town, it was still always fun to get in there and bump around in a tiny spot filled with university leavings, and now it’s just kind of… quiet. Too quiet. Quiet in a way you don’t want a thrift store to be, if that makes any sense. It doesn’t. Allow me to attempt to elaborate:

Thrift stores are, to me anyway, supposed to be very active places. Forgive me, I’m trying to pin down a weird thought here. Try to zoom out and think about the sheer amount of human activity that takes place within even a small thrift store like this one on any given day that it’s open for business. A t-shirt might be touched 200 times. A couch might be sat on by 50 or 60 different people, maybe more. A pan will be picked up and flipped over more times than anyone could count. The whole idea is that they’re bustling hubs of people digging through things to uncover whatever qualifies as a “gem” for them, and not particularly caring about the rest of the crap that they see. That’s the whole idea. And when you strip it way down like this, when your furniture section is a couch and your housewares consist of about a half dozen old easter baskets, you remove the environment that allows that human activity to take place, and in doing so, you take the vibrant beating heart out of this thing you’ve constructed and what do you have then? Just some junk in a room. It’s fucking sad.

Sorry for ranting, I don’t know if any of that made sense, I just spend too much time in these places and this stuff just builds up in my head. Moving on

Oh this’ll be funny! Good work Dave, way to follow up a long rant with some attempts at making light of postpartum depression! God, I do know how to dig myself a comedy hole here, don’t I? OK. To be clear, the reason I took a picture of this and found it amusing was NOT because there’s anything particularly jokeworthy about postpartum depression. A few of my good friends have had kids recently and I’m sure it’s a part of the whole experience and that really sucks, as a matter of fact my mom had kids once too and I’m sure it probably bummed her out big time so I’d never mock THAT, BUT…

Come on, Brooke Shields. So you think you have something to say on the subject, fine, that’s absolutely fine, and I’m sure a lot of people read your book and felt comforted and that’s great. All of that is totally great and people who have similar problems should always get together because it’s good to share (on that note, is anyone else constantly feeling an irrational urge to eat their furniture? If so, do you want to come over and talk about it? I also hear a high pitched screeching noise in the back of my head every time I read the number 7 OH CRAP THERE IT IS AGAIN) but do you really think “serious model face” was the best way to convey the weightiness of the issue at hand? We all get it. You’re still super pretty, even into your middle age/later years/whatever the fuck we’re all calling it now. You’ve been hot basically forever, but did you or anyone at your publishing company (more likely) really think to yourselves “when people are looking at two books side by side that address the existential horror of postpartum depression, and trying desperately to decide which one to spend their money on in an attempt to ease whatever awful psychological pain they’re currently experiencing, we want them to choose OURS so we’re going to put pretty Brooke’s face on the cover, eyes cast downward in a contemplative pose” AND IF YOU DID, here’s my point, IF YOU DID: then you suck. You suck for trivializing a serious issue with your pretty model face. That’s all I’m saying. That’s it.

Moving back into safer territory. NERRRRRRRRRRDS. I actually used to play Warcraft, back in the day before there was a “World of” attached to the front of it, before it turned into a giant beast that would devour the entire Internet and increase Mountain Dew’s stock value tenfold. It was a pretty fun game, although playing it back then, if you’d asked me “hey do you think someday this will be the most insanely popular game franchise in this history of electricity” I probably would have responded in the negative, and if you’d asked me if I thought there was a chance some Asian guy was going to drop dead someday after a 28 hour marathon session of one of the company’s other games, I would have said “…no?” but I probably would have been a little worried about you. Turns out I’d be wrong across the board. Imagine that.

Finding hilarious cassettes at thrift stores is the new finding hilarious vinyl at thrift stores. There. I said it.

Hard hats are hard

This shirt looked like it was made out of old paper and it was WAYYY too tight but I really wanted to buy it just for the label

Fucking Yves. But I didn’t.

Wrap ALL the knife blocks in plastic. ALWAYS ALL DO THIS TO ALL OF THEM. IT MUST

I’m sorry, this entry has taken me like two weeks to work through and put out and I don’t know why I thought the idea of a block of styrofoam in the middle of a pile of random worthless garbage was somehow inherently interesting. I’m an idiot and nothing I think or do is worthwhile.

Here’s the best summation of my life in a nutshell that I could ever provide. This is it. My life is an egg tray pulled out of a fridge, donated to charity, and put up for sale with two differently colored price stickers on it. EGGS. The effed up part? Someone will buy this. Someone will pay money for EGGS.

Ok wait I take it back the best summation of my life is this giant plastic apparatus that is apparently designed to pry open a bottle of Bayer (does that even still exist?) or Tylenol the size of your fucking head. It looks like Piet Mondrian and Frank Lloyd Wright collaborated on the idea of a crowbar and I want to use it for everything. The next time you see me and we go to shake hands, don’t be surprised if I whip out this device and expect you to interact with it in a tactile fashion. That is just how people say hello now.

I could beg to differ on this particular point to an exhausting length, but I’m just gonna throw out the observation that every single (profanity) time I see the word “Precious” now, all I can think to do is fill in “Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” and you can ask my friends from work, it’s making me sound like Rain Main with his Judge Wapner (profanity), and I don’t know what to do because I can’t stop. Please don’t ask me to watch the Lord of the Rings movies because you’ll have to duct tape my (profanity) mouth shut to (profanity) keep me from (profanity) saying “Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” every (profanity) time (profanity) Gollum talks about that (profanity profanity profanity) ring. It’s a (profanity) compulsion.

The previous paragraph was brought to you by my attempt to look professional and family friendly. I think we all saw how well that worked out.


Label fetish. I couldn’t tell you a single thing about the article of clothing that this label was attached to but I almost bought it, whatever it was, just because I wanted to tame the rain. Alas, I failed at that.

I did however buy this shirt, and am wearing it even as I type these words, and then an insane shitstorm happened to fall on me later in the day (which is another reason this particular transmission has been so long in coming) but it’s a testament to how much I like the shirt that I’m still not only wearing it several weeks later (I mean I washed it and stuff) but still endorsing it and writing about it passionately, it’s a wonderful wonderful shirt, and I love it in the way that you can really only love something that you wore to the slammer. More on that later, and by later I mean never. Mind your own damn business.

I want this car.




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5 Responses to Goodwill Half Price Centre

  1. Andy says:

    Good post, as always, and don’t make that dirty.

    On a side note, saw this on Writer’s Almanac and thought of you:

    At the Goodwill

    by Timothy Walsh

    Like crows tearing at roadkill,
    people rummage among the aisles
    and clothes bins,
    ransacking the discarded clutter of other lives
    for that special undiscovered something.

    Beyond an army of tired shoes, you make your way
    to the back corner
    where golf clubs by the hundreds jut from barrels,
    shafts and clubheads jumbled helter-skelter.

    Nearby, old golf bags are piled like clumsy sea creatures
    dead upon the sand.
    Splayed zippers and torn pockets full of old golf balls,
    crumpled scorecards, stubby pencils, and old tees….

    Some clubs are still caked with mud,
    remnant of the day they were last played,
    orphaned by the terse calling card of death,
    forgotten in basements or garages long past the funeral,
    until they are dropped off, lifted from the trunks of cars
    with a pallbearer’s decorum….

    Clubs once cherished by men,
    magic implements to leverage the spirit,
    arcane as alchemists’ weapons—
    Spalding Synchro-Dyned Top-Flite,
    Lynx Predator, Golden Ram,
    Wilson Strata-Bloc Cup Defender,
    MacGregor Oil Hardened Chieftain—
    each club someone’s personal Excalibur
    elevating the soul with each dance-like swing,
    old woods, maple and persimmon, once
    lovingly cleaned and oiled,
    now grimy, cast off, seemingly dead.

    But if you close your eyes, you can feel something—
    a low hum, diffuse as starlight—
    all the accumulated shot-concentration of decades
    stored in the clubs like batteries,
    the fire of long-dead golfers still smoldering
    in the grips and clubheads.

    Bring an armful home. Scour them clean.
    Rub lemon oil into the wood, and mink oil
    onto the leather grips.
    Tomorrow, take them out on the course.
    Send the ball flying with a satisfying crack of wood,
    the club in your hand ecstatic as a blind man
    with restored sight.

    “At the Goodwill” by Timothy Walsh, from Blue Lace Colander. © Marsh River Editions, 2008. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

  2. Amy Hoyt says:

    And I assume you noticed Jenny McCarthy’s far lighter view on pregnancy to the right of “Down Came the Rain.”

    • Oh you mean respected author Jenny McCarthy? You mean world renowned wordsmith and voice of a generation Jenny McCarthy? I think if you combine her book and Brooke’s tome, you have an accurate overview of my feelings on childbearing. Also, this is my way of telling you I’m pregnant. And it’s yours.

  3. Amy Hoyt says:

    But do the knives work?

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