Friday, November 30, 2012

The Joy of Thrift Shopping


One of the fun aspects of travel is finding bargains on clothing, souvenirs and other items. A good way to ensure you are usually getting good prices is to patronize thrift shops, which exist in most developed countries. These are places, usually run by churches or other non-profits, that sell mostly second-hand items at very low cost. An added benefit of this kind of store is that profits go to support a good cause.

 I recently read about a thrift shop in Gulfport, FL where T shirts go for 50 cents most days, except Thursdays when all clothing items are on sale at 50 per cent off, bringing the price down to a quarter. The beach towns near Tampa are full of second hand shops with many good bargains. Some people claim that it is possible to furnish an apartment in that part of the world for under $2,000 by judicious use of items from thrift stores and used furniture places.

It takes some patience to find the deals , but they are there. I once bought two tall brass lamps from the Art Deco period at Kimberley Home Thrift Shoppe in Clearwater, FL for just $10. Similar lamps on Ebay ( cost at least $50 a piece. I have also found nice low-priced things at the St. Vincent de Paul shop in Clearwater.

Wherever you are, you can find thrift shops by doing an online search for that city or area. And if you cannot find any, there are often even better deals at garage sales or swap meets.

However, not every item in a thrift shop is a bargain. Sometimes newer or designer pieces are priced as high as they would be in a regular store. And remember to check out the merchandise very carefully in a thrift store or at a garage sale. Plug electronics into a socket to make sure that they work. Many thrift stores do not accept returns.


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