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Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Back when I was married, I remember going to thrift stores looking for office casual stuff and being really frustrated. It seemed to take way too much time, and most guys don't donate khakis until they've worn a hole in the crotch or blown out a pocket.

Corinna reintroduced me to the thrift stores, and while they can still disappoint, zounds, they make up for it when they pay off. Including, recently, a pair of black khakis, my size, that still had the tags on. They'd never been worn, and so where essentially brand new and being sold at a 90% discount.

And witness the Hawaiian Shirt Coup, where I found the donations of some dude who must have been my size and had my taste. I don't know if he died and his wife donated them or if he went over to the Dark Side and started wearing Abercrombie & Fitch, but when I paid for seven shirts I realized I was paying less than Good Hawaiian Shirts charged me for one, and that was before shipping.

I've found some silk Alohas with wood buttons for less than two bucks. I ride in the frosty elements in wool sweaters Joseph A. Banks and Men's Wearhouse probably soaked someone to the tune of $100 or more for, and I rarely pay more than three bucks.

Then there was The Coat. Walking to the Taquería, Corinna was comfy in her parka at 18ºF. Max, old as he is, was comfy in his coat. Me, I was shivering in what has passed, the past few years, as my 'winter coat.'

I'd come close to buying one at a thrift store, but really, I've always worn coats to get from my house to my car and from my car to my office door. When you rarely walk further than a hundred feet in your coat, you don't even really need a coat, just the idea of a coat suffices. So I didn't really know what I was looking for.

This coat was my size, a 2XLT, Columbia, but it was pricey for a thrift store coat. Then Corinna started pointing out the liner was also a jacket at least as weather-worthy as my old coat. Then the compressibility, the elastic wrists and waist, etc.

I trusted her judgment and parted with more cash than I ever thought I would for a thrift store coat. As far as warmth goes, it's the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it.

Then I looked at what similar Columbia ski coats cost new, and being old (the lift tickets on the zippers are from 1999), I didn't find quite the same model but I did find out that I saved at least $170, maybe as much as $220 off of what a similar coat would cost new.

A girlfriend like that, you shop with her, she's almost as good as a part time job or royalties from a small mine.

1 comment:

Wave Shoppe Hawaiian Apparel said...

I don’t think that anyone will disagree with the fact that you can get some great deals at the thrift stores. But personally I have no desire to wear anything that someone else has previously worn, and that includes aloha shirts. While you may have paid $2 for one, there is a chance that it was used for a celebration of life funeral and a dead guy wore it for one last time before it was donated.