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Thrift Shopping - The Bees Knees



Thrift shopping. It’s everywhere – Macklemore’s singing about it, Beauty haulers are, well, hauling it. It’s official, charity shops are all the rage.
                What I would like to know is since when did it become so cool to rifle through discarded Christmas sweaters with those god awful reindeer knit patters - yes, you know the ones, after probably receiving at least one from that Great Aunt so and so who you never see but always finds the time to buy you important things like socks and a birthday card clearly designed for kids at least 5 years your junior. Every. Single. Year.
                I found myself positively shocked that my friends who’d previously turned up their noses at my secondhand garbs started inviting me on “vintage” shopping jaunts to uncover the mysterious treasures of the charity shop.
                So, I figured it was about time, after a lifetime of bargain shopping, to share my knowledge. Typically the prices of the charity shops differ by store – British Heart Foundation I have found to be one of the more expensive ones, no matter where I go. Whereas my local Scope seems to have many 2 for 1 offers on paperbacks and women’s clothes, whilst British Red Cross now have these handy little reward cards that collect points with every purchase. It’s all rather handy knowing where to shop isn’t it – just as you would on the high street.
                But don’t go running out the door eager for bargains just yet, what I have also discovered is that the price seems to differ by region. In my small hometown you typically pay £2.50 for a medium sized paperback book (I’m currently reading the Illiad by Homer in case you were wondering) whereas; in a large city you’re looking more like 99p – a real money saver if you go through paperbacks as quick as you go though underwear.  In my non-expert opinion I believe this has something to do with the effects of supply and demand, as both roughly have the same amount of easily accessible stores. Accordingly my top tip for you would be to catch the train/tram/private jet… and travel out of town for some serious thrift shopping. However if you’re as lucky as I, stuck in a small middle of nowhere town with no bus service, I’m afraid you are pretty stuck. So this next bit’s for you.
                First of all I’d advise you to dust off that old phonebook you’re probably using as a draft excluder and start looking for a local carboot. Carboot?! I hear you cry, I thought you said this article was about thrift shopping… And admittedly you’d be right; however, if you stick with me for just one minute I shall explain all this.
                Being in a poky little town with far too many charity shops for its own good all trying to make as much money from second-hand goods as possible, I turned to the local boot sale for solace. And yes, in some cases this will require an EXTREMELY EARLY MORNING. Take last weekend for example, I spent from 6am-9am trawling through the stalls at the local boot sale and managed to come home with 9 items of clothing including tops from Lipsy, Dorothy Perkins, Primark, River Island and a New Look Denim Jacket for the bargain price of just £7 – a price that would barely buy you half a top at most at any of those stores, don’t you agree?
                This brings me to my third and final tip for this article: know WHAT to shop. Now this all sounds a bit silly but knowing your high street brands really does come in handy when tacking the bargain boot sales and cheap-as-chips charity shops. Consider this, if you are presented with two very similar tops: one from a high end boutique and the other from some cheap and cheerful one season of wear before it falls apart top, BOTH with the same price tag – which would you choose?


What's your opinion on this not-very-new-at-all craze that's sweeping the nation?

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