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Thrift store scores

January 9, 2012 - Betsy Bethel
I wrote the post that follows as a Facebook Note this morning. Then, I went to lunch at Coleman's Fish Market in Centre Market with the intention of dropping into Let It Bee Boutique children's consignment shop across the street. I did just that and came away with an awesome find: a navy Land's End cardigan emblazoned with none other than the logo of my daughter's school. By all rights, that sweater should not have been there, because it was a size M, which means size 10-12, and Emily usually only takes clothes up to size 6. Doubly awesome! Final bonus: It was 25 percent off of the $5 price, making it 3.75!

The reason I decided to copy the following Note to my Momsense blog is that, when I was talking with Emily (Let It Bee owner Emily Bonar) while checking out, she said business has been slow. She's been having sales to get people in the door, but they're not coming. I don't know what's keeping folks away, but I can say in this economy, if you have kids and you're not frequenting thrift/consignment stores, you're throwing money away, not to mention missing out on some great merchandise! By shopping consignment, you are putting money into the local economy on three levels, by 1) supporting the local small business owner, 2) returning money to the consignor's pocket that he/she could spend locally and 3) saving money you could spend at other local businesses.

Read on for my original post ...

So I coined this phrase -- "thrift store score" -- on a recent Facebook status update where I touted a recent find: a two-tone puffy pink vest with detachable hood for Emma for $1.49 at the Salvation Army store at Ohio Valley Mall. I realized I have some other great buys I'd like to share with you for a few reasons, including but not limited to promoting local thrift and consignment stores by helping people see the deals they can get, and promoting the recycle/reuse/repurpose philosophy.

One of the most awesome thrift store scores I have ever been privileged to experience occurred while Christmas shopping this year. I decided to buy my husband a chess set for Christmas. I went to Deluxe Toy & Hobby in Martins Ferry and found several nice sets in the $70-$85 range. One was wooden and the other glass. They also had your generic set with plastic pieces and a cardboard board for $10. None of those really appealed to me, so I left without making a purchase. (I definitely made up for that empty-handed visit later in the shopping season while buying for my daughter and other kids!!)

About four days later, I stopped at the Goodwill in Center Wheeling on the hunt for long-sleeve shirts for my daughter and a coat for my mother-in-law. I found a few things worth plunking down a few bills for and headed to the checkout. While waiting in line, I happened to look down and there, on the bottom shelf next to the cash register, was a chess set. It was not just any chess set. It had a marble board that must've weighed at least 5 pounds. The pieces, also made of stone or marble, were in a zippered bag taped to the board with packing tape. I was told all the pieces were there. I found the price: $2.99. Sweet! I found a great chess set, AND I could buy Dave a few other things I really wanted to get him!

I didn't even realize how awesome this set was until a few days before Christmas when I took all the pieces out, set up the board and inspected them. Each piece is hand carved out of some sort of stone -- I don't know what the black could be; the white ones are really a brownish yellow marbly looking stone that has been polished to a shine. You can tell they are carved by hand because they are non-uniform. Some of the pawns are slightly bigger than others, the faces on the knights aren't identical, etc. The board is made of black and brownish squares that may be inlaid, but I can't tell for sure. There are also checker pieces, hewn from the same stones. Embedded in one checker piece and also in the side of the board are the words: Made in Mexico.

Finds like this are serendipitous, and they seem too good to be true. I know it sounds silly, but they make me feel lighter than air for days, or in this case, weeks afterward! My husband, being frugal like me, loved the set but was even more thrilled when he found out how much I paid for it! Not only is the set great, but I found the perfect receptacle to store the pieces right there in my tablecloth drawer-- a carved solid wood hinged box that had been my grandpa's and that I'm sure he brought back from one of his overseas trips to China, Egypt or the Holy Land. The set is prominently displayed on the sideboard in our dining room and has quickly become one of our most prized possessions.

Not bad for the price of a Wendy's dollar menu meal!

My plan is to add to the list below as I find bargains worth bragging about. Feel free to comment with your own scores!

— — —

12/2012 -- Handcarved chess/checker set and board, made in Mexico (for Dave) -- $2.99 at Goodwill, Wheeling.

1/2012 -- Coldwater Creek long brown wool cardigan sweater adorned with brightly colored felted and yarn flowers (for me) -- $15 on sale for $7.50 at Bird's Nest, Shadyside.

1/2012 -- Pink puffy vest (I'll have to check the label for brand) with detachable hood (for Emma) -- $1.49 at Salvation Army, St. Clairsville.

1/2012 -- Navy blue Land's End cardigan with school logo (for Emma) -- $5 on sale for $3.75 at Let It Bee Boutique, Wheeling.

 
 

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