Wonderful Returns: Thrift Store Etiquette

People come to thrifting for different reasons: recreation, self-exploration, cameraderie, a livelihood, or just clothes for us and the people we love. One thing that we all have in common is that we want to have a wonderful experience.  Here's some things you can do to ensure this for yourself and others.

Lace Pumps, Charlotte, NC Goodwill; Vintage Fortuna lamp, Portland, OR Goodwill

Be kind and courteous even if other people aren't -  Smile. Cut other people some slack. Try not to be irritated when they leave their carts in the middle of the aisle. I've done that, distracted by a beguiling pair of shoes. I'm in no position to criticize.



If you're of a social mindset, talk to other people -  Admire something in somebody else's cart. A bit of warm conversation makes me leave feeling like I've done something good for the universe. Every once in awhile I get an amazing treasure this way. I saw a gorgeous 1970s beaded dress worth hundreds of dollars in someone's cart coming out of the dressing room. When I admired it, the woman announced, "This doesn't fit me" and handed it right over.


Do not steal things from other people's carts - 'Nuff said.


Don't to take too many items into the dressing room - We teach little kids to share their toys. We should do the same thing with the precious mirror.


Put somebody else's needs before your own - if your cart is loaded down, and there's no one behind you in line, consider letting somebody else with just a few items go ahead  of you. If you're there to enjoy the process of shopping, you may find that a few more minutes waiting is balanced out by the joy of having done something for somebody else.


Beaded Mules and Vintage Rock Crystal Necklace, Charlotte, NC Goodwill

Pair up orphaned shoes - I can't count how many times I've been stranded with one perfect shoe, hopelessly unable to find the other until a Good Samaritan came up and said, "Are you looking for this?" So put both of those gorgeous beaded slippers in one spot for some other lucky treasure hunter. Someday, that will be you.




Pick up clothes that are on the floor - Often, it's easy to see the hangars they slipped from. But even if not, at least drape them over the top of the rack.  My beloved three-quarter-length 1960s faux caracal jacket with the rabbit collar was lying on the floor just about to be rolled over by a clothing rack. I am so grateful no one stepped on it before I got there!


Thank the people who work at the store - you're there enjoying the fruits of their labor.  They've worked hard to create a beautiful experience for you. Return the favor.


Whatever our reasons, we all come to thrift store for a something good, not just a good item, but a good experience. We want to create a positive environment for ourselves and for others, so put in a little yourself.  Whether your believe or in thrift store karma or not, I guarantee good will come back to you. 

© 2018 Robin Pool

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