Thrift Store Shopping

Do you like to shop at thrift stores?  Do you love the thrill of the hunt?  How much is too much thrift store shopping?  One of the hallmarks of a compulsive hoarder is that they lack insight to the severity of their hoarding problem.  I’d say Mom lacks insight, for sure!  She likes to tell me all about the people she meets and chats with while shopping at her favourite thrift store.  I’ve unwillingly learned:

  • She sees the “regulars.”  They greet each other like old home week, and call it their “social hour.”
  • She can identify the antique dealers.
  • Other people sidle up to her and compliment her on the items in her own cart.
  • There’s an elderly Irish lady who follows Mom around the store, and comments on everything she picks up.  This lady is obviously well-off…after all she owns a B & B.  Uh huh.
  • There was a man who seemed to take a shine to Mom, until Mom mentioned she “was married to the best man whom ever lived and she didn’t think anyone could ever live up to his memory.”  “That took care of him hanging around me pretty quick” she quipped.

The Benchmark?

There’s an elderly married couple in there often, and the gentleman likes to chat with Mom while the wife shops.  Mom told me, and I quote “You think I’m a collector, THIS guy is the worst!  You name it, he collects it!  They told me they own 4 houses just to hold all his collections!”

I’m afraid this is the level to which Mom compares herself.  Maybe she’s rationalizing that since she only has ONE stuffed house and not four then everything is still under control.

Don’t want to hear it anymore

I’m so tired of all our conversations circling back to the hijinx of thrift store shoppers.  I just don’t want to hear it anymore.  The world is bigger than this store!  I donate the stuff I don’t want anymore to this chain of stores, and I can only wonder if she’s ever unwittingly bought back something I’ve donated.  I understand that there are great deals and you can find some real gems…one man’s treasure and all that.  I’m not immune to that either, but I might visit a thrift store once every few months whereas Mom goes a few times a week.  She’s always loved the thrill of the hunt.  Can’t find something?  Just tell her and she’ll squeal with delight at the challenge.  And she insists that everything she’s ever wanted has turned up at the thrift store if she was just patient enough.

I wonder if she’ll ever realize our mother/daughter bond can’t be found on those shelves.


  1. Posted July 29, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    I have a pretty intense hatred of thrift stores, having been dragged to thrift stores in every town we visited as a kid instead of doing actual family things.

    • Rae
      Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      I remember being dragged through thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales as a kid, too. As someone with allergies, digging through all that musty, dusty stuff was no fun! As an adult, I can see there’s value in places like those if you have something specific you’re looking for…but to randomly look for “treasures” is so tedious. But even still, shopping is what my Mom chooses to do when she visits with me. Or INSTEAD of spending time with me. I recently visited her in my home town and my husband & I were going to the Farmers Market. Mom opted not to go, saying it was “too much” for her (she has a hard time walking). Later, I saw her van in the parking lot of her favourite thrift store. She was fine to go there, but not fine to walk with her daughters and grand daughters on a beautiful summer day.

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