Don’t Give Up on Your Local Thrift Store

There’s a little thrift shop about a mile from my home that I was visiting every other week or so.  They never really seemed to have anything that was interesting, and at first, the only reason I stopped there is that they are open on Mondays, and all the other thrift shops in my area are closed on Monday.  Then one day, as I was walking out empty handed, I noticed a small poster on the wall behind the cashier.  It said that all profits were used to help children with Cancer.  I asked the cashier if they could really do much to help the children when business seemed to be so slow.  She took an album from under the counter and started showing me pictures of children that they had taken on trips to Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, or any of the other attractions around Orlando. The cashier said the charity had even paid for the surgeries for some children, and for air fare to fly the child somewhere for treatment.  She said even though business was bad, they always managed to get some very large donations from local residents and businesses.  I asked what was the largest donation they had ever received and I almost fell over when she said seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars.  That’s three quarters of a million dollars!  She went on to say a lot of people gave $25,000 or $50,000.  Wow, there’s a lot of wealthy and generous people around here.  The woman that owns that shop lost a child to cancer. Now, she donates her time to work in the store, as do all the other people that work there. In my opinion, there is no charity more worthy than those that benefit children that are ill.  I’m not one of those wealthy people, but I did give the lady a $50, and told her I’d see her next Monday.

The next Monday I was at that same thrift shop, standing in front of the door, when they opened at 10 AM.  As soon as I walked in I noticed a sign by the cash register that said 50% off of everything.  I asked the lady why such a drastic discount and she told me they were busting at the seams, the back room was full and they had run out of places to put stuff. I started browsing through the store and right away I noticed a table piled high with vintage and antique dishes, plus a few bowls and platters from various manufacturers. I was sure some of the pieces would be something a collector might want, so I told the cashier, “I’ll take everything on the table”.  She started wrapping and packing the china and I kept browsing.  Soon I spotted an old General Electric Waffle Iron and a Sunbeam Percolator Coffee Pot.  I took both of those to the cashier and told her I was ready to check out.  After the 50% discount, the total was $68.40 with tax.  Over my daily thrift store budget, but I got some really nice stuff, including the coffee percolator, waffle maker, a large platter, a large oval covered vegetable dish, a cup & saucer, and two dinner plates all in the J. & G. Meaken “Long Branch” pattern and in mint condition. There were also assorted pieces of collectible china.

I scored some really nice stuff and most important, the money went to a very good cause.

Now when I visit a  “charity” thrift store that I don’t know much about, I always ask which charities they support. One thrift store owner told me a portion of the profits go to feed the homeless.  I asked what percentage of the profits he donated and he said, “it varies”.  Now I’m all for feeding the homeless, but I’d feel a whole lot better about it if he had given me a straight answer, something like 50%, or 100%.  That shop that helps children with cancer is my favorite place to shop now, plus there’s another shop I found that helps Autistic Children.  If you shop at thrift stores, and there’s a lot of them in your area, you might want to consider spending your money at those shops that help children in need. You just might enjoy shopping a whole lot more.

J & G Meakin Long Branch Covered DishDinner Plate 2Long Branch Cup & Saucer 004

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