and goodwill to all

I say to my husband (hereinafter known as Mr. Thrillenity) (I’ll tell you later) “Let’s go to the thrift store,” and I get:

(a) a blank stare
(b) an audible sigh
(c) silence that he’s hoping I will interpret as he didn’t hear me
(d) all of the above.

If you answered “d,” do a happy dance.

I say to my daughter (let’s call her Moxie, why don’t we) “Let’s go to the thrift store,” and before I get the “ore” out of my mouth – you know, the one that follows the initial consonant blend – she has her keys in hand and is warming up the car. Last week we went to the thrift shop four consecutive days (one day was a storewide 50% off sale) (yes, really) (and actually, I went five consecutive days cause I went back to the second day of the storewide sale to snag something for a friend who will get this goodie only if she ever gets around to sending me her mailing address) (ahem).

Well, today we (my daughter and I, of course, cause hubs – well, you know) take ourselves to breakfast then cross the street to what we thought was a Goodwill store. Turns out it’s a Goodwill drop off. You’re exactly right: they’re not the same. Disappointed but undeterred, we go back to our last-week-favorite store, only to find it closed for restocking after last week’s big blowout sale. Wouldn’t you just know. Now we are Motivated – kinda’ like when somebody says you can’t do something and you are totally compelled to do it just to show them that you can – so we drive to what we hope is a Goodwill store in a nearby town.

Good news: our perseverance pays off, and to our huge delight (and equally huge relief), it is
(a) an actual store
(b) open
(c) well-lit, orderly, and filled with things for sale.
(d) Perfect.

(That one isn’t a question.)

I show a pocketbook completely covered in sparkle to a little girl (because I cannot bear to leave this one unadopted), and after having her model it, I strongly suggest she do whatever it takes to convince her mother (who seems horribly unimpressed with the sparkle factor) (and actually seems to be shooting me daggers) to get it for her. And when the tot becomes upset at the relocation of three sparkles to the floor, I tell her “That purse isn’t shedding, Sugar, you’re just leaving sparkle in your wake cause that’s what sparklettes do. They can’t help it.” then I tell her her to put on a pair of those brand new tap shoes and dance on over to her mother . . . which she does on account of:

(a) I’m bigger than her
(b) she is smart
(c) as anybody can see, it is a fine idea
(d) all of the above.

If you answered (d), do another happy dance. We’ll wait.

I see an adorable white plastic bathroom trashcan with silver dooras on it and convince a nearby shopper how absolutely delightful it will look with a candle burning inside of it. Then I point out the Coach-brand clutch bag to another woman and assure her that the $10.18 price tag is, in fact, a deal.


That’s when my daughter hears them announce over the intercom that today is Senior Discount Day, and that, my friends, changes everything.

I send Moxie to the front of the store to fetch a grocery cart while I make haste to the women’s section and find 7, 12, 17 – never mind, it’s not important – dresses, blouses, and skirts made of cotton and linen, perfect for the quilts that will parade through my imagination. Eventually. Then I spy a sparkly pink cosmetic bag that zips almost all the way; a straw-covered wooden anteater (at least I think that’s what it is. I was out the day they taught anteaters.; a crockpot with no cord; and a nativity set with plenty of room at the inn cause there’s only Mary, Joseph (who’s ripped his gown), and an angel. I go back to the shoe section and pick up a pair of tap shoes for Moxie, and though she’d really rather higher heels, she quickly agrees that she can wear these to practice in the garage . . . if I’ll spring for some shoelaces, of course.

There’s a little Buddha that’s fallen off his platform (and lost his head in the process). It goes in the cart along with two gallon-size bags filled with keychains bearing the words “go-drive” and an 800 phone number, a pair of sunglasses with one arm and several rhinestones missing, a mostly-complete 1962 set of encyclopedias, and a world atlas that still shows Russia and the Berlin Wall.


By the time we leave, I have all the aforementioned delectables AND some partially-used footcare products, a reindeer with three legs; one lavender-scented hand warmer, a hoola girl who’s lost her grass skirt and eyes, a cup of shells, a fabric-lined-with-only-one-stain drawer, and the cutest saucer you ever did see.

On the way to the checkout register, I grab 37 washcloths and a pair of fingernail ciippers for my husband. At first I consider them bait, thinking hubs will surely change his mind about thrift shops once he holds these puppies in his hands . . . but on the way home I come to my senses and decide to save the fingernail clippers for his birthday and use the washclothes as gift wrap instead cause I ask you: where would we possibly put all the useless stuff he’d insist on buying with that Senior Discount?



  1. sera

    I so can’t wait to spend a day with you. You made me feel so at home reading this post. Thank you. <3

    • whollyjeanne

      And I can’t wait to spend a day with you, either. Got a call from another friend in Savannah yesterday morning, and now there’s rumbling of us heading that way towards the end of the month. Will surely keep you posted. xo

  2. Meredith

    I wish I could go Goodwill hunting with you. You sound like to perfect companion for shopping at Goodwill. I’ve been itching to go find some hidden treasures, actually. Did you know I once found a really cute pair of wedge sandals that look so delightfully hippy-chic? And for $4, they were one of my favorite Goodwill buys to date? Somehow, though, I think you’d point out things I might otherwise miss.

    • whollyjeanne

      i’m back up the mountain today, and it’s all i can do to stay home and not go out and try to find a thrift store around here! it was such fun, and yes, the treasures. we started thrift store shopping when the kids got involved in theatre. you can find anything for any time period in thrift shops. one thing i didn’t mention in the article is i found a pewter lidded container (kinda’ like a bowl) that said “rudesheim” on it. hubs and i went on a cruise up the rhine for our honeymoon, and rudesheim is where we bought our cuckoo clock. of course i couldn’t leave that laying on the table, and yes, i did give it to him. his response? “what will i do with this?” i knew i should’ve kept it for msyelf . . .

  3. ☆little light☆

    I am not much of a shopper, but your radiant laugh and smiley face makes me wish I was. I think I would probably enjoy watching you shop more than anything else…

    • whollyjeanne

      i have to screw up energy to go shopping, but once i get there, it’s often fun. and exhausting. we could have lots of fun, i’m guessing.

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