Saturday, November 26, 2011

Put This On Your Bucket List

I had never conceived of a Goodwill Outlet.

I confess: I'm mostly a novice when it comes to thrifting. I'm not hard-core. I don't have special gloves. I don't own a bottle of hand sanitizer. True story.

When my friend Elisha offered to take me, I was way past intrigued.

This was my Breakfast of Champions. When I met up with her she had a bottle of water and a bag of Cheez-Its waiting for me. Homegirl knows how I tick.

So yes, I was well-fortified and ready to attack. I would own those blue bins.

The Goodwill Outlet is like purgatory for home items from the early 1970s and boxless boardgames and broken glasswares. It's all the stuff that didn't cut the mustard in the everyday variety Goodwill. It's the end of the line. I swore I saw a headless Barbie with her fingers crossed.

You just line up with your cart and start digging.

You pay by the pound. $1.69, I think. Books are $0.59/lb.

Can you imagine?

I couldn't. And I was there.

Right out of the gate I found two white flower pots from Ikea. They made me immediately suspicious of the overall premise, because they totally deserved to be in a regular Goodwill. Maybe they sacrificed their own future so that a terra-cotta pot painted in a 1988 country motif might live to see another day? (I've heard the Swedes are a particularly selfless people.)

I bypassed Alphie's brother-from-another-older-1970s-mother, but totally snapped up the toy garbage truck. And just when it seemed like things couldn't get more intense, this guy wheeled out that little cart with a Boom Box - yes, a Boom Box - and blared MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This".

The air was electric.

I scanned the crowd for Elisha. I was so confused! And yet so happy! I had no choice but to sing along.

A few seconds later, MC still makin' 'em sweat and ringing' the bell and oh-ohing, a different guy wheeled out a large cart holding a NEW BLUE BIN. He danced that sucker out. He backed the junk up for a step or two. I never would have taken him for a hip swiveler, but he totally was.

The bin was covered ceremoniously with a blanket. The crowd gathered.



U can't touch this.

No really, you can't.

At least not until the bin is in place and the secret covering is removed.

And that's precisely when I decided that I wanted to work there. Part-time, but still.

All of this, on a random Wednesday. These are some people who know the meaning of life.

I never did get close enough to that new bin. I got the vapors or something. I choked.

I'll never know the treasures I missed.

The possibilities are endless.

When all was said and done, my fingertips were black and I had 5 bags of stuff. For $20.11.

Cory texted me to see if I found anything.
Me: I bought 5 bags of crap.
Cory: Good. We needed more crap.

Let me just say this: Vintage Children's animal book. In FRENCH. True, I don't know French. But it probably cost me $0.13. I dare you to say you wouldn't have done the same.

Did I buy two random Duplo blocks? Why yes, I did. Green and white, respectively.

Am I the proud new owner of a frame-worth Parcheesi game board? Hate me.

Old clipboard? Yep. Oil painting of a lone, leafless tree? Do you even need to ask??

18.6 pounds of children's books? A kid's gotta read.

It was a winner of a day, topped off by my first Vietnamese meal, which I devoured along with eight cups of tea and hot/sour soup so hot and so sour that the roof of my mouth still won't take my calls.

Just find a Goodwill Outlet and go, man. Wear your easy britches and your dancing shoes.

Because as a wise man once said, If you can't groove to this then you probably are dead.

Harsh but true. Harsh but true.