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Students trift shop

Ellie Toler and Athena Zeng

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‘Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?’

Nick Vaaler, senior, can. He started ‘thrifting’ a few years ago. Now, it’s become a hobby of his.

Vaaler said he thrifts at least once a week, usually on Mondays because that’s when Savers has their 25 percent off sale. He thrifts because it’s cheap, and he finds unique pieces no one else has.

“You have to be patient,” Vaaler said. “There will be plenty of times where you don’t find anything.”

He has routes in all of his favorite sections – shirts first, then he makes his way around the store. He looks for clothes he thinks he’ll wear more than once, as long as the piece costs less than $5.

Vaaler said he buys a lot of frames for his art, cameras, polaroids, things of that nature. His favorite item he’s ever purchased from a thrift  is a working, vintage, black and white film camera. He said he’s been snapping photos with it ever since he found it.

Thrift shops also give back to the community. St. Vincent de Paul uses a voucher system to help individual clients referred by individual Parish Conferences. Savers pays their 140 nonprofit partners every time someone donates a piece of clothing or household item. Red Racks donates the proceeds from their sales to the Disabled American Veterans in order to help fund things like transportation, medical needs and counselling. Goodwill donates the majority of its revenues to fund job training and other services.

Kelly Reamer, senior, mostly buys clothes from thrift stores, her favorite thrift purchase being a newer Patagonia shirt, but she occasionally purchases trinkets and old books. Reamer said she constantly sees weird things, everything from clown masks to creepy dolls to a jack-in-the-box, for sale in different thrift shops.

Reamer said her standards for thrift store clothing are non-existent right now. She estimates that 70 percent of the clothes in her closet come from a thrift shop. She’s purchased socks and even a swimsuit from a thrift store.

“Some people may think that’s gross, but there is no limit to what a washer and dryer can do,” Reamer said.

Being able to purchase three or four items with just $10, Reamer said she never brings a lot of cash with her to go thrifting.

“It’s kind of like a treasure hunt for me,” Reamer said.

Every Saturday, Sydney Munden, sophomore, begins her day with a tour of thrift shops: she starts at the Goodwill on Clayton Road, then she drives to the Goodwill in the Chesterfield Valley before making her way back to the Saver’s on Clayton Road. If she’s really motivated, she’ll stop by St. Vincent De Paul on Manchester Road.

Once she’s in the stores, Munden said she starts at the men’s section to hunt for t-shirts before heading to women’s clothing, then the book section and finally records.

“It’s cheap and you can find like some retro things, that stand out from today’s time,” Munden said.

Munden said her mother and older sister Jade inspired her to start thrifting. At first, she hated thrift shops, but now she’s grown to love them. She said she’ll buy something as long as it has no holes, smells relatively good, and costs under $5.

Over Winter Break, Sydney said Jade bought a coat made from real rabbit fur at a thrift shop, but she asked Sydney to make it into a vest instead. So, Sydney cut off the sleeves and hemmed it. While the two ate at Chipotle a few days later, Jade, wearing her new fur vest, started to panic because she had trouble breathing.

Sydney said she suspects Jade had an allergic reaction to the fur, but she still wears the vest often.

“I feel like you should go with someone who’s comfortable so they can teach you the ways,” Munden said.


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Students trift shop