3.22.2012

Breaking News: PDX Thrift-Store Prices Up?

plaid wool scarves, thrifted*

My thrifting buddy, Jeff, and I have been thinking during our separate and joint trips around town lately that prices seem to have spiked. Every outing, one of us or an overheard customer will say, "They want $X for this?!" Last week, Jeff bought a brown-plaid, wool Pendleton scarf for $10 at the Broadway Goodwill, but he hesitated a long while first because the price should have been closer to $5. On the other hand, right next to the Pendleton scarf, Goodwill was selling a purple synthetic scarf for $7, so in that light, the $10 scarf was the better deal.**


10174 SE 82nd Ave., Happy Valley, OR

Jeff, who conveniently lives near the big Salvation Army store on 82nd, has also noticed that their more recently donated clothing, currently marked with red tags, is being priced at two-and-a-half times the former amount, and the older jeans and such have been on sale a lot lately. Nose sniffing a story, this reporter followed her source to Salvation Army a few days ago (see here re Homer Simpson) and discovered a pair of nowhere-near-new DKNY capri jeans tagged at $25, when formerly similar items used to be priced around $10-13. Everywhere we looked, the newer clothing items—and not all were esteemed brands—were being priced about 2.5-times higher than their older counterparts. Since more people are buying secondhand in these harder economic times, there appears to be a plot afoot in Portland to maximize nonprofit profits. You heard it here first.

But despite the used-clothing inflation price hike in progress at the Happy Valley Salvation Army, and because it was 50%-off day, I did score the following during my, er, reporting trip: a pair of men's (small) Nordstrom pajama pants for $1.75 (yes, I wear men's pajama pants); a medium-sized, white-ceramic, West Elm bud vase for .75 (original price tag: $16); a vintage-looking, cropped, black-mohair, three-quarter-sleeved cardigan with a high, wide, Audrey-Hepburn collar for $2 (though it needs mending repair on an elbow and the old lining seam-ripped out, neither of which should be difficult); a small AirBake sheet (replacing the one the ex took, perfect for broiling toast and sandwiches and washing up in my small kitchen sink) for $1.25; and three pairs of circular aluminum knitting needles for .25 each. I'll help with the math: $6.50 total.*** That's thrift.


yard daffodil (free), West Elm vase (75 cents)


*Note: The red and brown scarves pictured are Pendleton; the others are from various Irish, Scottish, and American woolen mills.

**Note: The Pendleton site is currently selling new merino plaid scarves for $19 on winter clearance.

***Note: For comparison, that's also about the cost of two drinks plus tip at a local coffee shop, my favorites being Case Study Coffee and Ford Food + Drink.

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