Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Breakup

Judging from the response I got on my last post, I think I made this Value Village situation seem much more exciting than it actually was. Like most breakups, no one thing just "happened". This breakup has been a long time in coming.

For the last year or so, I've been noticing something curious every time I go to good old Village des Valeurs. All my favorite brands (ie. the ones I can't generally afford to buy new and at their regular price) have been steadily becoming more expensive. To some extent, I expect this. Value Village has a much larger selection than the average little thrift store, and everything is well-organized, so sizes and specific types of items are much easier to find than anywhere else. I'll pay a little more for this kind of convenience. But only a little more.

When I started thrifting, I could easily find a pair of Gap jeans in the $5 range, and at our (now closed) small town thrift store I found several pairs for only a buck each just a couple of years ago. Even with inflation since that time, I think up to $8 is reasonable for a pair of second-hand jeans of a decent brand. But now, on average, I'm finding that Value Village is charging upwards of $13 for the brands that flatter my particular body type. At best, I'm getting them now for $10. If I find them for $8 or less, I look very closely, because it almost always means that they're fraying at the bottom or have a bleach stain or rip on them somewhere. As an all-round cheapskate, I'm rather good at finding deals everywhere I go, so I know that if I wait for a really good sale on the Old Navy/Gap website, I can find a pair of brand new jeans for $10 or less. So why on earth would I buy them used, worn and in need of at least one good wash for the same price or higher at a second-hand store?!

After picking up the Captain on Thursday, we made our usual trek to the big Value Village and I walked around the entire place, becoming more and more frustrated every time I found something cute that I wanted to buy, only to find that the price was barely less than I would pay on clearance from the original retailer. In a few cases, factoring in the cost of dry cleaning actually made the item more expensive than buying it new. In the end, I walked out of there with only a few books and toys for the kids, and absolutely nothing for me. That has literally never happened before. Value Village robbed me of the one true thrill of thrifting--finding an exceptional deal on something I love. And that's when I decided that enough is enough. The time has come. I need to see other thrift stores.

So that's it. Value Village and I are broken up, kaput, splitsville. Should I ever again find myself somewhere as stylish as Montreal, I may give in to the odd holiday fling. But as my main thrifting squeeze, Value Village has become way too needy.

Even in Manitoba where the thrifting opportunities are much more scarce than in other places, the opportunities do still exist. As they say, there are lots of fish in the sea. I just need to get out there and find them.

9 comments:

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

Just make sure you don't get needy and instigate some make-up shopping! You'll regret it in the morning :)

Granny Bob said...

You are not the only one getting frustrated, I was talking to some people today that are finding the same thing happening there, so maybe if we quit shopping they will get the message. Have to plan a hunt and find some really great thrift places! Hope you had a good weekend. take care!

Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog) said...

I find thrift stores interesting. I shop in some consignment stores for the kids, and the prices are high, but I try to find good name brands so that I feel it is a good buy. There is a shop I frequent for myself, but it's also high-end so I don't know how good of a bargain it really is.....so I don't buy too often because it's at the point that I could go to Target, Kohls, Old Navy, and buy something new instead...like you said.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

That's right, girl. Don't tie yourself down to just one! If VV likes what it sees, it can put a ring on it. Or cheap jeans anyway.

Karen said...

I totally agree with you. We have two other thrift stores in our town as well as VV. I found one of them was getting more expensive. When i commented on it with someone I know who works there, she told me "they have to keep with with VV"! The other one, MFB, WANTS to cater to low income folks so they stay reasonable. I'm going to start donating my goods to them because their overhead is lower.

Tricky Nag said...

The thing that bugs me most about VV is that it gladly takes donations like a charity, but it isn't one. Now that I hear the cost of clothes is increasing - for previously worn, not just discounted - I'm irked. Good for you!!

fancythatfancythis.com said...

The sale sections of Banana Republic and Gap can be so amazing sometimes that I can see how they'd be cheaper than thrift stores. Plus the outlets for these two stores are great too!

You broke up with a store...I broke up with my dentist. It's been a busy week for both of us. :)

Jane said...

I totally hear you. I've been complaining (& so have friends and family) about how VV is getting - they seem to have completely forgotten that these are used items - that were donated to them! Their prices are ridiculous and I rarely buy anything from them. One time I was in housewares and they had just priced an item and put it on the shelf - they were asking $3 for it and I recognized it as a $1 item from the Dollar Store! I told them and they sheepishly removed it and repriced it for $1...!! I go to Goodwill now instead, they are much better, but even $6.99 jeans there are overpriced in my opinion.

Nezzy said...

I'm so sorry, ya know Neil Sedaka sang...'Breakin' up is Hard to Do!'

I sooo agree, why pay the price for used when ya can get it on clearance for almost the same price.

Yep, ya need to find yourself a new Thrift Lover girl! Heeehehehe!

God bless ya and have yourself a sunshiny kinda day sweetie!!! :o)