Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Ten Commandments of Thrifting

The ancient religious texts of thrift store shopping have been translated into many languages and studied by scores of scholars.  While there are many who believe fervently in the Church of Thrift, there has never been a definitive reading of its core beliefs.

That is, until now.  Ladies and Gentlemen, please join The Frugal Hostess as she reveals the true meaning of:

The Ten Commandments of Thrifting

I.  Thou shalt have no other thrifts before me.  In other words, you must check the thrift store before you pay retail or buy something new.  A good way to manage this is to keep a thrifting notebook in your purse or car.  Don't laugh; TFH really does this.  It includes the hours and directions for her favorite thrift stores, and she uses it for a running list of the items she is looking for.

II.  Thou shalt not take the name of your thrift in vain.  Don't pretend like you don't shop at the thrift store; own it!  Or, at the very least, smile mysteriously when someone asks where you got your dress and say, "Um, I'm not sure.  It was on sale."

III.  Remember to keep holy the thrifter's day.  FruHo is reticent to share this, but the day before a big scheduled sale is the best day for thrifting.  For example, if your place has half-off on Wednesdays, go on Tuesday.  Trust.  If you want to go to the sale day, first take your temperature.  If you aren't suffering from a high fever, set your alarm and get there the MOMENT the store opens.  Protect your extremities and watch your back.

IV.  Honor thy thrifting forebears.  (Is that the correct word?  Does it refer to old bears?)  Always defer to old ladies and gentlemen at the thrift store.  They have been going there a lot longer than you, and no matter how broke you are, they are surely broker.  Let that grouchy old woman take that cashmere sweater you spotted from down the aisle; she deserves it.

V.  Thou shalt not kill.  This should be obvious.  No moldy pair of Manolos is worth a stint in the Big House.

VI.  Thou shalt not commit adultery.  Just because your regular thrift store didn't yield a Chanel jumpsuit last time doesn't mean you can just throw it away like a used tissue.  Thrifting karma is such that regular visits yield best results, just like how proper care and feeding can keep a relationship alive.

VII.  Thou shalt not steal.  In the thrift store, this means you must buy both pieces of the two-piece suit rather than leaving a pair of orphan pants behind.  You can't stuff three silk scarves into your new beach bag, and you may not switch out a price tag.

VIII.  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.  Don't skip in line or snatch something out of another thrifter's hands. 

IX.  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.  Um, not sure here.  Any suggestions?

X.  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's good.  Just because Ellie May Nextdoor has a Gucci bag and 14 pairs of Louboutins doesn't mean you should try to compete.  If you shop at the thrift store, no one will have anything like what you have, because it will all be unique.  Bonus?  You can trade in your clothes every season if you want, because you'll have only spent a fraction of retail, even discounted retail.

Please stay tuned for FruHo's next exegesis of sacred text.  In the meantime, any thoughts on number nine up there?

Photo by Steve Snodgrass

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  1. Ok, I'm probably shooting myself in the foot here, but Rule #VI - go on a Sunday. Everyone drops their stuff off on Saturday and the selection is fab. I just bought three brand new pairs of shoes for a song. This tip is brought to you by the ladies that shop the thrift store constantly, and it works.

  2. Rule IX - Don't hook up at the thrift shop. You are there to shop and deal not find eternal love. Maybe?

  3. Patti - I wasn't going to reveal that secret, but you are absolutely correct. Especially, at least in my neighborhood, early on Sunday.

  4. Dang, dang, dang. I gave it away. Dang. Double dang.

  5. I think that God's assistant, Zeus, made a typo when he was transcribing the comandments onto the stone tablet. He meant to say, "IX. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife's *clothing*."

    The neighbor's wife shall giveth of her clothing to thy local thrift store on Saturday where thou shalt purchase it on Sunday. No need to covet.


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