Never say “Never”

Ingrid Berger mug 25c. The stripes make me happy.

There’s a common Thrift Shop donation story that I think must be an urban legend but it goes something like this: A volunteer is sorting through donations and finds a baggie filled with something unusual accompanied by hand-written note that says “Tea bags, only used once.”

While it’s true that people will donate just about anything to a thrift shop, I’m pretty sure used tea bags would never make it onto the floor because, truly, no one would buy them. What’s interesting is what does make it onto the floor because you never know what people are looking for.

but they were brand new!

I used to say that I’d never buy underwear at a thrift shop but the truth is I have. I’ve bought boxer shorts for my guys in the past although my son just informed me that he will no longer wear used boxers. So there. I have found brand-new, store- tag- still- attached Jockeys in my size – the only underwear I’ll wear. (TMI? Sorry.)

an eclectic mix from my cutlery drawer. wonder how many mouths have touched these?

I worked with someone at a summer camp who said he’d never buy cutlery at a thrift shop. It grossed him out because other people had eaten with it. True story. It didn’t take long to point out that he was working at a summer camp and eating with cutlery used by other people every day. I had also observed him eating at restaurants. Ya, that argument didn’t last long.

my already much-blogged about New Balance runners.

A commenter on my blog said he’d never buy used shoes, which surprised me because that’s one of the most common things I’ll buy. I used to say that I’d never buy runners at a thrift shop until I bought these like-new New Balance runners. It’s true that running shoes almost never come into a shop in mint condition but the thing is, you never know.

Bed sheets? Flower pots? Bicycles? Soccer Cleats? Greeting cards? Is there a place where you draw the line?  I’ve decided to never say “never.” How about you?

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8 Responses to Never say “Never”

  1. Jen says:

    My best friend and I were just talking about that very thing. While I am pretty open about buying used stuff she absolutely draws the line at beds. She is terrified of bedbugs so while she is currently suffering because she really does need a new bed, she refuses to go thrifting for one. I on the other hand have bought used mattresses and while they were checked very carefully first, I have never had a problem.

  2. gk says:

    Similar to the story of donations of used tea bags, I had a lady call our store one time asking when she could come by to drop off a donation of used greeting cards. Yes, they had notes written in them, but perhaps missionaries would enjoy reading the notes from others… I politely told her I don’t think they would sell well in our shop and she should just recycle them.
    On a different note, I think I’m softening up on buying used shoes. I will NEVER buy used underwear, though… but then again, I do sleep on a thrift shop mattress every night and I used to say I would NEVER do that either.

  3. angelika says:

    gk, you made a mistake on the greeting cards – i recycle old greeting cards to make Christmas cards every year. while i don’t know if missionaries (or others) would actually like to read other people’s mail – and i don’t even want to think what the privacy policy implications of that might be – if you’d told her to tear off the personal info and just bring in the fronts for crafting, that would have been a useful thing!
    Jen – re: bedbugs… yes, this is something i’m sure every thrift shop fears. but i know that at MCC’s thrift shops (and i’m sure at other reputable thrift shops) they check furniture pretty carefully when they pick it up. they have refused to take things that look questionable.

  4. sonja everson says:

    I would never buy a used Halloween wig from a thrift store. You just can’t clean them properly and you don’t have clue if it’s been hanging around for years in a dark dusty basement somewhere.

  5. Diane Tucker says:

    Well here’s something I wouldn’t buy from a thrift store: condoms.

    I have found them there, but not intentionally. I was looking at purses (the majority of my purses are thrifted) and found a handful of unused condoms in a purse! I took the purse to the checkout counter, handed the condoms to the clerk and said something like “You should probably check what’s inside these purses before you put them out.”

    I did not buy that purse, though it likely had some stories to tell!! 😉

    • angelika says:

      Oh. my. GOSH. that’s a GREAT story! at least they were unused – LOL. i’m gonna share that story with a few people… HA!

  6. wife ic says:

    I guess anything that can be washed in hot could come home with me although I would be hesitant with used underwear. My most favorite finds were a pair of fabulous Salvatore Ferragamo shoes that were barely scuffed on the leather soles and a classic Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 from a thrift shop in Minneapolis.

  7. SixBalloons says:

    I’d say used bras are a bit of a mystery to me.

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