Last week I finished working at a job that I’ve done and loved for 17 years, serving as Communications Writer for MCC BC. My colleagues held a potluck party for me, many of them bringing some of my favourite foods (like “dodo” – fried sweet plantains – and baked spiced squash, chai tea and my mom surprised me by bringing Napoleon Torte).
They showered me with kind words, which, thankfully, they also put into a card for me so I could remember them. They also gave me some lovely gifts:
a beautiful cloth from my African colleagues with a peace dove and the words “we are people of peace”
a beautiful necklace made by women in Ethiopia who are living with HIV and AIDS and who make jewelry out of discarded bullet casings as a way to earn money to support themselves. This is one of the loveliest expressions of “swords into plowshares” I’ve ever seen.
and a gift certificate to my favourite thrift shop! Woohoo! If that isn’t incentive to go thrift shopping, then nothing is. With one thing and another, I have hardly been thrift shopping since I was in Portland and we all remember what a mediocre experience that was. So it’s high time I got out there.
Our house has small closets, so I’ve had the practice of keeping my off-season clothes in a large Rubbermaid container. Before going crazy with my gift certificate, I did the seasonal swap to see which of my unworn spring/summer clothes needed to go back to the thrift shop. if any of the fall/winter clothes would need to go back to the thrift shop and if I needed anything “new.”
I’d already done a big cull of summer stuff in late summer and there were a couple of unworn items in the fall/winter category that were impulse buys last year and that I knew I wouldn’t wear this year either, so those went too. After assessing what was left, I decided that since I am starting a new job, I needed to pick up a couple of items for my work wardrobe.
I picked up two pairs of dress pants, priced a $4 each but the pink tags were 50% off, so the grey Mexx pair were a steal, which helped me with the decision as to whether or not to buy them because they are too long and I’ll have to hem them. (Sometimes that’s enough of a disincentive for me!) I love the black Cleo pants because they’re petites so I don’t have to do any altering at all. They are high waisted, so no muffin-top (HURRAH) and have just enough stretch in them to make them super comfortable. I have a feeling I’m going to wear them to death. The only down-side is they have no pockets.
I also picked up this wool scarf, made in Italy, and plaid, for which I have a definite weakness. The purple stripe sold it because it will pair it with my MEC gortex jacket, which I think is still the find of last year.
Tomorrow, I start my new job as Communications Writer for Communitas Supportive Care Society, a wonderful organization that supports people living with disabilities. I’m looking forward to a new challenge and a new opportunity to use my gifts.
So I’m curious – what criteria do you apply to your thrift purchases? Does the need to alter stop you? No pockets, no purchase?