Monday, December 23, 2013

Way Too Expensive

Luckily for me, my parents love thrift store finds as much as I do. They had a flea market booth in the area up until January of this year. Between the owner raising the rent prices, the lack of sales, and the vendors leaving in droves, they decided it was just about time. Their monthly income dropped by more half in the last few years, and their sales leading up to Christmas of last year were a quarter what they were the year before. They now have a booth at one of those week-long flea markets, where they just pick up a check every month, and the sales over there are still pretty good. Trust me, this all leads to something.

I decided to hit up the local thrift stores last week and over the weekend to look for some last minute gifts. I found this very same record at one thrift store, and while I don't like paying $4 for a simple record, I do love me some chipmunks. This is one of those thrift stores with an "antiques" section filled with very expensive items.

I once bought quite a few pieces of Pyrex from another branch of the same store. I never paid more than $10 for a piece, and that was only for one with the original lid and cradle. After realizing that people bought Pyrex, they started moving it all to the expensive antiques section. The last time I went in, they had a pink Gooseberry bowl for $20 and a small red fridgie for $10. No thanks. The prices are actually cheaper at the antiques mall a few miles away.

My roommate found a vintage fruit crate that he fell in love with...until he checked out the price. $40 for a single crate. Excuse me, $39.99 for a single crate. The funny thing is that the last time I was there, they had two similar crates out for the same price and a 1950s aluminum cooler with a $49.99 price tag on it. We laughed about it, but darn it if all three didn't sell while we were in the store.

I managed to find three things in the store, walked up to the register, and started to pay my $9. That's when my roommate noticed an old miter saw sitting on the register behind us. As soon as he pointed it out, the cashier instantly started talking about how they looked it up and the exact same one is listed on eBay for $600. If she hadn't already ran my card, I'm pretty sure I would have walked away right then and there.

I am so tired of thrift stores doing this, so I finally pointed out that the bad thing about eBay is that anyone can list something at any price they wanted. Just because someone has it on there for $600 doesn't mean it will sell for $600. This same store frequently places eBay auction listings on items in their glass cases and list prices accordingly. They once had a cool set of mid-century modern wood candle holders priced at $19.99 because someone had the same ones on eBay for that price. I went home, checked the listing, and discovered that they guy had relisted them multiple times and couldn't get a price. I bookmarked the page, and those candle holders were still turning up month after month.

This is also the same store that once had a vintage 1960s set of speakers out on display with an eBay listing. Someone, who clearly had no sense of prices, listed the speakers with a starting price of $25,000. You read that right, $25,000. The thrift asked customers to make an offer. I doubt anyone was surprised when they were still there six months later.

I keep going back because you never know when you might find some hidden gems. I once found a very cool hutch at a thrift store for $25, but this thrift had the exact same one earlier this year for $250. My roommate found a cool MCM hutch at Goodwill for $70 that this thrift had earlier this year for $270.

This particular thrift store chain has three locations in our city. Two have an antiques section inside the stores, while the other one has its own antiques shop next to the main thrift store. I keep seeing the prices rise for no good reason. After my most recent trip, I think I'll just cross these stores off my list. If I wanted to pay $200+ for a piece of furniture or $20 for a single Pyrex bowl, I would just spend more time at the antiques malls in the area.

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