The Thrifty Snicker wishes to recite an original poem. Ahem:
Three things that you will never see
In a cart, going home with me
At full retail from a big box store
When all around are discounts galore
Vases, frames and baskets small,
Medium, large, wide and tall
Plain and fancy, you get my drift
You must always buy them at a thrift!
Really…part of the fun of a thrift store is NOT knowing what you’ll find but if there’s a thrift store out there without shelves and shelves of frames, baskets and vases of every kind Her Thriftiness has yet to visit it. Now raise your bejeweled and manicured hand – no need to put down the G&T – and solemnly swear that you will never, ever purchase a vase, a basket or a picture frame from a retail store. There’s entirely too much stuff out there and there’s absolutely no reason to buy these items new, which only encourages manufacturers to make more of them. If you need something specific just make a note in your little electronic gadget and keep an eye open. Future posts will address this very topic in more detail!
Now for the review…
If size matters (and let’s be honest, to whom does it not?) Value Thrift Store on East Riverside will satisfy most every Austin bargain-hunter. Although short on amenities, Value Thrift is an old-time thrift store with a commitment to its primary customer – someone in the neighborhood who needs a decent outfit or wants to set up housekeeping on a very modest budget.
Located away from the big thrift three – Congress, Lamar and Burnet – your Thriftstress suspects that this store gets overlooked by those who hit the resale trail with any regularity. And that’s just too bad since no other Austin store has quite the collection of gimme caps proudly featured as this one. Carefully segregated by gender, rows of caps dangle enticingly above the men’s clothing as well as the women’s. Yee ha!
Clothes and shoes make up most of the merchandise. The lighting is pretty dim and shoppers will quickly see that everything’s sorted by color and not by size which makes browsing a bit of a challenge – especially as the racks are so long you’ll want to pack a sandwich just to get from one end to the other. Finding what you want is further complicated by small signs facing outward on just one end of those very long racks. Now where are kids’ tops again?? However, front and center are signs indicating which colored tag is 50% off that day and there were plenty of those desirable colors to be had on both of the Diva of Discount’s last two visits.
Clothing prices are generally reasonable, with most tops and bottoms in the $4.99 to $6.99 range. But while the Snicker hates to be snippy, inconsistent pricing just sets her pearly whites on edge and this store is among the worst offenders. One section of white, long-sleeve women’s shirts and blouses ranged from $1.99 to $7.99 with no apparent correlation between price and brand or fabric. Men’s t-shirts with advertising were $5.99 while solid men’s t-shirts were $2.99. Perhaps “Hank’s Oil & Lube” is a masculine value-added touch unappreciated by the fairer sex. However, Her Thriftiness was slightly mollified by the NWT Northern Reflections shorts she found for just $6.99 and she noted the decent selection of swimwear although again, an incomprehensible range of prices. Value Thrift carries almost no furniture and house-wares were on the skimpy side.
Techies will be drawn to the large wall of chargers and other gizmos that appear to plug into something located at the far end of the store. Each cord hangs on its own peg, which is much nicer than the typical practice of throwing everything together in a box or bin. However, your Thriftstress must confess that she knows nothing about such things so can only report on their display, not their value. When she dropped the end of her car charger into a cup of soda, she simply drove to the nearest office supply store and pouted prettily until a salesperson sold her a new one (at retail…oh the suffering!)
Ordinarily a mix of used and new clothes gets a thumbs down from the Thrifty Snicker but the very small section of new men’s t-shirts and socks and underwear for men and children makes perfect sense. Pulling together a back-to-school wardrobe shouldn’t require visiting a lot of stores and a working man might welcome a one-stop shop to pick up an inexpensive but complete change of clothes. And speaking of complete, Value Thrift carries a notably large selection of gently used shoes for every member of the family.
The store does not take donations as their merchandise is purchased from non-profits that do. Store manager, Ali, was a bit hazy on how the goods are actually procured stating that the owner handles all that.
Value Thrift is located at 2121 East Riverside and open seven days a week – heaven for those of us who need our Sunday fix. Hours are 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day but Sunday when hours are 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Parking is plentiful in the strip center and the store takes all major credit cards except American Express. Phone is 512.442.3100.
As much as it pains the Discount Diva to admit it, she doesn’t know everything thrift. What are your favorite places and best bargains?
Until the next find!
The Thrifty Snicker