1.17.2008

Goodwill Hunting

For some reason - call it my Mr. Rogers phase, I guess - but I wanted to add some cardigan sweaters to my closet inventory. I figured my best bet was the local Goodwill store. I really like going to thrift stores.

However, my fascination with thrift stores runs a little deeper than just the fantastic deals you find. (By the way, my bud John can spend a mere 5 minutes in a thrift store and somehow end-up with the ultimate find. He and I have pieced together some serious "danger gear" over the years at various southland Goodwills and thrift stores.) It's a given that thrift shopping is like treasure hunting, right? When you find that perfect something for next to nothing, it's a pretty satisfying feeling! For me, walking down the aisles of a Goodwill is a little like reading a book without words. My imagination really turns on and I start to do a lot of thinking. I think most people who shop at thrift stores do it out of necessity and because of their financial state. I don't think they ponder about the fact that a lot of the things in these places are from people who are no longer alive. The things that are on the shelves, for some, are the only thing left in the world that belonged to them. I know, they are just things right? But how many of us are totally attached to our things? (What's the saying, "after awhile, our posessions start owning us"?) How many of you have an absolute favorite t-shirt or pair of jeans? These things mean a lot to us, right?

When we die, our jewelry and other valuable possessions get passed down to family members, but our clothing usually means very little to our loved ones after we're gone and more than likely, they'll end up being donated to a thrift store. So when I am perusing the aisles of a thrift store, I sometimes think up stories of the people behind the things on the racks. When I find an awesome vintage cardigan valued at $100 marked with a $5 price tag resting between a ratty "Disneyland 1990" sweatshirt or a neon pink "Welcome to Utah!" hoodie, I can't help but to think of the person who owned it and probably cherished it. How he maybe bought it for a special occassion or maybe wore it as a comfort outfit. When I come across a piece of clothing that reeks of cigarette smoke, I first wonder "Who in their right mind is going to buy this?" but then I also wonder if it belonged to someone who passed from cancer. When I see loads of brand new baby clothes with tags still attached, I get to thinking about the family who maybe never got to bring a baby home and wonder if they donated all of the clothes because they were too painful to keep around.

I find comfort in the knowledge that someday, after I am long gone from this world, maybe someone will still be walking around in my favorite cardigan.

4 comments:

Conrad said...

I miss your scent. When this is all over, we should get a place together.

j.h.k. said...

I'll have you know I purchased a cardigan a few months ago and it changed my life forever.

Adam G Partridge said...

Hey, when you die, can I get first dibs on your clothes?

Kory said...

When I die I want speakers in my casket, and a mic, so I can rock the afterlife.