I come from a long line of bargain-hunters; my grandmother after retirement became an antique dealer, but she, like her foremothers before her, love garage sales like the Cookie Monster loved cookies. My earliest childhood memories involve being taken from garage sale to estate sale to estate auction, path routed through the services of the newspaper and a working highlighter. It's a thing. My grandmother has a gift for it, almost one might say a Dr. Whoeseque ability to produce needed items on demand. Need a clarinet? She has one, solid wood and in a lovely case, just waiting in her closet A left handed woman's golf club? Under the stairs. Helen Corbitt's cookbook? Which one? She has ten copies of all of them, hardback. She find solid silver symbols in boxes of yarn at a garage sale, a diamond ring in a costume jewelry bin. She's just that kind of a person.
My mom may be going the same way. It's a thing.
The Goodwill Outlet, however, is something else. It is the most terrifying place I have ever seen. Imagine, if you will, one giant room under brilliant institutional lighting, filled with rows and rows of giant green bins the size of sleds, each piled high with every piece of junk in the world as far as the eye can see. The areas are Clothes, Books, adn Household Goods, sold for $1.39 a pound. Patrolled by goodwill employees and a single young security guard stuffed with his own importance, as a row is decimated, everyone in taht area is ordered back into the aisles for a bin exchange and then released to burrow among the new row of bins. It's actually the single weirdest thing I have ever seen. The sudden rush toward the new bins is surreal. All that cannot be sold in a Goodwill store ends up here, which isn't necessarily just junk if my mother's finds are any example. But it does require some time willing to stare in horror at shock collars, plural, more versions of the Bible than you ever thought existed, and Christmas lights strung web-like over piles of books as people wearing gloves and masks--not kidding, my mom is getting some gloves this weekend because of the random broken glass problem--pick among the offerings with the intent looks of true believers.
It was interesting, I will say that.
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