In the past, I have also shared about treasure hunting at The Goodwill at Halloween time because The Boy is just sooooo obsessed with the holiday. He cannot have enough stuff - and he actually *cares* about all of it. At the end of the season last year we collected up costumes for $3 and $4 - because he likes to "sell" them, still in their packaging in his Spirit store. This year.... having moved out on our own - we have have been making the most of a collection of new Goodwills to hunt through.
There aren't, however, as many Goodwill locations where we live now as there were in Portland (seven within a 10 mile radius to our old house) - so we've been hitting up the same two local Goodwills and we were getting down to the really dirty and stained talking toys or the ones that don't work, so I thought we would try out Value Village.
They have a HUGE Halloween costume set-up, and The Boy was out. of. his. mind. The Girl was running up down the aisles and pulling out this crown or that witch's broom.... and then I started looking at the prices.
I don't know *who* works for Value Village and thinks that charging $20 for a knock-off 'Snow White' costume is "value".... but - um... it's not: it's a freakin' rip off. The more I walked the aisles, the more my jaw dropped. I couldn't *believe* what I was seeing.... this is *supposed* to be a thrift store. There's nothing 'thrifty' about a $25 Transformers costume.
I know this, for a fact, because I've seen THE. SAME. COSTUMES. at The Goodwill for the whopping price of $12.99 and lower..... ALL brand new and still in the packaging - and half the price. How is that possible?
I looked on the Value Village website and found this:
"Our Mission: To provide our customers with the best selection and shopping experience of any thrift store in the world."
Dude.... Mission NOT Complete.
How could they ever *think* these are reasonable prices? The local WALMART has name-brand costume for at least $10.00 cheaper.... now, if I'm someone who is looking to SAVE money on my costumes and shopping in thrift store, wouldn't I be expecting to pay *less* than I would at WalMart? I really can't even wrap my brain around it all. Honestly.
Now, aside from the political issue's here - let me tell you how it *feels* to be the Mom standing in Value Village trying to explain to your over-excited 8 year old that, in spite of standing in a "Value Village", you still can't afford to buy him squat.
It feel like shit.
That's how it feels.
It feels like 38 years of art school and a decent career as a photographer amounts of jack nothing when it comes down to being a single parent and having rent and medical insurance and car insurance and a car payment (which is totally reasonable) -and oh.... yeah - trying to figure out how to go to college so that I can do that thing called 'sustain myself' in my old age because I no longer have that "life partner" to do that with that I had counted on. And yes... I have Hail Mary - but anyone in my shoes will tell you that you're a dumbass if you put your financial eggs in anyone else's basket.....
Big Girl Panties are on.... and I handle my own shit... but my shit is also broke. lol
I was so angry standing in that store - among the marked down, broke and dirty dishes and whatnot marked for $1.00 a piece..... and yet - their Halloween area is OUT.FUCKING.RAGEOUS. Why......? I fully expect to be standing in Macy's or Yonkers or The Bon Marche - and tell my kid.... "Dude, sorry, we can't afford that.". That's *exactly* why I don't shop in those places.... I already know I can't afford it - so why bother the emotional embarrassment of having to admit that to my kids?
I did not, in a million years - ever think that I would have to stand in a freaking "thrift store" and utter those same words.... actually, I'll be blunt: I never thought I would have to utter those words to my kids period.
The worst of it all was that they had this standing witch that had a 'step here' pad and she cackled and moved her head - and The Boy is just going out of his MIND over her.... but I think she looks dirty and dusty and I noticed that the back of her it tied to a long rope to the wall - because it's clear she doesn't stay upright without being tied to the wall - which means she's broken.
So The Boy asks how much she is .... and she's $150.00!!!!!!!
What. The. Hell??????
You can walk into the Spirit Store and get a walking/talking Walking Dead Girl for $150.00 BRAND NEW. You can get the Swinging Zombie Girl for $170, or the The Hanging Pumpkin.... so - yeah - if I *HAD* $150 - why would I buy some old, shitty, dirty and broken-ass witch at a thrift store?
Not so thrifty..... sigh.
As it is, I still bought the kids a few things and voiced my displeasure to the manage who blew me off - I mean... really? *I* am your target market - a Mom getting by on very little trying to make the holidays nice for her kids.... isn't THAT who shops at thrift stores?
I'm not the only *parent* in my situation - living on a budget..... it's *offensive* to state that you are supplying people with 'thrift' when you're really just robbing them.... at least in my humble opinion.
I was disappointed with myself, too because we went in there to hunt for treasure and The Boy had to walk out with out any because I couldn't afford them.... and I can't not afford them because I have a closet full of fancy clothes and iPods and iPhones and iPads and whatever else..... I can't afford them because The Boy broke his glasses a week ago, so I pulled together money for new frames which we put his old and scratched lenses in..... but The Boy has an appointment with his specialist at on the 28th and will most certainly be getting a whole new prescription which I will have to buy all new glasses for.
Yes... I can hear you - kids glasses aren't that much... right?
Well, may be for most kids - but for MY kids- after having gone blind in each eye and having had TWO full lens replacements (one in each eye) - The Boy wears bifocals that have to be specially made .... and they aren't cheap.
And, because life currently loves screwing with me.... we lost those *new* frames on Friday - and tonight The Boy had to do his reading homework with a magnifying glass. Otherwise, the type was too small for him to read.
Now *THAT* ... Value Village - THAT is fucking thrifty.
My eight year old at the dinning table doing his homework with a magnifying glass: that is was thrift looks like.
On a bright note..... school is going well for The Boy who's teacher adores him and finds him to lovely and well-mannered and he's very proud of the work he's bringing home... so even though this is harder than any time we've had before, I know we're doing the right thing because the personal success of The Boy means more than knock-off costumes anyway.
And, for the record, I'm not trying to be all - "poor me"..... I'm trying to say - our economy is such that LOTS of families are being creative and shopping thrifty to make sure they can pay their bills and still provide those extra's at holiday time that really make the time of year for kids - extra special.... I know there are Moms who have it waaaaay worse - and I can assure you I'm not the only Mom who was horrified to walk in and see their prices.... and you know what - that just sucks. lol
That's all.... it just sucks.