Who needs a mood ring when you have an Old Navy employee tag?
That's me, Little miss "luvin' shoppin'". For the general benefit of society, I've decided to create a shopping guide to share my love with others. Actually, this isn't really a guide as much as a war strategy. Because we all know that every time you are shopping, you are actually at war with "the man". If you think the only way to beat "the man" is to shop at American Apparel and wear Toms, you are so wrong my friend. I present to you Deseret Industries (the D.I.) as you've never seen it before.
D.I. was valued only by it's ability to carry ugly Christmas sweaters, velvet paintings, and cassette tapes of Ace of Base all under the same roof. Since I have been back from school, I have become quite the seasoned D.I. shopper if I may say so myself. It requires diligence and discipline, but the reward is worth it. Follow these rules, and you too can be part of the D.I.O.R.A.M.A. (Deseret Industries Organization for Reconnaissance And Material Acquisition).
1 - Find your D.I.
This rule is simple common sense. The quality of a store store should not be based on its customers, but it's suppliers. Almost all merchandise at D.I. is donated by people. The geographical location in which the store is found will determine who will be donating most. You may want to choose the store you visit based on what items you are looking for. Examples: In the St. George D.I., there is a limitless selection of old army uniforms, fatigues, etc. If you go to Sugarhouse, you will not find any army clothes, but you can find a lot of new (never worn) clothing and shoes. If you go to Provo, you are basically wasting your time.
2 - Arrange your schedule to optimal store proximity and productivity
You should visit your D.I, everyday if possible. This is easy if your grandma lives two blocks away and you drink mate with her every morning. Otherwise, once a week may be sufficient for your needs. Don't bother going on Saturday, it is too busy.
3 - Travel as a pack
You must ALWAYS go in a group, and follow the group code. When you are browsing, you are not only looking for things for yourself, but for your comrades. If you find something you think they will like, grab it and show it to them. They will return the favor. If they are not there, and the item is clothing or shoes, buy it (clothing and shoes are exchangeable for up to a week). Your friends can also protect your shopping cart from thrift thieves, or people who might "mistake" your purse as something "for sale". Also they will tell you that you are dumb before you buy that green and magenta polyester dress, even if you did see something similar on the sartorialist.
3- Constant Vigilance
As soon as you enter the store, head straight for what you are looking for. DO NOT LET YOURSELF GET DISTRACTED FROM YOUR GOAL. In my case, I always go directly to the clothing on the racks in the center aisle of the store. These are racks that they wheel in from the back with clothes that they later sort and distribute in the store. They have not been sitting there for months and months like everything else. And, if you find one good item on one of those racks (i.e. vintage Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress), you will probably find more because people donate things in batches and their taste will be reflected in the rest of the items on the rack. It is usually not worth your time to look at any of the other racks in the store unless you have something very specific in mind. And if you have the willpower to not get distracted.
4 - Be discriminating
Even though you are at a thrift store, you should still try and find the best quality items. In terms of clothes, it is best to stay away from clothes that were originally from Old Navy, Walmart, Target, etc. Even if they are "cute". You can buy these clothes new for almost the same price at the real store. Instead, look for clothes that are well-made and that fit. Don't buy clothes that have stains or tears; even if you tell yourself that you could easily patch them up, because we both know that you won't really ever get around to it.
5 - Keep a secret
When people ask me where I got something, I now tell them the store it originally came from. Especially if they are wearing something that it is the same brand/style that you are wearing. You don't want to make them feel silly when they find out you paid $4 for those pants while they paid $78. It's just more polite. :)
If you follow these simple rules, you will find success. I've found great stuff, including brand new sperry top-siders that looked a bit like this:
In other shopping news, I found this at Smiths yesterday:
Toshica's Finest - Satin DuRag
And this weird image on the inside packaging of a brush I bought:
Whaaaa? Is this a hint that I really should try to bring the "sister wife" hair-do back in style?
Oh! For all those interested, there is a rack at the Sugarhouse Old Navy for with mens pants for $1.97. It will probably be gone by the end of today, so go fast!