Thrift Stores – Rising Prices

It has become increasingly difficult for me to donate to thrift stores because they have gotten increasingly greedy with highly inflated prices. The purpose of most thrift stores is to benefit a cause and programs for disadvantaged, disabled, or other people in need. Most of these causes are very worthy. However, many of these thrift stores seem to have lost sight of this, as well as the fact that many of their patrons are on limited budgets. Sure, some shoppers are antique pickers like myself, but the vast majority shop thrift because they cannot afford retail. Alas, it is extremely discouraging when one sees that thrift store prices have exceeded retail in many cases, albeit with one important difference. These thrift stores are selling USED items for more than one can buy them NEW retail – what? Case in point, one of my favorite thrift stores – WINGS has a great cause, and I feel for them since their original Palatine location burned to the ground. The mission of WINGS is to provide a continuum of integrated services in an effort to end domestic violence and homelessness one family at a time. They used to have really good prices and on occassion, still have some bargains, but their pricing is random. Jeff and I recently donated a huge array of our prized possessions to WINGS after our garage sale was rained out totally on its second day. Many of these items were antiques and collectibles left over from the days when I had a booth at an antique mall. So not junk, by any means. Much to my consternation, when we were in there on Saturday, I saw that many of my items had been underpriced! Yet right next to some of my antiques were ordinary items that retail new for a small fraction…

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Target Commercial (The Denim Song)

OK, I want to get my opinion out there about awful, horrid commercials. I’m fully aware that I’ll likely never be the first, or even the hundredth to blog about any of them. There are, after all, entire websites devoted to discussions about commercials. But I want to share my take on them nonetheless. After mulling over my choices among commercials currently airing, I decided to talk about a Target commercial which I found called “The Denim Song.” I find it to unbelievably annoying and stupid. My first question is, Who is this targeting? I can’t imagine it would convince students OR their parents to shop there because it’s so lame. Watch the video if you don’t mind nails on a chalkboard: So I did some research. I was somewhat surprised that it seemed to have some fans who claim to love it. However I was floored when I discovered this commercial has IT’S OWN FACEBOOK PAGE! Wait, What??? This is indeed a new age when commercials have a Facebook page. Well I still think the commercial is annoying and stupid. And perhaps that was the intention.

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Tennis Musings

Shortly after finding myself unemployed in mid-June for the first time in 20 years, Jeff and I decided to take our tennis obsession to a new level and attend our first USTA event. We had the nice opportunity on a weekday to see several good matches at the Nielsen USTA Pro Tennis Tournament in lovely Winnetka, Ill. I had nearly forgotten about this beautiful day in late June until three players surfaced front and center at the US Open, which Jeff and I have been watching religiously. Although Nielsen runner-up Bobby Reynolds was  eliminated in the first round of the US Open by David Nalbandian, it was nice to see him honored on Tuesday night as a member of the Washington Kastles, who won the 2011 World Team Tennis Championships. It was very exciting to see veteran journeyman Michael Russell give Andy Roddick a run for his money in round two. He won Set 3 6-4 and inevitably went down in Set 4, 7-5, but what a gutsy  performance. Not bad for a 33-year-old whose greatest claim to fame was getting to the final round of 16 at the 2001 French Open. I think his guns have gotten even more impressive than they were in June – his arms are really enormous. And then of course Chicago boy Donald Young, who showed such promise as a junior champion but has struggled as an adult. Donald displayed bad boy behavior at Nielsen, screaming profanities at the umpire, even losing a point due to his antics. I found it hard to root for him even though he was clearly the better player that day and did win his match after calming down. I missed his spectacular 5-set US Open win over good-natured Stan Wawrinka, but did catch part of the press conference. He needs to learn some humility and grow…

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Thrift Shops: Goodwill

There’s a lot we have to say about thrift and resale shops. A few years ago they used to provide real bargains. Today most of them are run like corporations. We often are bewildered by the high prices that are nearly at retail levels. It seems the people who set prices are either ignorant of an item’s real value or outright greedy. A new Goodwill store recently opened near us and we have donated many bags of stuff as we attempt to divest ourselves of years of accumulated things we don’t need. After we dropped off some stuff yesterday we went in to browse. I could cite example after example of confusing prices (and as a matter of fact will do so in the future). There were two things that stood out at this visit. Betsy found a nice piece of Lusterware priced at $1.99 which she estimated would sell for around $10 at an antique store. At the same time just down the aisle I found a pair of plain wooden chopsticks similar to what you would get at a restaurant for .99 cents. The Lusterware certainly would be a good bargain, but who in their right mind would buy the pair of chopsticks?

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A Blog Begins

After a couple of fitful starts followed by long, procrastinating months of no activity, we have once again attempted to get this blog on its feet. The big difference this time is that we have entered the world of social media – both Facebook and Twitter – and understand how to leverage it to spread the message. As the title implies, the primary purpose of this blog will be to comment on the world of Consumerism. The things we like, dislike and utterly disdain about products, advertising, shopping, dining and our general interactions and observations about the world. That’s not going to limit us to only certain things. We’ll write about what we want when we damn well please…

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