Thrift Store pound sale wars:
I ventured into London’s East End Thrift Store to check out their pound sale event. I hadn’t been thrift shopping in London for about five years, and even back then, I was never wholly won over by the idea. But, having had good fortune in thrift shops in Edinburgh and Berkeley, I hoped that I might find a dress for my upcoming graduation at this event. Turns out my hopes were misplaced.
Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m not a good shopper (never mind a good thrift shopper) and therefore have difficulty finding good quality items, or the fact that the event was jam-packed, or the fact that the good stuff was probably gone before I’d got in, or the pouring rain that bucketed down during all of the 45 minutes I queued for this (see photo #2, which only shows half of the line) and which later returned when I’d got out from under the tents (photo #3) to start queueing for the checkout. The items themselves weren’t the most dazzling fashion prizes I’d ever seen. Clothes were strewn all over the floor and in cages, such that the idea of having to sift through them only to find average items seemed unappealing and unjustifiable. Every now and then I heard other people near me expressing their disillusionment. ‘I really can’t do this kind of shopping’.. ‘I’m ready to abandon this for lunch’ ‘Yeah let’s do it’… ‘It’s just a jumper.. that’s ridiculous [at the sight of a fight breaking out]’.
A rich source of entertainment, however, were the fights breaking out every time new items were brought out onto the racks - people would snatch whatever clothes they caught sight from the rack as it passed them by, only to discard them once they’d had a proper look at it (photo #4). And it was a true hipster orgy, with all the household clichés about hipsters in full bloom right here. While I was queueing, I watched a neon-clad guy come out of the sale carrying 5 fur coats. Many of the fights were centred around woolly jumpers (jumpers. in late June). As I took a break outside the tents, I watched as two girls - their hair done up in pigtail buns and covered in retro from head to toe - take a rest beside me and deliberate about what to do with the dungarees they had picked up.
After the pound sale, I went into East End Thrift Store’s main shop to check out their stock as well as their weekly Fill-a-Bag event. Thrift shopping, as I concluded after this final exploration, is my ultimate nightmare. The hope of cheap rewards is shattered by the realisation that you do in fact have to sacrifice something for it - not your money, but your time and efforts (and your soul - as I resigned myself to the fact that I will probably not attain vintage/retro cool heaven - and your brainpower, because I constantly had to work my decision-making skills, which are pretty weak).
London’s thrift shopping scene on the whole strikes me as a relatively expensive one, at least compared to Edinburgh’s and Berkeley’s. All in all, though, I came out with 5 items (a meagre harvest compared to people who came out with suitcases and bin bags overflowing with their reapings) for a scanty £5, and the whole experience, however unimpressive, was nevertheless amusing for the sheer absurdity of it.
How does Macklemore make thrift shopping look so easy and blasé?