Monday, March 7, 2011

When the Thrifting Gods F U, or, The Bongo Jeans That Got Away

While Operation Sparkle certainly creates the illusion that Holly and I lead utterly charmed thrifting lives, we will both painfully admit that there are days, and sometimes weeks, when the fickle gods of thrifting are giving you the stink eye. We generally choose to simply not share such experiences with the internet, because they are not nearly as thrilling as showing off our sweet weird shit. But after an entire weekend of being crapped on by the thrifting gods, I decided that there is something to be learned from such experiences, that being mostly, don't give up, DON'T EVER GIVE UP.

I scheduled two trips for this weekend; a trip to Queens on Friday, and a trip to Coney Island on Saturday. Surely, treasures would abound.

Queens was almost a bust. It was one of those days where I pulled tons of stuff that seemed pretty cool, but nothing was quite right. But generally, if I find at least one great thing, several hours of thrifting can feel entirely worth it. In this case, I managed to eek out of Queens with this one very sweet vintage plaid linen skirt:

I love the dropped pockets, the elastic waist, and the mid calf length. The quality of the textile is also pretty incredible, check out all the different colors that are woven in to the plaid:

So that was that. Definitely not one of my best days but not a total disappointment. Coney Island however, would be a true test.

My boyfriend and I headed out to Little Russia by the Bay to sample some cuisine, see some fish at the New York aquarium, and of course, thrift. I had never been out there before to thrift, and had grandiose visions of the bejeweled, sequined, laméd, fox-furred castoffs of misguidedly glamorous Russian ladies. Such was not the case.

The store that I staked out looked pretty promising at first. Right off the bat I found a sweet pair of rust red 90's Bongo jeans, not very unlike the rust red shorts that Holly featured the other day. I pulled a few other things, but once again, nothing really popped. The jeans however, actually fit like a glove, were a great color, and were a very soft lovely denim. They were to be my one purchase, and a good one, as finding 90's pants that are cute and actually fit is a tough thing to do.

I got to the register, plopped them on the counter, ready to get out of the (unsettlingly stinky) store and go get a drink. But as soon as the jeans hit the counter--I noticed--the tag had fallen off. Now, you may or may not be aware that a lot of stores refuse to sell things that are without tags. This is to deter people from ripping off tags when they think the price is too high, in hopes of having it readjusted lower at the register. Mostly, however, I find that this is rarely enforced. They charge you $3 or $4, no big deal, everyone wins.

Not with these jerks. The guy checking out said he couldn't sell them to me. I was not pleased. I flagged the manager and implored her to please let me buy them (this is what I find befuddling; begging a charity to take your money, it makes NO sense) and she shoots me down as well. I said they had a tag but they fell off at some point. She asked me how much they were, I said I thought they were $4.99. She asked me what color the tag was. I said I didn't remember (I didn't). She said she couldn't sell them to me if I didn't remember the color because "they have sales". What the mother F that means is beyond me. She was obviously on her high horse and out to prove a point, so arguing was pointless. Instead, I power-pouted my way out of the store, sans Bongos.

(Imagine these shorts, but as pants)

Honestly, I am still not over the loss. I can still see these perfect jeans in my mind's eye, and it is torturing me. Seeing Holly's shorts that were so similar was another twist of the knife. The only thing that made me feel better was a shot of horseradish infused vodka, which we chased the thrift store with.

I do think that the thrifting gods did send me a message about my apparent inability to deal with thrifting loss, in the form of this T-shirt, which my boyfriend found at the self same store were I got shafted:

I'm trying! I am trying.


  1. I'm going to start looking for ways to incorporate "power-pouting" into my life more frequently.

  2. Just so I can say that term. Not because I want to be upset.

  3. what a great post! thank you for sharing this experience as this has happened to me one too many times! LOVE the t shirt your boyfriend snagged. and yes, "power-pouting" is my newest favorite term.