Thrift store success story

Hand-tailored shirts (and a regular factory Arrow on top), a bunch of ties, and two hand-stitched pairs of leather shoes

I had a great day at the thrift store today.  I have been visiting thrift stores for a long time, not as much for the ironic hipster value but more because I am actually just really poor.  But I have never had a find like today.  Earlier this week I visited a tiny little house converted into a thrift store which is run by the Humane Society in town.  To my surprise, they actually had a great selection of ties – much better than the other thrift/consignment shops in town – and they were going for just a dollar each.  I went to the counter and asked why they had such great ties.  The woman told me that a very wealthy Humane Society benefactor, who had lived in Paris for a time, had passed away, and he willed a portion of his wardrobe to the Humane Society to sell in the shop.  She told me they had only processed a small amount of his wardrobe, so I should check back later in the week.  Now I’m a bit squeamish when it comes to wearing clothes from deceased people, but I decided to come back anyway out of curiosity.

That’s what I did today, and I was pleasantly shocked by what I found.  There were about 10 brand new, still in the package dress shirts, some hand-tailored from London and Paris of several colors (one still had a price tag for 90 Euros, which is not chump change for the impoverished man I am, and one seemed to be entirely made by hand), about 10 shoeboxes filled with hand-stitched leather dress shoes from England and the United States, a dozen straw hats, fedoras, and other various hats, and a new load of ties.  A lot of the clothing had price tags still on it, never having been worn.  The best thing?  Shirts were selling for $3, ties for $1, and shoes for $7 a pair.

I cleaned them out and got everything I could justifiably afford and fit in.  The picture there is everything I got.  The shirts were exactly my size, but the shoes were a size too small for me.  However, since they’re all hand-made, I tried them all on to see if any could fit comfortably on my feet, and I discovered two pairs that did (hand-made shoes often vary in size, especially made with leather).

The shirts felt great because they fit me perfectly.  A few of them had French cuffs – not my favorite, but I might get some inconspicuous links and link them together like a barrel cuff so they’re less flashy.  Another nice touch: two of the shirts had brass collar stays.  I definitely feel like I’m way too poor to own any of this stuff, but I got it all from the thrift store for around $40.

Also, the woman at the register told me they had only partially processed this man’s wardrobe, so I should come back later and see what else they have.  Done and done.

On an even more personal note, I said a prayer for the man and his family.  I don’t know what he did for a living, I don’t know whether he was really mean or really nice, I don’t know if he has a wonderful family or an estranged family or no family, or how he could afford such nice things, but as part of his final wish he wanted to donate his nice, unused items to help the Humane Society, and as an added benefit he was helping a poor guy like me too.  I certainly would not have purchased such nice things under another circumstance, because I could never justify spending the money.  However, I have been blessed with far more than I needed.

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