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Thrift Store Junkie (07.18.00)

We sure do have it good in Squamish. "Oh great, here he goes again with another ' I love Squamish ' article." Hey now, give me a chance ... aww who am I kidding, it IS another I love Squamish article, but for a nice change of pace, it's not about outdoor recreation, rather it's about the indoor recreation that is thrift store shopping.

I first started ' thriftin' ' for two reasons 1. I love stuff. Allow me to clarify. I love stuff that would spur most people to say, "damn that's ugly!" but being polite, instead they say "well it certainly has character" . And 2. Like most people I know, I'm broke. Combine the two and you have the stuff that thrift store dreams are made of!

At first I was hesitant to write an article on this subject, and for entirely selfish reasons. Thrift store shopping is by nature, very competitive. The whole premise is based on the classic, " one man' s garbage is another man' s treasure " theory, and it' s best if no one else knows where the best scores are. So without further adieu and with total disregard for my personal safety. here we go. The mini flea market ... yes, 2nd Avenue's department store to the stars. On more than one occasions this oasis of junk has blessed me with some excellent finds. Who among us hasn't gone into the mini-flea (as it's known by friends) looking for something, and lo-and behold, actually found it! Needless to say; when they opened the 2nd, overflow store across the street they did nothing but double the chances for gold.

It is here I hesitate. oh what the hell ...
St. Joe's is another jewel in the crown of Squamish thriftn'. My personal favorite, St. Joe's on Cleveland Avenue can have you immersed hip-deep in deals before you know it. And every time you go in, you can see the piles of garbage bags that you know are just bursting with next week' s treasures. But this isn't about ratting out the best deals in Squamish, it's about the realization that as of late, 'the scene' if you will, is dying. Years ago, the deals raged with a white-hot fury. Heck, I can even remember a time when Value Village was actually affordable and velvet paintings were discarded with reckless abandon. Ahh, those were the days, but now it appears as if it's over.

It really hit me last week when my lifetime companion and I took a trip to the thrift store heaven that is Vancouver Island. Usually I could expect to drop a hundred dollars and have the car stacked to the rafters with tacky gold. On this trip I was looking for what would usually be considered 'sure - finds' (keep in mind we cover over 20 stores in 3 days). A funky lamp, some velvet paintings, a bowling shirt and if I was lucky some tacky Jesus stuff. But all I found was sweet F.A! What happened? You want to know what happened? I'll tell you what happened, eBay 'effen happened!

You see, back in the day, the Jones's next door know the one's ... with the good paying jobs ? Well, they would clean out their garage/attic/spare room and dump it all at good will or possibly have a garage sale. Now what do they do, they put it on - line and sell it just as easily. Thereby reducing the selection in thrift stores to badly stained Spuds McKenzie shirts and sweaty baseball hats. The worst part though .. I 'm just as guilty.

For the past year, when I've been 'thriftn' ', not only would I scan for myself and those I love. But, I'd also keep an eye out for anything that would catch fair money on eBay. That's the problem. Now when you go to antique stores you're no longer paying regional value. Now the people with the masking tape and red marker are pricing everything in American equivalent. What can be done? I fear there is nothing to be done. The information highway is a wonderful thing and opens up the world to everyone. But unfortunately it's paved on the lush landscape that was our old stomping grounds.

Bryan lives in Squamish. He's the one holding the sign " Will Work for velvet paintings"


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