Talk about first world problems! Last week was a pretty tense week. My car got a flat and it was a real pain getting it to the dealership for a tire change. I had gotten used to having my own car and having my husband playing chauffeur for two days was a change in routine. I had to leave earlier in the morning and it sucked. If I took the bus, it would take me an hour and a half to get to work vs a twenty minute car ride. I guess I take it for granted that we are now a two car family who live in a nice apartment, in a nice neighborhood.
This was also a busy week at work and the husband forced me to have a "Sylvie day" last Saturday afternoon to unwind. That meant he made lunch, took care of the kid while I go do something on my own. Thanks to this blog, I got inspired and I decided to go thrift shopping all by myself. To me, this is a good thing, I like being alone!
I admit, I have not thrift shopped since I was younger but was looking forward to the experience.I like digging through racks of mix-matched clothing and missed the experience. This time I picked a thrift store closer to my house where I was told they had tons of really cool Halloween stuff. The neighborhood is kind of sketchy and I always got a weird vibe whenever in that area. I have thrift shopped in other places but this particular store was in a low income area.
As soon as I walked in, like magnets, I recognised some little gothlings shopping, which is nice. One thing I like about Montreal, unless you are an elitist, fellow alternatives give each other a smile and that "knowing nod". It was a nice welcome! They had tons of Halloween costumes (a lot of them were the unslutty kind which was a breath of fresh air. It seems that costumes are no longer of the spooky kind but a little too revealing and slutty for my liking) which was fun to look at. They even played some spooky themed music which got me in the mood for Halloween! The Addams Family theme song was one of them!
Once the initial excitement of seeing fellow Darklings (I don't get out much due to my health being poor and having a kid) and hearing The Monster Mash playing, I got to take a look at the people around me. I am a people watcher and I took a few moments to view my surroundings. Some were wearing torn or very worn out clothing but it was not done in an alternative way, it was because you could tell, they were in need. They were buying clothes for themselves and their children. I overheard a child get excited because he found a shirt with a cartoon character on it. Never mind that the shirt has obviously seen better days, with a visible stain on it but the mom still bought it for him. The child was so happy to get something with a cartoon character on it that it made me re-evaluate my own way of life. For myself, personally, I do put hand me downs on my son but 95% of his clothing were bought new. He even picked them out. Some items, he only wore a few times before he outgrew them.
I walk in the toy section and I see a huge stuffed animal. It was dirty. You could tell that the child who used to own it played with it a lot. I see another parent put that same stuffed animal in her cart for her son, who squealed with delight over getting a "new" toy. My son never squealed like that whenever I bought him something new. Personally, I would of never bought that stuffed animal for my kid. Even if I washed it afterwards, it was dumpy looking but to this kid, it was like gold. Again, I re-evaluated myself.
I looked at the clothing in my cart and asked one of the attendants where the money goes once I purchase these items. The way I was starting to see it, is that I could perhaps buy these items brand new and allow some other woman who needs these items more than I do, enjoy them. The attendant told me that the money does help pay for the store's rent, the salaries of the employees. I remember someone telling me that they hire people with difficulties to help get them back into the workforce. Knowing my money is going to good use, I decided to make my purchases with a clear conscience.
I shop at many different stores but the experience I get watching people are usually always the same: Most people I see are unhappy. I also see children (sometimes even my own) taking tantrums because the parents are refusing to buy them something they want. You know what I saw there? Smiling, happy people. It was a welcoming change! One child was so happy to get a brand new Halloween costume this year (they had new stuff, probably overstock from a store) that it made me sad. I never seen anyone that happy to be getting something brand spanking new!
I have two big bags of clothing that no longer fit my son. I have a bag of old toys he outgrew. While I do donate my used items, I think I am going to drop them off at that particular thrift store.
I never realized how much my family and I had until I went there. Suddenly, the stress over my flat tire seemed irrelevant. I am going to appreciate what I have more and am going to start to teach my son the same. It was a positive experience, despite coming home in tears.
You can expect a haul post or several outfit posts soon showing off my finds from that store but right now, I want this post to be about the people I saw and the experience I had that afternoon, not the purchases I made.