It’s been a long time since I’ve scoured the racks of a thrift store. Five years, maybe? Last week though, I had a mission. Acquire Halloween Costume. I’m dressing up like Velma from Scooby Doo. I mean, I already have the dowdy haircut, might as well keep going with the frumpy vibe.
When I was in graduate school, the bulk of my clothing was purchased at local thrift stores. For the starving artist, the local thrift store is where it’s at. You can find clothing that looks broken in, edgy, and retro without having to pay Anthropologie prices. There was a funky thrift store around the corner from my house that was cool and hip enough for me not to stress about how many times I would need to wash items before I felt comfortable enough to wear them. The clothes were also on the nicer side of things, with recognizable labels and were on the decent side of the sliding fashion scale. And THRIFTY!
Still, I was buying used clothing. I don’t think I ever stepped foot in to a store and bought clothes that no one else had ever put on their body. It just wasn’t in my budget. It took years (and the uprising of Target) for me to realize I could find affordable clothing that was new, I would just have to shop wisely and sniff out the sale racks.
This time, I was shopping for costume apparel, so the stakes were low. I walked in to Goodwill looking for a baggy orange sweater and red skirt. And the thing I loved about this Goodwill? The Organization. Every rack was organized by color. By. Color. You fellow Virgos out there might be nodding your head in agreement, thinking “yes, as they SHOULD be.” It was super easy to find what I wanted, I scooped up two pairs of cheap black pants as well, and in record time had scored exactly what I was looking for.
But what I wasn’t prepared for was the entertainment I was afforded while browsing. There was a woman walking around, pulling out shirts and pants, while talking on her cell phone. Loudly. But the best part? She had the caller on speaker phone. SPEAKER PHONE. For all of Goodwill to hear.
It wasn’t just a boring conversation of grocery lists or transportation coordination. I got an earful of information about this woman and her family. How so-and-so just got out of rehab, how this person wasn’t going to post bail, how the person on the other end needed a ride down to the plasma bank. I didn’t know whether to be appalled or intrigued. It was like eavesdropping…I knew I shouldn’t be listening, but it was so hard NOT to.
Yet, I wasn’t the only one who was forced to hear this garbage. There was a young mother in front of me, pushing her toddler in a cart down the aisle, and I could hear her answering her son “I don’t know who she’s talking to…” I silently empathized with the boy, asking the same question I was mulling over in my head – why isn’t this woman turning off her speaker? Do we ALL have to hear this? And does the person on the other end know that his business is being broadcast all over the racks of a thrift store?
As I stood at the checkout line, two people behind The Megaphone, I kept waiting for an apology. For a recognition from this woman that she shouldn’t be holding a conversation on her phone while checking out. But it never came. Her conversation followed her out the doors, and as soon as they closed behind her, those of us waiting in line let out a sigh of relief and a collective giggle. Far more entertaining than a Honey Boo Boo episode.
Who knew such comedy could be found at a thrift store? Will Goodwill start charging a two drink minimum?