Thrift stores, rummage sales, yard sales, secondhand consignment shops: these are probably the best inventions since sliced bread. (Speaking of sliced bread don’t buy that at the thrift store). But there are certain tricks to shopping at thrift stores, and there are very crucial things every thrifter should avoid like the plague – either for the sake of genuine hygiene or just plain common sense. Remember, these are more like guidelines than actual rules.
This might seem like a no-brainer but I have seen a lot of used underwear hanging on the racks at thrift stores and piled on tarps in someone’s yard sale. Obviously, buying used underpants when there is no way to guarantee how hygienic or disease-free the previous owners were is a bad idea. But even the underwear that is still “new in package” at the thrift store seems sketchy to me. At least if you buy underwear at a large chain store and something goes horribly wrong, you have a giant, greedy corporation to sue. Try suing Salvation Army. I promise you’ll just look like a jerk.
You see a nice 1,000-piece puzzle for $2 and think, “What the heck?” I’ll tell you what the heck. You slave over that beautiful landscape for hours and days and possibly, if you’re bad at puzzles, for weeks. You are nearing the end, only a small bit of cloud is left to complete. And suddenly you realize you are missing the last piece. You’ve been cautious and careful, nobody has been around to knock unwitting puzzle pieces onto the ground. Still, you haven’t vacuumed for days just in case. So you search high and low and finally are forced to conclude the puzzle you bought at the thrift store was incomplete – your masterpiece will be incomplete. Tears will be shed, teeth will be gnashed, and you might never do a puzzle again. Not that this has happened to me.
The one exception to this rule is mattresses that are still new in the package and have been gifted to the thrift store by some reputable mattress store with too much stock. But a nasty used mattress from the ’70s that looks like somebody’s grandmother died on it? I guarantee you there was probably someone who died on it at one point. Not to mention all the bodily fluids, spilled wine or potential bedbug infestation. Just don’t even go there.
4. Bath and beauty products
Sure, that bottle of lotion with the original Rite-Aid sticker still on it looks unused, but who knows what kind of grade-A serial killer might have replaced the lotion with battery acid before generously donating it to the local Goodwill. Same goes for any bath product or cosmetic, really. Stay away, and nobody gets their skin melted off.
This goes along with the underwear but is, perhaps, less obvious. Consider this statistic I read on the Internet, so you know it’s reliable: 1 in 5 adults pees in the pool. That means you have a 20 percent chance of buying a swimsuit that has not only been all up in someone else’s junk, but has also been partner to the greatest summertime crime – pool peeing.