I’m a Veteran of Old NAVY because the Salvation ARMY never recruited me.
I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes. I’m an Old Navy type of guy. Macy’s is the most luxurious store I shop at. But I’m also not a cheap skate, proven by my first ever visit to the Salvation Army thrift store last Saturday.
I’ve donated plenty of clothing over the years, but usually I would drop off bags at Park-N-Ride locations right off the freeway where the Salvation Army places trucks. I never visited one of their stores as a customer simply because it seems creepy to wear clothes that once belonged to a complete stranger. I don’t know where that person has been.
Over the years, however, I’ve come across friends with particularly interesting clothing and asked them where they got it. When they told me their golden nugget was found in a thrift store I was somewhat astonished. It never registered with me that I too could add to my wardrobe with a visit to a thrift store.
There’s a Salvation Army thrift store near my house, which I’ve passed by numerous times.
A bed greeted me at the doorway. I had no idea that the Salvation Army sold things other than clothes. I then wondered if the store was like IKEA, and it also had cheap food to offer up. Once fully in the store, a musky smell entered my nostrils. The stench was reminiscent of old people, combined with sadness, and a touch of religion.
I didn’t realize the Salvation Army is ran by the Christian Church until I saw hymns painted on the wall and read their mission statement in a pamphlet. Earnings from their efforts help out the less fortunate.
I didn’t find Jesus while in the store, but here’s a sampling of things I did peruse:
I finally made my way to the clothes section. I contemplated buying a hat, but decided against it.
Then I saw the tie rack, and since I taught myself how to tie a tie, I momentarily considered adding a new tie to my collection. Well, technically, it’s a used tie. I didn’t find anything special in the rack, so I moved on to the shirts section.
A yellow shirt caught my eye, so I went to the rack thinking that it was a Lakers jersey, since from a distance I didn’t see any sleeves. I separated the surrounding clothing to find this vest, which is why I moved on to the pants section.
I didn’t spend a long time in that area of the store, because the thought popped in my head that my junk would be resting in the same area that another dude’s balls called home. I’m sure the Salvation Army washes clothes before throwing them on the rack, but I wasn’t about to take that chance before using a dressing room to test the comfort of pre-worn pants. It just seemed too personal.
I was starting to lose hope that I would find a head turning piece of clothing. I still had one more section to explore, however, and I told myself I couldn’t leave empty handed.
Interestingly enough, the sweater section is located right next to the bras section. Ladies, if you’re buying your bras at the Salvation Army you’re probably better off not even wearing a bra.
As luck would have it, my search immediately ended with my first step into the sweater section when I found this gem.
How could I not buy that sweater? It was only marked with a cost of $3.99 dollars. I didn’t even check out the size of it. How racist do you have to be to get rid of a sweater trying to end racism? Either that, or the original owner felt racism has been eliminated?
To my surprise, the cashier notified me that everything in the store was 25 percent off for the whole day. Score! I probably should’ve gone back and bought that bed for $10 dollars. I was content, however, with my new sweater, so I rushed home to try it on.
My visit to the Salvation Army taught me that the store is kind of a like a retirement home for personal belongings. It’s where items go to die if no one wants them. Overall, however, I felt the trip was a success, even though the sweater was two sizes too big at Extra Large. I donated to the Christian Church so they could help those in need. And I ended racism. All that simply with the purchase of a sweater. What did you do last Saturday? Probably not end racism.