I REALLY love shopping at secondhand shops. I love the bargains and the warm-fuzzies I get from saving an item from being sent to landfill. But even more than buying things at secondhand shops, I love wandering around and looking at everything inside of them. Every thrift store is a museum of items curated by coincidence that sends us messages about who we are as a society and as individuals. They teach us about nostalgia, impermanence, and value. And sometimes they simply entertain us.
Today, I found four items at Goodwill that stood out to me, so I decided to take pictures of them and share them with you.
I imagine that a middle manager received this sign as a gift from her office Secret Santa. It was an inside joke between her and her team since she's from New Zealand, and people are always confused by her accent and ask if she's Australian. She displayed the sign on her desk for a few years, just to be polite, but it's presence slowly began to gnaw at her.
"I'm not Australian," she found herself grumbling every time it caught her eye. The constant reminder that the world could end soon, even though it hadn't yet, didn't ingratiate the sign to her either.
She stopped looking at the sign. She stacked papers on top of the sign. She even hid the sign behind some books on her bookshelf. But every now and then one of her employees would wander into her office for chat, and being a kind-hearted person who didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, she would bring the sign out into full view, just in case her visitor had been the one who gave it to her. She just didn't want to hurt any feelings.
She finally got rid of the sign in a quite unremarkable way. One day she just looked at it and felt no emotion. No irritation at being confused with Australians. No slow panic rising in her chest from dooms day thoughts. No guilt from disliking it or pressure to keep it. The sign had become blank and empty, a void on her desk.
She dropped it off at Goodwill on the way home that day, and neither she nor her employees have given it a thought since.
I don't know what this is, but someone made it by hand and signed their name on it and someone else hung it on their wall by a leather cord. I wish it could talk to me with its silly doughnut hole mouth and tell me what it has seen through its goofy sun, moon, and star eyes. I think it would only speak in haikus.
In a perfect world, this evening gown would live out the rest of its life as a Jessica Rabbit costume for some lucky, crafty individual. While we're on the topic of perfect worlds, I confess that if I could wear whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, I would always -- ALWAYS -- wear sequins. And glitter eye shadow. And maybe even glitter lipstick. Because I am a fabulous rainbow unicorn.
I saw this creepy, androgynous woman-child face peering at me from almost ground-level and it seriously freaked me out for a second. This poor doll needs a makeover.
What have you found in a thrift store lately?