Thrift Shopping Tips

My first experience on thrifting took place about a couple of months ago, and it was more of a realization so to speak. I complemented a jacket a friend of mine had on, and she was quick to mention that she had gotten it from a thrift store. I was lost on the concept and she explained it to me. The most interesting thing that caught my attention was how inexpensive this beautiful jacket was, and she even still bargained to get it for a lower price. If this oversized denim jacket was at a fancy store in the mall, I’m certain that it wouldn’t cost anything less than N15,000 and that’s for the basic brands. Whereas, my friend bought hers for N3,000. All the while she was talking, “quality and cheap” was just on a loop in my head.

I’m very traditional in the sense that I like to shop at stores that are brands, that have tags, labels and all that so I know I have some sort of insurance. There are times where you buy an outfit and after trying it on at the store it looks good. Then you go home and try on the same outfit and all of a sudden you look like a potato. Normally, you can return it, but that wouldn’t be the case in a thrift store.

Concerning thrift stores, forget everything you consider to be the orthodox way of shopping because in reality, it’s the complete opposite. I’m going to be sharing some tips on how to thrift shop like a pro.

Have a budget – 

I cannot emphasize this enough. It is very easy to fall into the pool of inexpensiveness. In the end, you buy things you never really bargained for just because it was inexpensive. I’ve been a victim of this before, but not in a thrift store. It’s like once I hear student discount all I see from then on is a bright light. For me, a thrift store is a store of just bright lights, one needs to have a lot of self control.

Take cash with you – 

Most thrift stores do not accept credit/debit cards or may require a minimum amount for purchase to pay by card. So it’s better you have money on you to pay with. You may not find the item you wanted to purchase earlier if you have to come back, and  most thrift stores don’t usually have multiples of a particular item.

Check the item thoroughly – 

It’s very easy to get excited amidst the shopping frenzy, I get it. But it’s also important to check the items before purchasing them because like I mentioned earlier most thrift shops, if not all, don’t accept returns.

Get friendly with the staff –

This should be a general rule really, not just for thrift stores. Maybe getting “friendly” might be taking it a bit far for some people, but being nice and polite would suffice. I work part time at a store as a customer service assistant. I can tell when a customer is just being unnecessarily rude. I would definitely not recommend sales, or a two for one deal to such a customer, because I believe such a person doesn’t deserve it.

In a situation where you’re friends with the staff, and you’re a regular, they can update you on upcoming sales, when new merchandise is arriving, or can even keep an item they think you might like.

Dress comfortably –

Most thrift stores don’t have changing rooms so all you’re left with is the shop floor. My advise would be to wear skin tight clothes like leggings and a tank top so you can just try the clothes on your clothes.

Learn to give –

Most thrift stores couple as charity collection points. Just get a box and gather items you were planning to dispose off and donate it to the store. It helps get rid of items you don’t want anymore and most store managers would give out coupons or slash some prices when you shop. It’s a win-win situation.

If you think I’ve left any important point out, please do let me know in the comment box.

Until next time, kwaheri x


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