Fighting is a strong word, but when you’re out for the
kill perfect thrifted piece some people are willing to hit well below the belt.
Today I’ll explain the serious thrift shopper fighting techniques I’ve learned through personal experience.
You will see that thrift store shopping is a serious business.
Get your fighting gloves on.
6 Serious Thrift Shopper Fighting Techniques
1. The Snatch & Grab
This happens when you are looking through a double rack of clothing and the person on the other side of the rack pokes their arm through and snatches something from your side just as you are about to take it. Not cool, lady that did this to me at the last 50% off Salvation Army sale. I wasn’t going to argue with her about it though since she stood about three inches above me and weighed about seventy pounds more. You can see a reenactment of this technique in the little funny video Melanie, Sue and I created.
2. The Fitting Room Hover
These are the people loitering by the change rooms in hopes that something sweet is going to be discarded. Not a real nuisance, but it can make navigating the fitting room area a challenge. These people are not to be confused with the fitting room butt-in person who is just damn annoying. Get to the back of the line and wait like the rest of us!
3. The Push & Stand
While I’m trying to go through the racks of clothing in an organized polite manner someone on either side of me is pushing all of the clothing towards me so they can see the items better as the racks are usually jammed with clothing, which of course makes it impossible for me to see anything. They don’t move. They just stand and push. There needs to be some kind of thrifting etiquette established so we are all moving in the same direction, the operative word being, “moving” and not pushing.
4. The Hanger Elbow
This happens normally on sale days when the place is super crowded and there aren’t enough carts. People wind up walking around with loads of clothes in their arms with the hangers sticking out in every direction to stab or “hook” you as you walk by or get too close. One woman kept jabbing me with her hangers while she was trying to do the Push & Stand. I finally had to say something.
5. Possession Is
Nine Tenths of the Law Everything
Possession in thrifting is everything. If it isn’t in your arms, cart or basket it is fair game. Don’t make the rookie mistake I did thinking, “My arms are too tired, I’ll pick it up in a second.” Meanwhile the woman pushing her cart beside me picked it up in a nanosecond and popped it in her cart. You snooze, you lose baby.
6. Cart Wars
On certain sale days it is impossible to get a cart. Sometimes you have to leave your name at the door on a waiting list. I have a love/hate relationship with carts and thrift store shopping. When the store isn’t busy they are a blessing, saving my arms. When the store is busy they are a huge hindernace for quick movement within the store. Also, people get ram-happy with their carts. I often “park” my cart at the end of the aisle so I can move freely. Beware though, I have seen people snatch items out of other people’s carts before. (And you thought Canadians were polite!) Try to keep an eye on your cart at all times.
These thrift store fighting moves are most often utilized on sale days when the stores are extra busy and the atmosphere is competitive.
Most often the people I come across while thrifting are friendly and polite.
Estate sales…now that is a whole other story!
I wrote a bit about a bad experience we had here. They are fierce, exciting and extremely competitive.
The last estate sale I was at I picked up some seriously amazing handmade vintage dresses.
At this sale there was another buyer there using a common estate sale fighting move, The Stand and Block. This happens when you can see something you want and there is a person blocking you from getting it. This same vintage collector has used this technique against me in the past. She headed straight up the stairs and then proceeded to stand in front of the only closet blocking anyone else from viewing. She is a bigger woman and used this strategy on me before with her two kids and husband. I have no idea what she scooped up before I was finally able to see inside the closet.
Here are four of the dresses I managed to acquire at that sale despite the Stand and Block…
1960’s Handmade Floral Patterned Dress For Sale Size S-M
1950’s Handmade Gold Yellow Patterned Dress For Sale
1940’s Handmade Blue Velvet Vintage Wedding Gown For Sale Size XS or S
These dresses demonstrate beautifully the reason I love shopping thrift or estate sales despite the challenges.
You never know what you will discover.
Do you have any additional thrift shopping fighting moves to share?