A Post Where I Get Irrationally Angry at the Goodwill
I have a special place in my heart for the Goodwill (and other everyday thrift stores). We go way back, starting in high school when I would wander through the Jersey malls, bewilderedly thinking Really? This is how I’m supposed to dress? And I’d say I have probably purchased 98% of all my costume needs for the past ten years here. Living in SF that is no small feat, since there ain’t no party like a costume party.
I went in today with a specific Halloween costume in mind, but with no unrealistic hopes. The thrift store is much like the magic genie who grants you wishes but with a cruel twist unless you word it just right. Here’s exactly the sequined space outfit you dreamed of. Tsk, tsk, but you didn’t say you wanted it in your size. Toddler’s size 2 it is. I figured I would also browse and see if anything jumped out and screamed, “I’m the makings of the Halloween costume that you didn’t know you were looking for. I say: Hey, look! I’m an attractive (sexy but self-respecting), creative gal. Don’t you want to make out with me and then send me sweet texts and buy me a beer and a sandwich and then we fall in love?” Or at the very least, “Hey, if you wear this, you won’t break any mirrors. A-ok. Way to try.” And what do I find wasting almost a whole rack of clothes–a whole rack when you know they have a huge giant warehouse full of unseen clothes that contains Just The Thing I’m Looking For. Miles (slight exaggeration, there were probably 500. Er, at least 50) graduation and choir robes. Seriously? I bet they are just flying off the shelves. Every single thrift store I’ve been in has an abundance of these fuckers. AND THAT’S BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS THEM.
At first I berated myself for not using my imagination to appreciate the availability of this cheap potential costume. These are the ideas I came up that you could use them for (I know it will be hard, but try not to fall asleep when you read this part): Someone who graduated–how clever! (Everyone hates wearing them when they graduate, why sign up for it again when you could be ANYTHING else?) Someone in a choir! A nun from Sister Act! A judge! Clarence Thomas complete with Coke can! Oh ho ho! A wizard! A wizard named.. wait for it: Harry Potter! So yeah.
The one costume I can think of that’s mildly interesting was from that scene in Princess Bride where they put Andre the Giant in a black robe, stick him in a wheelbarrow and light him on fire. I know some say I’m too much of a realist but this doesn’t come off as too practical to me. For one, it involves more than one person and you know it’s hard enough to keep track of your friends with all those tequila-drunk sexy bees about, much less have a costume that relies on someone to push you around. A costume that involves fire, though, does make for a very bold statement.
I’d like to see some sort of Goodwill sales data that justifies the rationalization of their need for carrying so many of these robes, these yards and yards of fabric with a unpleasant texture that makes me cringe just to think about touching. I’m going to go out on a limb and say maybe three are bought in a year. And that might be generous. (While we are looking at Goodwill data, for the record, I would not like to see the numbers on how many people contract scabies from their clothes, because I prefer to live in a happy naive bubble.)
So Goodwill, let it be known I’m rather fond of you but I’m frustrated with your plethora of tablecloth-like tents. Can you please make a rule limiting each store to ten graduation and/or choir robes? Society will survive. And think of all the room there will be for ill-fitting Daria blazers, Angela Chase flannels and vintage house coats only lightly stained with dribbled food! Please and thank you.
(And if you can think of a clever costume using them, buy out your local Goodwill before posting here. You’ll be raking in the dough! Disclaimer: I get 15%.)