Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thrift in Seattle and in Plainfield

My daughter the thrift store maven just sent me a link to an extraordinary event in Seatlle.

Unfortunately, it is this coming weekend and the cost of flying out might eclipse all the savings. But it is a great example of both Northwest values (in two senses of the word) and of how to showcase a non-profit.

Click here to learn more.

My daughter also shops at Value Village and scored a bunch of items at a sale there on Tuesday.

Here in Plainfield, we have lost two former assets for thrift sale devotees. The Nearly New shop, which benefited Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center, closed down when the hospital did. Even before that, the Salvation Army store on Watchung Avenue moved to Green Brook.

The Second Time Around consignment shop is still on Somerset Street in North Plainfield. Does anyone know of other good, local thrift shops?

One problem with donations to resellers in Plainfield has been raids on the collection boxes. While getting clothes free is the ultimate in thrift, those who steal from the boxes are also stealing from the non-profits that rely on the donations as a revenue stream. And then the thieves often dump what they don't want, leaving a mess for someone else to clean up.

Speaking of thieves, somebody has been stealing newspapers from our porch lately. My neighbor and I have considered dropping our subscriptions because every few days the newspapers are missing. We suspect somebody is re-selling them to make money, or homeless people are using the papers as insulation in their clothes. Or worst of all, someone in or near our building is just taking the paper.

The poor driver is getting a bad record through no fault of his own. Maybe that is why my doorbell rang at 4:58 a.m. today and I went downstairs to see a paper stuck in the mailbox. I decided to put a decoy paper on the porch for the thief and then saw the driver had left two back-up papers as well.

All of us - the driver, my neighbor and myself - are very frustrated with this situation. The driver is getting messages about missed stops, a back-up driver has to bring a new paper and my neighbor and I are annoyed that people feel entitled to rip off even a newspaper from somebody's porch.

During the Great Depression, desperate people used to steal garments off clotheslines and pies off windowsills where they had been set to cool. We seem to be headed once again to a greater divide between "haves" and "have-nots." With fewer places here to practice thrift, will more needy people revert to outright theft?

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a thrift shop with mostly clothing in downtown Scotch Plains. It is located at the corner of Park & E. Second St and is on the bus route (#59?). It has been there for a long time so it must be doing something right. Also, there is the Scotch Plains/Fanwood Thrift Store located on E. Second St at about Willow Ave. which has mostly clothes but other things as well. All proceeds go to various charities. Finally, up Second Street a block closer to the downtown there is the Best Friends Thrift Store. They have mostly bric a brac, but some clothes. Their proceeds go to pet rescue.

Pat Ballard Fox

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sad thing about the stolen papers is that the driver is charged by the newspaper for every missing paper. Considering the driver makes 7 to 9 cents per delivery, that charge wipes out his earnings. There is no dispute process, even when the customer knows the paper has been stolen time and time again. So it becomes a conundrum on whether to call and complain.

7:07 PM  

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