A highly requested topic for sure. To start, I’d like to say that I hope I don’t offend anyone with my rough synopsis. To clarify even further, my synopsis is merely a thoughtful opinion from all of my years thrifting. I should also mention that this post pertains to thrift stores themselves, brick and mortar locations. Not garage sales, not pop-up shops, or even consignment shops, just regular, American, thrift stores.
The answer, in short, is on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Why you may ask? Old people. Here’s why:
The baby boomers are aging, the baby boomers are now, the old people. They’re now into their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s+ and up. This is a very powerful and large demographic. After World War II, folks came home, started families, bought houses, bought STUFF, the suburbs were spawned. That mentality of consume and move on may have started in the ‘burbs, but it spread to most of America pretty fast. It lasted for the next 55 years. The baby boomer generation was a bit savvier than mine. You see, they were the kids of dust bowl/depression era parents. Those parents didn’t waste anything. They stretched dollars. They saved jars, and jars of rubber bands, etc. They got by. These were honest and true Americans. Ingenuity and resourcefulness to be proud of for sure. To think their parents’ actions, habits and teachings didn’t sink into their children’s fibers is foolish. They most certainly did. Our baby boomers are the O.G. thrifters. It just wasn’t as convenient for them. Until around the 1960’s thrift stores as we know them didn’t exist. Because American consumers didn’t waste, buy, and cough back up enough surplus to have needed them until after WWII.
Present day, the baby boomers are retired and they’re out and about. The middle of the week is easy navigating for them. Thrift stores, among a slough of other businesses are usually fairly slow on those days as well. So the stores put deals and mark-downs on those days to attract thrifty customers. Orange tags! Green tags! Blue tags! Store wide specials! Me and the old folks, that’s when we hit ’em up.
Next time you have a Tuesday or Wednesday off, stop by a thrift shop. Look around and see all of the old people. Think “that Justin guy was right” and then smile. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had quick conversations with some of my elders. Hearing great stories about items, dead brands, old tools, objects that I had no idea what they were used for. Some elderly people have seen the quizzical look on my face as I inspected something and walked over and told me about the item. How cool is that?
To my generation: Rest assured that the older folks probably are not hunting for the same stuff you are. That 1993 Weezer “Blue Album” t-shirt or mid-century Dutch designed end table is safe for your pickin.