What Are the Best Days To Shop At Thrift Stores?

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.

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17 responses to “What Are the Best Days To Shop At Thrift Stores?

  1. Pingback: What Are the Best Days To Shop At Thrift Stores? | ^^^ THINGS I … | Welcome2Green

  2. Loved this post today.
    Some of my favorite people are those I have made friends with that frequent the thrift stores I go to. They are old, wise, and fun.
    One of my new friends seems to be shopping in the Salvation Army thrift store every time I am. I always greet her with a cheek to cheek hug /air kiss. She is the typical South Georgia polite older lady and everything I purchase to her is “GORGEOUS’’. On the last chance meeting she had her teeth in and I did not recognize her. You are correct they are not looking for what we are. Yesterday I bought my husband a Classic Men’s Pendleton Houndstooth Plaid Wool Work Shirt never worn and a red Bloomingdale’s” scarf. I’m pretty sure she had a yellow ceramic swan and swag made of magnolias. Hope I see her today, I’m thinking I probably will :).

  3. I would have to agree…my problem is…our Goodwill’s around here give Senior discounts on TUESDAYS. I don’t benefit from any discount that day, unless I drag my mom with me. 🙂
    (and the stores are PACKED…it’s like Friday night at the mall…although I’d much rather hang with the seniors than the tweens.)

  4. Love this post! I’m one of those Seniors and yes I love my thrift stores. I am not looking for the same things you are! Although for me dishes from the 50’s makes my heart beat faster (is that a dangerous thing at 60?). I do go on the Sr Discount days…whoo hoo! There has to be some benefits to getting older.

  5. Great post. I seem to do my best thrifting on Tuesdays, which coincidentally is always my day off from the day job. And there usually are a lot of older folks parading around. One day in a Salvation Army, this petite older woman was trying on sweaters in the aisle because there was no fitting room. She politely asked for my opinion. We stood there for fifteen minutes sifting through discount sweaters and modeling them. It was hilarious.

  6. Those of us in our 50s are “old people?” Yikes!

    (fun blog, BTW)

  7. Fifty something is old? Your perspective on age is a little out of wack. And I’m sorry to say many of us are looking for and buying the same things you are. Mid-century modern is always on my list. I think your assumptions about “old” people are a bit condescending.

  8. I don’t know… when I take my rambunctious preschooler thrifting on days there are discounts, I am usually almost trampled by older folks who have brought their rambunctious grandchildren to grab some bargains… and we all wind up getting squashed in the kids clothing department. Weekdays are good for me when there aren’t any sales or discounts.

  9. GREAT post Justin! I really like your angle on this piece….I feel the same about shopping with someone who can give me some history on a piece AND I think you are right on the mark with sales being on those days….most sales definitely hit on those days down here in Florida….where there are (as everyone knows) a lot of “old people”…

    At forty-three, I call anyone a minute or more older than me “old”…:)

    Good thrifting to you up there!

  10. Tee hee, I’m 40 and hope I don’t fit into your ‘old’ category! I hadn’t ever really thought about the best time of the week to thrift shop, since I do it so incessantly! But I know what I avoid: Saturdays and 50 percent off days, when mayhem reigns. A good dig mid-week usually works as items donated on the weekend have hit the floor by then. If a thrift store is open late until 9pm (like Value Village in Canada), I’ll sometimes pop by after work if I have enough steam as no one is there and you can bag the good deals in relative peace!

  11. Justin – the baby boom refers to the high birth rate years of 1946 through 1964. I was born in 1946. I will be 64 in December. We are not in our 70’s and 80’s. I lived through the horrible mid century modern phase and felt sorry for the people that bought that stuff and didn’t have better taste. I also remember most of the stuff from the 1930’s and 1940’s that were still hanging around the houses then. So, you are right, anyone older won’t want to buy what you are interested in. My thrift shop in Colorado is on facebook and has specials on Tuesday. It is in a resort area, so some of the prices are high. They never have coupons. But I can get a Pendleton men’s wool shirt for $15, and new parkas for $35. My best buy was two George Jensen sterling silver forks for $.10 each. That will never happen again.

  12. Not all of these thrift store elderly folk are benevolent and friendly. Oh no. I’ve wanted to drop kick some of these broads for getting snooty and grouchy. I’ll resist and spare all the specific interactions…

    From what I can tell by sneaking to thrift stores on my lunch break, here in North Florida it’s a mix of ages on Tuesday and Wednesdays. But that’s lunch hour, on a part of down that’s always busy.

  13. There are so many folks here in Seattle that go every single day. Seems like it’s an early bird gets the worm.

  14. Great post! I am just short of that “tuesday discount for seniors” at Goodwill, so what I do is go on Monday afternoons….the employees are busy getting the store filled with stuff for all the old baby boomers ( I laugh….I am one soon…smiles) So go the afternoon before any advertised discount or sale….Keep up the good work Justin!

  15. Enjoyed your post. I try to go thrifting any day I’m off from my day job. I love it! Just one thing about your post, ‘Baby Boomers’ were born post WWII. from 1946 to around 1964. The first round of Boomers are hitting medicare age, 65, this year 2011.

  16. Enjoyed this post as I am a big time bargain hunter. Today is tuesday so I am going to give it a try. Seems like wednesday might be the better day since most good things would be gone by the weekend and it would give more time for shops to restock?

  17. Ingrid Rosen Burnside

    In Justin’s defense, I think it is regional. Down here in da south that is probably true about the senior days! And those seniors could sure teach us condescending youngsters a lot of life lessons!

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