ISSUE 119

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​  Are you poor or so cheap you live an existence so similar to poverty there’s really no difference? Do you like participating in fashions from twenty years ago? How about shopping under fluorescent lights that are so bright there’s a good chance they’re giving you cancer? Thrift stores are the place for you.
 But not every purchase at thrift store is a good purchase. In fact, most purchases are probably a mistake. To avoid this, take a moment and read this guide.
 A good look-over. Take time to notice anything unordinary about the clothing. Give it the same look you give a first date. Are there stains? Where, what, and your best guess at how these stains got there? Are they on the crotch? What if you crossed your legs a lot? Is it made for the human equivalent of a whale? Is it pink? How do you feel about pink? How about that pink?
 Sometimes an item will be broken, but fixable. Consider the time, money, and willpower required and compare that to how likely it’s going to stay broken.  
 Thrift store tip! Sewing a button is much easier if someone else does it for you.  
 Sniff test. This is your secondary warning mechanism to protect you against the wrong purchase. Replace the item immediately if any of the following apply: wet dog, musk, mildew, shit, feet, dead old man. This test is mandatory for footwear, socks, and underwear—if you’re the type of person to buy underwear from a thrift store.
 Price. Item prices are adjusted because they are in a thrift store, the amount you are willing to spend is adjusted because you are in a thrift store, and there’s a good chance many thrift store employees were adjusted by aliens.
 Ten dollars is too much for a t-shirt. Twenty dollars is too much for jeans. Twenty-five dollars is too much for a jacket. Fifty-dollar items are for people who shop at other stores, not for a customer base that routinely pawns watches and hoards stale bread.     
 Changing room. If the item passes the previous two tests, you are ready to try it on. Make sure the previous assessments have been completed to your satisfaction, as this item will now come in contact with your body as will any skin diseases, insects, or dead creatures that may be in the clothing.
​ Ask an employee to open the changing room door and to root out any homeless people who have fallen asleep there. Ensure the environment is safe by checking for needles and loose emotional support animals.
 Thrift store tip! Stand on your shoes while you change. You have no idea what’s on the carpet in a thrift store changing room, but it’s likely bad.
 Now comes a time to ask yourself what exactly constitutes a “good fit.” If your shirt ends at your kneecaps, the shirt is too large. If your pants are cutting off circulation to your feet, they are too tight. If the sweatshirt is from a church group retreat, it probably isn’t as cool as you think it is.
 Reevaluating your need. When an item passes the former tests, dither for twenty minutes as to whether this item should join your wardrobe. Consider how many empty hangers you have, how many cat shirts it takes to make a “cat person,” if leather is supposed to smell this way, and if you could walk down a street without immediately being associated with a social trend from the 90s.
 While you decide, wander the exercise machine castoffs, peruse popular diet books that cut out whole branches of food, and reflect on a framed photo of a black baby playing the saxophone. At one time, someone made a conscious choice to purchase each and every one of these items.
 Purchase the item. Often there will be a fifty-percent-off sale going on, which means you saved two whole dollars. 
 Always ask for a bag and wash and dry the item immediately.
 Thrift store tip! Bedbugs and their eggs can only be killed by a forty-minute, high-heat cycle in the dryer. Seriously.
   
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