The thrill of the hunt Prowling the aisles of the thrift shop

The thrill of the hunt Prowling the aisles of the thrift shop

Long a fan of thrift shopping, I can trace my own introduction to the art back to my college days. That’s when my roommates and I discovered the sprawling Goodwill store in downtown Akron.

Its convenient proximity to our off-campus rat hole meant the difference between sitting awkwardly on a splintery pine plank suspended between two milk crates all semester or instead lounging comfortably on a gently used sofa that had been bumped from the den of some wealthy suburbanite in the name of latest decorating trend. Furniture, in time, led to fashion, and soon my buddies and I were prowling the campus bars in preworn ensembles gleaned from yuppie cast-offs — a slightly scuffed pair of boat shoes here, a broken-zippered “Members Only” jacket there.

My favorite get-up in those days was anchored by a pair of parachute pants that had ended up in the collection bin after a substantial hole had opened up in the right front pocket. Other than being careful not to stick either my ID or my meager pittance in the bottomless pocket, those pants were totally rad.

When Kristin and I met for the first time, we were both substantially clad in preworn attire. Much of it was thrifted, of course, but as a woman Kristin also may have been enjoying the female-only benefit of sharing clothing with roommates — a time-honored tradition free of taboo. Dudes didn’t roll like that. A guy would simply never ask his roomy to borrow his jeans. Stated in the straight-forward language of the 1980s, that would have been considered “grody to the max.”

Adding an even greater barrier to the very idea of sharing clothing, my roommate and I were nearly a full foot apart in height. My pants would’ve stopped just short of Muss’ knees, and his pants would have fit me like a pair of chest waders. (The get-up might have worked at Halloween, but aside from that … )

Time would reveal my new gal was more enamored of “the thrill of the hunt” that defines thrift shopping than even I. It was one of the many ways in which we bonded early on. (Oh, the magic of tuition-inspired poverty — so many dreams and so little cash.)

It only stands to reason that what served us well as college kids would continue to work for us throughout “grown-up life” as well. Kristin and I still make a stop nearly every Saturday at one thrift shop or another — not always with a particular goal in mind, but always with an eye for a bargain.

Kristin’s present passion is assembling what is quickly threatening to become the world’s largest collection of toddler-sized construction equipment. I’ve tried to dissuade her from many such purchases, but she reminds me if James has a full set of toys both at home in Kentucky and here at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, his parents won’t need to pack so much when they visit. This makes a lot of sense to me.

What makes even more sense, however, was my recent “find of the century:” a like-new, fully equipped toddler’s potty chair — complete with a silver handle that makes flushing sounds. You’d have thought the two of us had just found a Van Gogh hidden behind a paint-by-number unicorn. The thrill of the hunt will never grow old.

Kristin and John Lorson would love to hear from you. Write Drawing Laughter, P.O. Box 170, Fredericksburg, OH 44627, or email John at

Bluefoot Banner