A tisket, a tasket, should you grab a basket?

[Orange Baskets by ~db~]

I regularly read wisdom from The Thrifty Chicks, another blog advocating for thrifting culture. Over the past couple of weeks they’ve published a series that amounts to a thrifting instruction manual. Lots of good advice there, and it’s always interesting to see how other people approach thrifting. I thought this bit interesting, from Thrift Store Tips #3:

  1. Upon entering the store, always grab that shopping cart; 80% of the time, I end up with at least four items that total under $10.
  2. Do not worry if the cart if empty upon leaving the store. Keep a regular thrift shopping routine and the cart will overflow during different visits.

I almost never get a shopping cart or basket when I walk in the store. Though my thrifting trips have been yielding an awful lot of bargain fruit lately, I often saunter around the shop and leave empty handed. Like keeping a list, not carrying a basket means that I have to think about a purchase just a little more: Is this board game or bag of ribbon or casserole dish really worth my walking back to the line of carts at the front of the store? Once I have the cart I feel as though I’m not quite as choosy about what I buy. (Not surprisingly, my favorite purchase of the day is usually the first thing I pick up.) 

Brian read the first part of this post over my shoulder, and it turns out he thrifts the same way, but not entirely for the same reasons. For me, not getting a cart is putting up a little psychological roadblock. It’s an attempt to be more intentional about the crap (the lovely, unique, beautiful crap) I bring into my life. For Brian, using a cart or not using a cart is about what he happens to be doing. “When you pick something up, you switch from browsing to shopping,” he says. “So at that point, you might as well pick up a cart.”

Kali mentioned another reason to eschew a cart: Some people believe they have better luck starting without one, as though picking up a basket or cart is too presumptuous; it sets you up for failure. By this reasoning, starting without a cart (with low expectations) almost ensures a bargain bonanza. A sort of new-agey Murphy’s Law, I guess. 

Is this all crazy? And what about you–cart or no cart?


Filed under Elsewhere, Emily

5 responses to “A tisket, a tasket, should you grab a basket?

  1. no cart! ever!
    if i can’t carry my treasures, i’m buying too much.

  2. Emily Christensen

    I wish I could practice that much self restraint! Lately I’ve ended up getting a cart a majority of the time.

  3. Good post, “To cart or not to cart?” I still vote cart and, thanks to this post will edit my living list. I think it wise to have a cart because if you see something that interests you and you’re on the fence about it, toss it in the cart because in thrift culture, this is like putting dibs on it.

    At the end of my thrifting adventure, I always scan the cart. That’s when I decide what’s worth my dollar and what’s not. If I don’t want it or need it, it goes back to the shelf for another to take.

    Things fly off the shelves at thrift stores and by the time you come back with a cart to grab something it just might be gone. Ouch!

    Godspeed Thrifted Sisters!

  4. Emily Christensen

    Hi Ms. Golightly! I do think starting with a cart makes perfect sense–probably more than my approach does. 🙂 At first it seemed silly to write a whole post about carts, but when I started talking to people I couldn’t believe how many of them had strong views on the subject! Thrifters are a passionate breed.

  5. no cart! the score feels even better when i’m struggling to balance an armload of dresses, shoes, and bags up to the register.

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