My husband loves the thrift store. I am not sure whether this is because he grew up without a lot of money, or because he now works as a salesman and loves the idea of making an advantageous trade. All I know is that he haunts the thrift store. He has ascertained that they put out new merchandise on Tuesday, and Thursday is two for one day. Several times he has almost bought pants there, then realized that they were his own pants that he gave away to the thrift store last year.
Lucky for him, we live not far from Unclaimed Baggage, which is even better than the thrift store (if you are into this sort of thing). This store buys lost luggage from the airlines and sells the suitcases and everything in them. It is a gold mine for the thrift store lover, and you are much less likely to buy your own pants. Many a time my husband has called me from Unclaimed Baggage to ask my advice on buying a table, or a bomber jacket, or clothes for our child. I always say
because I do not love the thrift store. The economy is bad and we need to tighten our belts like everybody else, but I am just sorry. I draw the line at the thrift store. You have no idea what the previous owner has done in, to, or with that stuff. It could be sprinkled with anthrax. It could be laced with marijuana residue, and the drug dogs will hunt you down. You know what you will say to the police? "But these are not my pants! There was a previous owner of these pants!" And you will sound like every other criminal on COPS.
I think a lot of my fear stems from a Nancy Drew book--not part of the newfangled series, but the original series that remains in your library only because the librarian is nostalgic about these books since she read them when she was a tween herself, back in 1805 or so. You know, the series in which Nancy has titian hair (whatever that is) and drives a sedan and wears smart outfits, and her father Carson Drew wears trousers, and her friend George (a girl with a boy's name--edgy!!!) has cropped hair and a boyish figure, and her friend Bess is pleasingly plump.
I want to say the book in question is The Spider Sapphire Mystery. Nancy and her boyfriend Ned (and probably George, Bess, Burt, and Dave, maybe even the motherly housekeeper Hannah--I don't know) take an overseas flight. They leave their suitcases unattended for a moment (DON'T DO IT NANCY AND NED YOU FOOLS) and when they pick the suitcases up again, their hands itch and burn! Is it psoriasis? Is it anthrax? NO IT'S ACID! While they had their backs turned, THE VILLAIN PAINTED THEIR SUITCASE HANDLES WITH ACID!!!!!!!!
You can see why a have a particular problem with Unclaimed Baggage.
In light of all this, imagine my dismay when I came home yesterday and found the following:
Me: Oh God, you've been to the thrift store again.
Husband: Who, me?
Me: How much did you pay for this?
Husband: Thirty dollars.
(I can tell he is lying. His trips to the thrift store are a veritable web of deceit.)
Me: It's ripped.
Husband: It's supposed to be that way, because it's a recliner.
Me: Recliners are not supposed to be ripped.
Husband: Okay, maybe I ripped it trying to get it up the stairs. It wasn't ripped when I bought it.
Me: Was it white originally?
Husband: No, it's supposed to be brown.
Me: Then why is it lighter brown on the top than it is on the bottom?
Husband: It isn't. I cleaned it.
Me: It smells.
Husband: That's the cleaner.
Me: (A) What I smell does not smell like cleaner and (B) YOU SHOULD NEVER BUY FURNITURE THAT NEEDS TO BE CLEANED!!!
Husband: Help me get it upstairs.
If I am lucky, this chair will soon be for sale again at our local thrift store. If I am unlucky, it will find a home in our den, where it will grace the atmosphere with its peculiar odor. Who needs Glade? And if I am very unlucky, my whole family is about to be hospitalized for anthrax. Or acid.