It’s Getting Thrifty In Here

I love a good deal. That’s not quite right. Let me start over. Getting a good deal validates a crucial part of how I understand myself and in turn demonstrates my mastery of stuff and domination of late stage capitalism. Allow me to thriftsplain.

I’ve been thrifting most of my belongings over the last year. I am typing this on an absolutely ridiculous contraption of my own making. See attached. 

It’s a an old iPad Bluetooth keyboard with a Velcroed eyeglass case stand. The case is foldable so it packs flat and as a bonus can contain the charging cable for the keyboard. Why you ask? 

My laptop is from 2009. It’s been upgraded within an inch of its life. Maxed the RAM and replaced the HDD with a SSD. And to the old girl’s credit, she runs well. The problem is websites literally won’t run on a computer that old. It’s literally the only computer I’ve purchased in my adult life. And it still works well for when I’m dubbing FLAC files to new old stock Type II cassettes. That last bit of jargon was unnecessary, but I get a kick out of it.

Should I buy a new computer? Yes. Could it be an iPad? Yes. Can I afford it? Absolutely. Will I? Magic 8-Ball says: Outlook unlikely. Why? Why am I typing on a cramped DIY jank-fest from 2015 I found at the Value Village for $9.99 on a half off pink tag day?

This is our concern, Dude. 

Buying stuff is fucking lame. Computers are expensive and lifeless. You walk into a Best Buy or some other garbage place, throw your debt rectangle on the counter and pay it off with interest over the next 24 months. It’s just the same hunk of wire and unimpressive battery everyone else gets. Even if it’s good, the goodness is undermined by the horror of paying :::shudders::: retail price.  

You saw the thing. You bought the thing. You never really bond with it. It’s just a a sharpened Visa card jabbed in your side for 19% interest. You picked it off the shelf and now it’s on your shelf. 

Something thrifted is something unearthed. Sure you’re sifting through other people’s garbage, but then again so is dating. But there’s some twisted brain chemical nonsense that makes thrifting like mainlining dopamine for maniacs like me.

First, it’s a goddamn treasure hunt. You can go into a thrift store with a vague idea of what you’d like to find, but you don’t go in with a grocery list. You have to give yourself over to the thrift gods. You must be their disciple. Feast or famine. You accept the hand you are dealt. You may venture into the brutal desert many times and return to your family with an empty canteen, but when you unearth a gem from the pile of Hep C trash, you are a Slurpee on a 100 degree day. The Poseidon of the Savers smiles down upon you and showers you with his praise. Your patience and resilience is rewarded.  

Your thrift purchase is bonded to you. It’s the material version of rescuing an animal. The universe chose you to pair bond with this particular blender. It belongs to you and you to it. Every time I make toast in my Breville toaster oven, it tastes toastier knowing I paid $9.99 for it.    

Second, a good thrift find reifies, cements, and triple underlines one’s impeccably discerning taste. A gem cannot be unearthed but by a Goodwill geologist. The savvy human gold pan clears away the debris and sediment to reveal the sparkling nugget buried within. It takes a special breed to Moneyball the unknown pleasures of thrift life. 

Lastly, there is no greater feeling on Earth than having someone compliment you on your astute acquisition and beaming with the pride of an honor student parent: “Oh this? I paid $5 for it.” The ROI is off the charts. Having great stuff is fine. But having good stuff you got hella cheap is low grade heroin. My life is a 40 year bargain bender screaming from the rooftops: I’m better than you. Stronger. Hardened by the streets. Molded by the jungle. I have the retail 1000 yard stare. 

I am The Good Value Salvation Army. I took the hill. Stormed the beach. And these are my spoils.



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