Slideshow Widget

The Price of Dignity

Saturday, February 27, 2010


It was the Christmas of 1968 and Mandy was in college in Kirksville Missouri, expecting for first child, a girl. Her and her husband, Bob lived in a tiny apartment and had about $20 for a Christmas tree, decorations and presents that year. While out shopping, Mandy fell in love with a some tiny bird ornaments. The shop only had about 4 cellophane bags with 3 birds per bag. The tag on the bag was the right price for her pocket-$1 so she snatched them up. At the checkout, the cashier was a snotty old broad. She took one look at the thrifty college girl and said "You do realize that the price is per bird don't you?" but Mandy rolled her eyes, looked down her nose in the same manner as the bitchy cashier and said in her most confident tone "Oh, absolutely! Ring them up!" and she bought them all. When she left the store, she looked at her husband and said "Oh, god- you won't believe what just happened!" Of course, she actually thought the the price was per bag! The young college couple went home with decorations but no tree. Bob was a painter, so they pulled out his old wooden easel and decorated it with the little birds, some of which had little walnut nests that Mandy had made. With the small amount of money they had left, Mandy and Bob bought a little brownie camera to take pictures of the baby, who was born in February. To this day, she says that woman probably over-charged her just to be mean but she couldn't let snobbery get the best of her, no matter what the price was. So, while I help my grandma find places on the tree for the delicate little birds for Christmas, she always tells me about how she spent all of the money they had on those little things but that mean old woman didn't have the satisfaction of insulting her financial situation! I've found myself in that position on several occasions, especially while thrifting. Often times, items aren't marked or the cashier says that it was mis-shelved but I never let snobbery get the best of me either and I always remember my grandma. I bought this awesome trench coat from Goodwill yesterday for $20. In a store, I would have paid $20 but it was way too much for Goodwill but when they guy said "Did you see that this is marked "19.99" I said "yes, that's awesome!" It's like a genetic reflex, I guess!






On a side note, I am shocked by Goodwill's new high prices. I've seen stained shirts for $8, ratty old shoes for $12, moth eaten sweaters for $6 and so on. I remember shopping at Goodwill just months ago and being able to buy shoes for $3! You can buy brand new items for the prices that they charge! Low-income families all over the country depend on affordable Goodwill prices to clothe their families. While the "new poor" think they're getting deals because they're used to shopping at Macy's, us thrift store shoppers know that the price -isn't- right! Has anyone else noticed an increase in prices and decrease in quality or is it just me?
Jacket-Goodwill
Atomic print blouse-thrifted
Skirt-thrifted
Shoes-Charlotte Russe

8 Responses to “The Price of Dignity”

  1. Oh my, yes darling!
    I have noticed... Thank you for bringing this to the front burner.... I was beging to think it was me!!! Love your blog, mind if I follow.

    thelookingglassvintage.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. YES! I hate to shop there sometimes because of the ridiculously high prices!

    The outfit is darling! I especially love the fuchsia hat!

    ReplyDelete
  3. oh my god, i so hear you. the cancer society is the worst, in my experience. they tried to charge TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS for an old faded black dress from the avenue. i think it cost 25 dollars when it was brand new. weirdly they only charged eleven dollars for a fur collar 40's cashmere coat. great story about your grandmother!
    and you look fantastic! i am so loving your blog! thanks for following mine, too!
    http://bellisimama.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  4. oh! and i can't figure out how to email you (i have technological dumbness) but i wanted to tell you about the nursing bra i use. i have big boobs like you and this bra is AMAZING! and it kinda gives you the vintage bullet bra look. great support, comfortable, and makes you look smaller, which i like. i hope you don't mind me leaving the link here on a comment. i just was so happy when someone told me about them, i want to spread the word to all the breastfeeding moms i see who are buxom like i am. it can be a pain to find a good bra.
    http://www.twotexasbelles.com/brapage.html

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't have a Goodwill near where I am living at the moment, but I do have a Value Village. I only ever buy books there because I find their prices just outrageous. I saw a cheap, worn, faded dress there once for $15 dollars! I know for a fact that dress was from Giant Tiger and couldn't have cost more than that originally!
    Oh, by the way, thanks for following my blog :) Yours looks fantastic. I love your background.
    http://vintageinamodernworld.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you, ladies, I was beginning to think that I'm a crazy person. I wrote a letter to the St. Louis Goodwill HQ on the matter yesterday and if I don't get a good response, I will be starting a nation-wide petition in the matter and will look to all of you vintage goodwill shoppers for support, I'll keep everyone updated!
    Bellisimama, thank you! My email is bluegurl1700@yahoo.com! Yea, the boob thing is always a major issue, so I would LOVE a good, supportive nursing bra! thanks, darlin'!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well, good buy on the trench coat--you look wonderful in it (love your whole outfit)! And yes, I am very often confused by the pricing in thrift stores. Especially the ones that have "boutique" sections, and you'll see all manner of out-of-fashion-but-not-vintage stuff that is priced really high just because it still has tags attached. Weird.

    I think your grandma's Christmas tree is one of the most fantastic things I've ever seen.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks! That's one of her favorite stories to tell and one of my favorite ones to listen to!

    ReplyDelete

I read every single comment (even on old posts) and they make my day! If you have a question, please email me at brittanyvavoomvintage@gmail.com. Thank you for reading me!