The Thriftstorm Day Thread

Friends, gather ’round your screens, for I have a special announcement. A year ago today, I began Thriftstorm, a Twitter feed celebrating the more esoteric stuff I found in thrift stores. It went slowly at first, before I suddenly hit it big with this:

It’s been a fun year, but in my head, Thriftstorm was always something more than Twitter. As of today, it’s a column here on The Avocado, starting with a writeup on Bill Burleson’s The Square Dancing Encyclopedia. Future entries will cover movies, music, magazines (but not too often – I don’t want to get in the way of Let’s Read Old Magazines) and assorted ephemera. Installments will probably be weekly, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

I view thrifting as an anthropological experience – to shop at a thrift store is to buy other people’s history; to donate is to give them a piece of yours. Therefore, as a volunteer archaeologist on a website where everyone writes everything for free, I have set for myself these strict sort-of-boundaries that I will mostly follow:

  1. I’ll try to provide artifact analysis. Books and movies and records come out of the factory in identical thousands, but by the time they turn up in thrift stores, each one has gone on its own strange little journey. When available, I’ll give detail on the notes people write in the margins, the names they write on the covers, and the overall condition.
  2. Subject matter won’t always be from a thrift store – I’ve also been to yard sales, estate sales, book sales, auctions, surplus clearinghouses, library free piles, etc. – but it will always be used. I estimate 80 to 90% of everything I own is secondhand, so that shouldn’t be hard.
  3. The things I write up have to be things I randomly encountered in the wild, rather than ordered somehow. The thrift store is the realm of the unknown, and I want to celebrate that. However, in a few cases I may do entries on things I don’t have anymore, or had to get a replacement for. When that happens, I’ll note it as such.

I hope you’ll all have as much fun reading these as I have grazing off an ecosystem of junk.