The pennant string flags are fluttering in the breeze as we cruise the parking lot looking for an empty space. Somebody pulls out, and we can pull in. It’s preview day. My friend Megan and I hike over steaming hot asphalt, our palms sweating in anticipation. We can’t wait to see the brand new store. As we step into the entrance, a lovely lady offers us a cart, which we decline. We are just here to look around at the brand new Goodwill Store at 330 E. Silverado Ranch Blvd.
The interior buzzes with activity as we enter. We look over the layout, the racks all arranged by color and aligned in crisp straight rows. The merchandise calls to us. Buy me! And the prices! So good, too good. We go back for a cart.
We wander through the racks pulling sparkly clothing into view. With all the sequins and lacey Lycra on display, we can tell this shop means business, Las Vegas business. What other store sells beautiful wedding dresses for less than fifty dollars? The hell with a tea party, I want to host a come-as-a-bride party! At these prices there is no excuse for my pals not to suit up.
As we round a corner into housewares, we met a man with a cart full of vinyl LPs. He says he is buying them for his wife, but I peek and see some Three Dog Night, and Led Zeppelin. In the home-and-garden section, Megan selects a fake philodendron-filled basket. It is in great shape, and the perfect plant for displaying in the house. She holds it up. “Do you think it looks . . . too fake?”
“Not really,” I answer, but I am standing halfway an aisle away. “Hold on,” I say, I take the basket and run up the aisle. I hold the item up over my head. “How does it look from there?” I ask.
She agrees that it has more panache from afar. The ticket says six buck, and into the cart it goes. In front of the endcap, a lady is examining a shiny copper pogo stick. Not something I see a Baby Boomer using every day of the week. The lady explains she is considering it for her grandchildren. It also is six bucks, a popular price in this store.
Ducking and weaving in the pre-opening day traffic, we push our cart up to the decorative ceramics section. “What about this?” I yell, snatching up an olive branch cleverly crafted from iron. Megan’s eyes narrow. “It’s cool,” she says, “but where would I put it?”
I can’t believe it. My friend is breaking the third rule of thrifting: bringing practicality into the mix. She is right, so we put it back on the shelf for some more imaginative shopper to buy. Three African masks, a ceramic rabbit, a Tiki god and a surprised-looking head later, and we are ready to check out. On the way to the cashier, a Native American carving catches my eye. I put it in the cart. Three dollars and ninety-nine cents! How could I say no?