Monday, January 31, 2011

Thrift Store Review: Disabled American Veteran's Thrift Store, the one across from the huge Salvation Army on Virginia Beach Blvd.

This store is always crowded.  No exceptions.  Every day of the week.  All hours.  The parking lot is a nightmare and trying to get across 10 lanes of Virginia Beach Blvd., if you're coming from the Salvation Army across the street, will either be surprisingly simple or an unforgettable near-death experience that isn't worth finding a ceramic clown-cat figurine for $2.98.

But since you made it, you might as well buy some gently used boxer shorts and change into them immediately.  Ahhhhhhhhh...much better.

I told you how hard it is to write thrift store reviews the first time I wrote one.  You simply cannot write a comprehensive overview of a thrift store's layout, prices, and selection because ALL of those things can change from day to day.  What if I wrote about how they always have a bunch of cool 45s and MAD paperbacks, you go the next day and they're all gone?  I'd be sued.  So, I'm just going to condense my decade of going here and give you the basic gist of this place. Anyway, that first review I did was too long.  Right, 7 faithful readers?  (all together in a monotonous groan - "yyyyyeeeesssss")

The Disabled American Veteran's Thrift Store at 5517 Virginia Beach Blvd. is chock full of piles of books and electronics and all sorts of junk.  Wood junk, plastic junk, clay, glass, wire, steel, foam, all sorts.  And clothes.  Lots of clothes and accessories.  You're gonna have to fight for walking space and constantly squeeze past people.  You'll most likely get in other people's way, too.  Sometimes, it'll be the same person at various locations in the store.  The aisles are barely big enough for one person, let alone 2.  And unless you're planning on buying 80 pounds of stuff, don't get a cart.  There's nothing worse than an old lady blocking your view of something for 20 minutes because she has a cart with a single spoon rest in it.

You will find something good here.  Just look hard.  Most likely, it won't be in the glass-countered, boutique area up front containing all the "highly collectable and valuable"(wink, wink) stuff.  You might find a treasure.  Who knows?  Stuff is only really worth what you think it's worth, right?  Would you rather have a 1961 Don Drysdale baseball card or an old book that used to be on the coffee table at your grandma's house that you always remembered for some reason? 

In the past I've found great records, weird desk stuff, an odd piece of clothing here and there, and wall stuff (posters, art, frames, plaques).  There's a seperate section for "wooden" stuff if you're into painting over stuff and making it your own "thing".  The prices are pretty dern good and if something's been there for a while, they'll mark it down.  I'm waiting for this to go down a dollar.  Always wanted one, but there's no way I'm spending $4.98 on it.

Again, wear headphones if you got 'em.  There's usually a radio station on and they keep interrupting the music with all-important announcements concerning an employee that needs to either go up front or to the back.  I also hate when an 18 minute block of commercials comes on the store speakers and we all have to listen to them together.   

All the typical customers are here:

- the hoarders
- the know-it-alls
- the mother of 14s
- the Mr. Fix-its
- the creepy stare stalkers
- the "thripsters" (thrifting hipsters)
- the price gaspers ("It's HOW MUCH?!)
- the feisty tots
- the dumpy bumpers
- the treasure trolls
- the fart & darters
- the merchandise smashers

and last, but not least....

- the solitary Asian man that has his hands clasped behind his back that looks at everything with the greatest of interest, yet rarely unclasps his hands to touch an object

You'll enjoy this store.  If you don't see anything worth buying, just take a picture of it.  Do you really need more useless, thrift store crap?