Gettin’ thrifty with it

From eyepatches and Luigi hats to antique medical equipment, thrifters look for ways to find items for the low


photo by Peyton Whittington

“Don’t give up. I used to give up when I would go to Goodwill. I would look in the bins and be like ‘Oh no, I can’t find anything,’ then I’d leave,” senior thrifter Sydney Pigmon said. “But then I started going through the blacks and the grays and the creams, my favorite kind of colors. So look through your favorite colors that you wear on a daily basis.”

Junior Courtney Ring was on a mission. She needed an umbrella to keep in her car. When she walked into HOPE thrift store, she found more: an umbrella hat, a Paper Jams guitar, a Luigi hat and an eye patch.

Thrifting, or the search for cheap secondhand goods, is popular among people who enjoy finding clothes, trinkets or anything else for a steal. Students may thrift for the thrill of the hunt or, in Ring’s case, because of new financial responsibilities.

“Recently I had to start paying for [my own] gas, so every Tuesday I go to a thrift store called HOPE and every Wednesday I go to Goodwill,” Ring said.

Most thrifters search for clothing as an alternative to paying full price for name brands. Some, however, look for uniqueness when they sift through racks of clothing.

“The men’s t-shirts section is my favorite thing in the entire world. I’ll spend three hours going through all of the shirts, and they have the weirdest things on them,” sophomore Lauren Downs said. “I have a Soviet Russia t-shirt that was like, 50 cents.”

Junior Logan Frawley looks for the same things when she visits her favorite thrift stores.

“Most of my favorite big t-shirts I have are from the guys’ t-shirt section. I have a lot [of t-shirts] from restaurants, even though I don’t even know where the restaurants are,” Frawley said. “I [thrift] because I know not as many people will have the same piece of clothing as me.”

However, secondhand stores offer more than clothes. Furniture, art supplies, books and, for senior Payton DeMarzo, antique medical supplies are all available to the thrifty shopper who catches them.

DeMarzo owns a dissecting microscope and an antique blood machine that still uses mercury, thanks to her trips to antique stores in Georgia, Titusville and downtown Oviedo.

“I know some people like to look for comic books or trading cards, but I look for trinkets,” DeMarzo said.

Any thrifter will recommend that secondhand store shoppers possess perseverance and attention to detail in order to walk away with the most successful hauls.

“Take your time and look in the corners, not the display places,” DeMarzo said. “The microscope I found was actually on a beam going across the ceiling. I also found my [blood pressure machine] by an old sofa.”

Ring advises thrifters to examine the quality of clothes thoroughly prior to purchasing them, as some items may have ended up there because they were ruined.

“Check for stains on everything, especially on solid colored stuff and if it’s an expensive brand,” Ring said. “If you’re like ‘Wow, I can’t believe this is here,’ that’s probably why it’s there.”

Despite the risk of broken or damaged goods, the unique finds outweigh the disappointments. Thrifters are simply in it for the joy of discovery: new and interesting things for an affordable price.

A map of Central Florida’s best thrift stores