Thrift Me, Please

Mauriah Johnson, Staff Writer


Screeching clinks of metal hangers drag across the aisles of used goods, ringing in the ears of all who dare enter the double doors with a light smell of old recycled vintage dust consuming the air.  

Welcome to the world of thrift.  

“Right now, the hottest things are costumes,” retail associate Missy Gwynn of Savers in Newington said as she continued to organize and place new inventory on hangers.  

“I had a customer come in yesterday who wanted to be [Cher from] ‘Clueless’ and I’m just thinking to myself – we don’t have any yellow plaid suits,” Jen Betancourt said. Betancourt is the flamingo-colored hair Lead Costume Consultant of Savers in Newington.  

“That’s the most difficult part, everything is about timing – there’s no telling what we’re going to have in stock,” Savers retail associate Luz Bonilla said.  

“Overall, I’d say blouses, definitely jackets and blazers — women’s clothing [sells quick],” Betancourt said. She described that these same materials are needed in order for her to create her custom Halloween looks for customers that walk through their spooky doors.  

As Betancourt stood perfectly still in thought, her outfit caught the eyes of all who gazed upon her with her exotic pink hair, thrifted white fluffy blouse, black puffy ballerina tutu and jet-black leggings, being the perfect display of a nifty customized Savers pirate.  

What’s selling the most right now is the halos,” said Betancourt 

In honor of the upcoming grim season, New Britain’s Goodwill decorated the walls in creepy orange square pumpkin faces, Casper the not so friendly ghost and whimsical flying broomsticks 

As “The Tide is High” by Blondie pours out of the ceiling’s microphones distracting the Halloween theme, the retail associate of the New Britain Goodwill, Rayjaun Jones gives an unexpected statement.  

“The Halloween costumes are barely selling here to be honest,” Jones said as he chuckled nervously at the register 

“We mostly sell to seniors who are mostly buying household appliances, electronics such as microwaves, televisions, computers and women’s clothing, which goes pretty quick.”  

Jones gives deep background into the life behind the scenes and register, showcasing the thrift world through an entirely new lens of gender and age ratio.  

“Men wear their stuff until we can’t sell it. They’re not like us [women], they’re cheap,” Savers associate Bonilla said.   

As eyes scatter throughout both Savers and Goodwill, the primary gender that prevails through each aisle is women in just about every age bracket, and only select men who are generally reaching or have already entered the senior citizen club.

“It gets really busy on Wednesdays, [which are] senior discount days — unlike Tuesdays where we see a lot of business due to it being a college discount. But the seniors are where we make most of our revenue and they’re not coming in to buy Halloween costumes,” Jones said.  

Who could blame them?  

Prices at the Savers in Orange, Connecticut of unworn costumes range from $40 for a new adult “Midnight Mermaid, $22 for a children’s “Rockin’ Witch and $9 for a silver sparked black witch cap 

Thrifting is defined as “the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully, according to Oxford Dictionary, and if there are customers who definitely know how to utilize their resources properly it would be those who have experienced more life — seniors.   

From the beginning of solely secondhand shops thriving in England, to an endless lifeline for Christian organizations linking charity and capitalism in forms of thrift such as Goodwill, and the Salvation Army (JSTOR daily, How Thrift Stores Were Born), millennials have modernized this “Macklemore” thrifty world.  

Only one evidently young face (aside from workers) in the Savers of Newington stood out in the crowd: a woman of medium stature, smooth brown skin and curly hair slicked back into a seductive business bun — Amanda.  

As her cocoa hands quickly swiped each hanger to her left, items failing to catch her eyes, she takes a long glance at a bright fall orange sweater:  

“I don’t know whyI’m just in here, I’m just picking up stuff to see if I like it or not.” she said laughing, trying to find a legitimate reason as to why she is there thirty minutes after the store just opened.  

She abruptly stopped swiping, making serious eye contact with her coffee bean colored eyes:  

“Actually, I’m just killing time before work, honestly.”  

Thrifting is more than just finding items for less; it has become a lifestyle, a trend, a time killer — and a real bang for your buck if you want to go on an adventure with just $20 in your pocket.