May 21, 2012

20 Thrifting Disasters

After years of thrifting and some more of reading about the basics of thrifting, then some more admiring others’ amazing thrifted finds, I felt there’s a sore lack of a defining description of all that’s possible to go amiss when it comes to second hand shopping… Here’s a try at collecting some thrifting disasters!


1. When you set out with hours to kill to hunt the best finds, the second hand shops seem to be half empty of merchandise and you never find anything worthwhile.

2. However, if you just pop in with 10 minutes to kill before your train leaves, suddenly there are about 20 different items you don’t have time to try on.

3. And they change the full stock the day after, so you’ll never see them again.

4. Similarly, if you take a friend with you who always comments on what great stuff you find in thrift stores, when the two of you go together there are only lame denim skirts with pink trim and burgundy polyester blazers from the 90s.

5. Whatever amazing displays they put in the shop window are never for sale or have already been sold.

6. For some mysterious reason, this out-of-bounds window display always includes a clothing item you have been hunting for for months, like the perfect pencil skirt or a mint coloured blazer, or the cutest dress with a Peter Pan collar.

7. Anyway, you go in and hunt around. However, you always have to realise that when the size and the cut is perfect, the material or the colour are bound to be hideous.

8. Similarly, when the material and the colour are perfect, the size and the cut are hideous.

9. When something is a gorgeous, saturated hue, the colour is bound to be bleeding. You may convince yourself in the shop that the original owner must have lost weight, that’s why they donated the item, but deep down you know you will have to handwash that damn gorgeous blouse from now on until you donate it yourself.

10. “That lovely blouse is torn by the seam? I’ll sew it up in no time! Let’s get it.” (This happened 2 years ago and you still haven’t sewn it up.)

11. “That gorgeous skirt? It’s a bit too long but oh, I will alter it, no big deal!” (It’s been 3 years and now you actually use it as a shoe rag.)

12. “That huge shirt? The material is so pretty, I’ll totally make cushions-dolls-bookbinds-whatever from it.” (You have a whole drawer full of these and you don’t even own a sewing machine.)

13. If you spot a great colour and promising texture from afar, by the time you get there, another thrifter has it in her grubby hands and it’s an original Chanel blazer. 

14. In your size.

15. If you spot a well-known label and get there first, it surely has greasy stains, or moth-holes, or comes in such a small/huge size it’s impossible to alter.

16. There are plenty of beautiful purses to be found in second hand shops, but the most beautiful ones have an indelible smell hanging around them that you cannot get rid of, however hard you try. One option left – carry the purse around but never open it. Which is sort of like carrying a cushion around the city. Pretty, but pretty useless.

17. When you find something that’s missing a button, it’s bound to be a coat with buttons coated in the material of the original item. So it’s impossible to find a matching one and you have to change all of the buttons.

18. Your coat is of course double breasted and has 20 buttons on front and an extra 10 on the cuffs.

19. Finally you have chosen some pretty amazing stuff that seem to be fitting you well. You go up to pay when you realize that you don’t have enough cash, they don’t accept credit cards and the next ATM is a 10 minute walk away. The shop closes in 5 minutes.

20. Of course this shop has a policy never to set aside items for anyone. The perfect garment you had to leave there will haunt your dreams for years to come.

Now is the time to admit it, you’ve experienced at least one of the above!
Do you have any more to add to the list? I’m keen to hear about your thrifting disaters. :)

(Clip art used above by Amy Morby)


Dizzy Tea said...


Nikki || The Ginger Diaries said...

This post is SO true! I have had many of these things happen! So annoying, haha. I shared this post on my twitter ^^ x

Paola Alberdi said...

great post!

Check out my latest post, I promise you will fall in love with florals, you'll see!

shyscout said...

Hahahaha! I have experienced all of this. You have everything down to a t. Although a lot of times thrifting is irritating and annoying - the one good item seems to make it all worth while.

Madeline Quaint said...

I hope this means you like it... :D

Madeline Quaint said...

Thank you Darling! I've given up on my Twitter, too lazy... :)

Madeline Quaint said...


Madeline Quaint said...

I know, I actually have my most loved clothes from second hand shops - but all of this seems to be true as well! :)

Allison Fisher said...

LOL, I loved reading this! It seems like something like this always happens to me!
Would love for you to visit my blog sometime!

Allison @

Madeline Quaint said...

Thanks Allison, I ried to collect everything that can go wrong! :D Of course when thrifting goes well, it makes it all worth it!

Steph Jiang said...

Hahaha, this is hilarious! I always walk into thrift shops with this romantic idea of it being the land of wonderful vintage pieces... only to realize that eww, most of the items are musty and old and... eww.

so i just go back to Forever 21 and the like x:

Madeline Quaint said...

And when I'm like: "Oh, I'll show you the best places!", then we won't find anything worthwhile! :D
But we should definitely give it a try! :)

Jamillah said...

2. However, if you just pop in with 10 minutes to kill before your train leaves, suddenly there are about 20 different items you don’t have time to try on.

This plagues me in a real way.