At SaveMart New Zealand, over 3000 fresh items of recycled clothing come into each store every day. If stock hasn't sold in 4 weeks, it goes to charity in Papua New Guinea.
For you, that means there's always new stock generated from diverse sources. Provided you remember Boutique Narelle's shopping tips below, and barring sticky trolly wheels, raucous radio, cramped dressing rooms, and staff-only toilet facilities (not all stores are thus adorned but certainly Palmerston North's SaveMart), your shopping experience should be a happy one.
Top 12 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping
- CARRY A LIST AND/OR A COLOUR SAMPLE of what you're looking for. Be wary of being sidetracked by an apparent bargain you don't actually need.
- In good lighting, CHECK GARMENTS FOR FLAWS such as rips, stains, loose stitching, snagged fabric, missing buttons, and other problems. Be aware of tag positioning -- removal of the staples may leave holes. (These labels are best removed using a staple remover.)
- TRY ON EVERY GARMENT AND UNDER THE CONDITIONS YOU EXPECT TO WEAR IT (i.e. over a camisole or t-shirt). Shrug, bend, wriggle, and crouch to check all aspects of fit. When trying shoes, wear the denier of stockings or socks you would wear with them. Walk in them.
- TEST ZIPPERS several times.
- WEAR GARMENTS AND SHOES THAT ARE EASY TO REMOVE for try-ons, such as zipped sweaters, button-up shirts, and slip-on footwear (not lace-up boots!). Don't wear your best duds -- SaveMart is a dusty place.
- BE AWARE THAT SAVEMART BUILDINGS ARE NOT HEATED OR AIR-CONDITIONED. Plan your trip accordingly.
- READ GARMENT LABELS for laundering surprises and to check for extra buttons.
- READ PRICE TAGS CAREFULLY. SaveMart tags are hand-written and not always neatly. Don't rely on colour codes.
- DO NOT RUSH. Give yourself time to think. If you need the toilet, go, and return to your thinking unpressurized.
- If the garment has flaws, consider what it will cost you in time and notions to fix it. IS IT WORTH IT?
- If it isn't right and you can't easily fix it, LEAVE IT. And...
- COME BACK SOON for another hunt.