(Note: For those who don’t know, Savers is a massive thrift store chain. It buys donated clothing from charities and sells the clothing at a profit, recycling clothes that are too worn or ratty to be salable.)
A trend, not unlike Pokemon cartoons or esophageal cancer, is sweeping the United States. All around us, charities are beginning to buy into the belief that they can help poor people through giving donated clothing to thrift stores. Poor people apparently can’t wear this clothing; they must be given the latest in designer trends, it appears, so we can’t just give this clothing directly to the homeless. And middle class people can’t just give charities money. No, they have to give the charities worthless junk, which the charities then sell to large corporations.
This isn’t to say that it isn’t fun to walk through one of these stores. After all, there might be the chance that you’ll wind up finding something that you can’t find at a regular store in the piled stacks of discarded 1990s computer screens. I’ve seen everything from old Sega video game consoles to Atari 2600s amongst the smelliness of some of these places, in the rare occasion that I am asked to spend time in one of these mega thrift stores.
It just seems awfully dishonest to me. I don’t know. Am I wrong to feel like, you know, maybe it’s a horrible commentary on the beliefs and thinking of the American people that we have to give middle class America such an easy way to give money to charity? Is it right that Americans can get away with being selfish asses by giving junk they wouldn’t even use to charities that won’t even use it? Is esophageal cancer God’s punishment for the sins of morbidly-obese, selfish middle-class America?
Then I entered Savers, and I realized that there’s no way that God would give Americans two such terrible punishments. Going to Savers in the first place is punishment enough for anyone.
Part II: The Store, A Lesson In Pure Evil
As I entered the Savers pit of hell, I was instantly greeted by its “Donation Center”; at least one of the people coming to the store was driving a red Hyundai car the size of a postage stamp, and this store was actually crowded with people. I looked on these facts with a combination of shock and horror. The interior busied itself with reminding me of the caliber of store I was dealing with:
Coatracks lined the walls, the interior was filled to the brim with old clothing, and of course a Halloween display was included just behind the registers so that America’s thrift store-buying parents could dress their children in the latest used Halloween costumes.
I made a beeline for the back of the store, where they keep the used computers, typewriters, toys, and sporting equipment. All of the furniture, computer equipment and toys were at the pinnacle of Middle American taste:
This red stool sold for approximately $6.99, a great price with the small problem that it would clash with almost any other piece of furniture one would try to place it with. This is not unlike my green La-Z-Boy recliner, which can actually clash with velveteen posters, but unlike my green La-Z-Boy recliner, this stool is six inches tall. I could have fit it in the back of my car. Why I chose not to has more to do with what I learned from my recliner than anything else; however, not wishing to line up at the counter with at least ten other people did factor into my decision as well. What these people were buying–and God forbid, why they chose to buy anything from this store–bothered me deeply, even as I drove home.
By the way, the blurry object at the bottom of the photo is my finger. Yes, I know. I am a retard.
At this point, the banality of this store, the bright lights and white walls and displays featuring pictures of decapitated women with beautiful torsos and music from the 1970s–all was beginning to become horrific. The store was beginning to close in on me, the white walls bearing down on me, the clothing assuming its own sinister presence. Slime began to ooze from the walls, and blood began to pour from the decapitated torsos, as people began to center around me. They were trying to make me a part of this scene, a part of this strange ritualistic behavior Americans engage in, of trying to find a “good deal” out of old industrial scales from the 1950s and those motivational posters people hang in their walls when they have lost what is left of their lives and dignity. Horror music–echoes of Ross Bagdasarian’s Witch Doctor–began to play from the store speakers, barely resonating in my ears, and I was confronted with the face of pure horror. I would like to try to replicate this scene for you:
Oooh, ee, ooh ah ah,
Ting Tang, walla-walla bing-bang
Oooh-eeee, Oooh ah-ah
Ting Tang, walla walla bing-bang
I knew I was going to die in this store.
OK, so maybe I was exaggerating a bit in saying that there was literally blood pouring from decapitated heads and people hugging anime cosplayers, but it was pretty damn close, and I did nearly die, or would have had I gotten a whiff of their sandal section. I was horrified. This was like some kind of horrifying carnival of death. Why spend time buying things at this store, when you could spend your money on something nice from Kmart or Walmart, have your old worthless clothes recycled, and give a couple of bucks to the local Salvation Army (or what have you)? If Savers is a for-profit corporation and the charities get paid whether the goods get sold or not, why bother buying them here?
I don’t understand the point of a store like this. It’s one thing to want to buy used clothing for the chic or whatever retarded reason you’d have for wanting to wear worn jeans, but I can’t help but feel like it would be better for all parties involved if they just gave the worn jeans to poor people, or maybe if the American people could just be bothered to give money to charity instead of forcing the charities to sell middle-class Americans’ used crap to other middle-class Americans.
The primary reason I say that–you know, that they should just give the clothing to poor people–is because of the sheer bulk of it they had at this store, at least a ton or so. Even with all of these different types of clothes, amounting to every style you could imagine hanging from the racks, almost nobody in the entire store purchased clothing. You could have built a circus tent with the amount of denim they had collecting dust right in the middle of this store, doing nothing for nobody, because no person who can afford better wants jeans that could have been the victim of somebody with a terminal bowel disorder.
My mother often tells of the wonders she saw while living in the town of Artesia, New Mexico. They have a civic landmark called “Abo Elementary School and Fallout Shelter”, where they would put children in underground classrooms back in the 1960s:
These children were constantly being given tests of their eyesight and other abilities, because Atomic Age doctors wanted to know what the long-term effects of spending a long time in a fallout shelter would be. (Update: The scientists that conducted these tests apparently called these test children “groundhogs”.) This school is now a registered national landmark as well as a civic one:
To be perfectly honest, we have always figured that this explains why my mother acts the way she does, but that is not my point. My point is, I think I would rather have spent my elementary school years at a fallout shelter like Abo than have spent another day at “Savers.”
Stop being a dumbass; get the hint. If America can’t be bothered to give money to charity directly, its punishment is Savers. And it truly, truly deserves it.
Tell me what you think! Luigirepublic@aol.com