Beauty is in the Eyes of the Beholder

I live in a charming small town with a charming small-town thrift shop. The shop is housed, rent-free, in the former town hall building that is over 100 years old. It is run by volunteers from the town’s senior citizens organization. The clothes come from residents who bring their bagged, no-longer-needed clothing to the transfer station (read: town dump). The town employees take the donated bags of clothes to the Old Town Hall for the ladies to sort and display. These volunteer efforts give to the shopper an incredibly good deal. You can fill up a bag for $3.00. If it goes over the top, it’s $4.00. This shop truly represents the spirit of community service and volunteerism.

 If you didn’t live in this town, you might not think the shop was so charming. First of all, it’s only open six hours per week; on three different days for two hours at a time. Inside, there are two small rooms and, given the age and general lack of upkeep of the building, it is admittedly dark and dingy. There is no dressing room or bathroom (hence the short hours). And in the winter, it is cold.

Because of the odd hours, I can’t shop there on impulse, so I have to remember their hours and plan a visit, but it is worth it. The volunteers obviously try their best to display the merchandise attractively. Everything is organized, well spaced and clean. The volunteer for the shift is always friendly and helpful. Not to mention the great prices. When I do make it in to the shop, It is easy for me to overlook the negative impression this shop may initially project and enjoy the experience.  

 I’m proud of our little thrift shop, proud of the town’s donation of space and manpower, proud of the residents who contribute, and I’m especially proud of the senior citizens who choose to spend their time to keep it running. It is that spirit of cooperation that allows me and the other shoppers the ability to fill a bag full of shirts and shoes and pants for our families and not break the bank.

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