My son Max and I were at a Chapters Lego event today. He got to build some cool stuff, and his poppy gave him some money to pick up a few things as well. Our plan on the way home to was to drop into the Salvation Army Thrift Store to pick up an old rocking chair I had seen there earlier in the week when I had dropped off a pile of old clothes there. We need something to rock Max’s little brother Russy when he’s fussy, and our old rocking chair bit the dust a few months back. The logic was that we’d just get something cheap because we soon wouldn’t need it.
When we got there, the rocking chair was gone. Drag. Nonetheless the visit to the thrift store was well worth it – mostly because my seven-year-old had me in tears of laughter by the time we left.
Before we entered the store, Max read the sign outside: “Thrift store…..what’s a thrift store, dad?” I explained to him that it was a place to drop off things that you no longer needed so people could buy them at a great discount. Then, I explained, the money made on the items would be put towards helping the poor. I also mentioned that it was a great way to support recycling. This seemed to make sense to him, so we went in to look for the rocking chair (which, as I mentioned, was gone). So once we realized that our mission for the chair would be unsuccessful, we decided to take a look around the store for a bit anyway.
Max’s first comment was about the smell of the place: “Dirty socks, dad.” (I couldn’t disagree, although there was a chemical aroma mixed in there somewhere along the way – presumably a necessary application to remove the source of the smell. People are gross.) When we got to the plush toys, Max picked one out and asked if he could get it. I told him no because it probably had a bunch of saliva from another kid on it. He pleaded with me, so I let him get it. (Parents should know when to pick their battles.) So, with this knowledge of everything being second-hand, Max began to make some comments at a fairly loud volume. Walking by the dishes, he proclaimed loudly, “Dad, we’d better not get any of those dishes….someone’s mouth has been on those.” I stifled my laughter and reddened a bit as a few other people looked our way. Heading over to the men’s jeans, I started sifting through the 32’s with Max standing silently beside me. All of a sudden he uttered, “Dad, I don’t know if I would get any of those jeans. Someone else’s bum has been in those.” Good point. Jesus. On to the suit jackets. (By this time I’m having a flashback to 1997 when everything I wore was from Value Village, and it wasn’t considered a successful shopping trip unless it was followed up by a half-hour sneezing fit.) Max, once again silently judging me, stated loudly, “Dad, I hate to say this, but someone’s armpits have been in those suits.” And, without even seeing any underwear he said, “Dad, you’d better not buy any underwear because someone’s P-E-N…” Okay, I figured we should proceed right away to the cash register to get the 99-cent plush toy and get out of there before I busted a gut. Max was only mildly amused. To him he was simply stating the truth. No sweat for a seven-year-old.
We get to the cash, and Max asks about the cart in front of us: “Dad, why is this big stick attached to the shopping cart?” I told him it was so people wouldn’t take the carts out of the store. He gave the woman holding the cart a dirty look.
At the cash there were some bottles of nail polish, and I suggested he might buy a bottle for his mom. He asked in full earshot of the whole lineup, “Dad, are they second-hand as well? It’s no sense getting them if they are, because they will be half-empty.” I assured them they were new, and we bought the items for a grand total of $3.98 and got out of there.
Max is over my shoulder as I type this, saying how cool it is that I’m making a story out of it. He just asked, “Now you gonna publish it?” Yes, I am.