Despite a huge art project, a research proposal deadline and a severe lack of sleep, I devoted my Saturday to a tour of Abilene’s Goodwill stores.
It’s the people, the junk, the grime and the occasional treasure that make Goodwill the retreat that it is. The window display boasts mismatched outfits and dusty guitars along with a stack of three-ring binders meant to allude to the back-to-school goodies inside. The aromas of many households meld with the scent of age, creating the trademark Goodwill funk.
It’s easy to pick the college students out of the crowd. They tear through racks of clothes feverishly, looking for a treasure. They throw hangers aside without a second glance, determined to find the article of clothing that will allow them to answer their friends’ envious looks with “Goodwill – $2.35.”
These treasure-hunters pause only to hold up gaudy, oversize sweaters and holler across the store to a friend, “You could totally pull this off with leggings and those heels that look like Lady Gaga’s.”
And after a quick brainstorm session, the sweater is either tossed in the cart or shoved back on the rack. It will wait there for the next college girl with a little Gaga in her to see the potential fashion statement.
The knickknack section always has a surprise if you are willing to look hard enough. Whether it is the perfect coffee mug hiding behind a cluster of ceramic kittens, or a souvenir in the shape of a miniature bathtub that reads “We had a tub of fun in Las Vegas” that offers a quick laugh and makes the trip worth it.
Shoes, toys and furniture are always a gamble. All of these sections naturally have bigger gross-factor than clothing. But if the level of cool is high enough, measures can be taken to ensure proper decontamination.
That’s the glory of Goodwill. It’s the great finds, bitter disappointments and the change of scenery. The chance that you will run into a professor drops considerably, taking away much of the pressure to act like an adult who might need a letter of recommendation sometime down the road. Goodwill is one of those places where a twenty-something can act like a kid.
All that for only $2.35.