Janet MillerBy Janet Miller

We have several thrift stores on Kaua’i, so I frequently patronize three of them in Lihu`e. When you live on a small island, and you need a particular “something”, you have five choices. You can:

Buy it new at a Kaua’i store.

Fly to O`ahu for a wider selection of stores to shop.

Shop online and wait for it to be shipped to you.

Peruse the Craigslist ads and then drive to someone’s house.

Hit the thrift stores.

My first inclination is to spend the least amount of money that I can get away with, so I go to the used goods stores known as “thrift” stores. Shopping at a thrift store gives me satisfaction in three ways: I feel good about supporting the causes that sponsor each of the stores; I like to have the item I want, right away without waiting for it to be shipped to me; and I feel a sense of accomplishment by finding that “like new”, or that occasional brand new item for just a couple of bucks.

I can’t say that any one of the three stores I shop at is my favorite, because each one has its own personality.

I’m an avid fiction reader. There’s something warm and fuzzy about holding a hard cover book. Maybe once per month I go to the Salvation Army Thrift store and replenish my stock of reading materials. It feels so decadent to walk out of there with ten, jacketed best sellers, having only paid two dollars for them all. Twenty cents each for 300 pages that, in most cases, have only been turned once. So this is my favorite store for book shopping.

The Wilcox Hospital Thrift store is my favorite place to shop for dresses. Apparently there is some benevolent woman on Kaua’i who has exquisite taste in clothing, who buys her dresses from the same name brand designer all the time, who wears the same size as I do. And the best part about that, is that she grows tired of her dresses after wearing them only once or twice each. Perhaps there is more than one woman who donates her clothing to the Wilcox Thrift store, with the above description, because every time I shop there, I can find at least one very lightly worn frock that fits me perfectly. I often get them for only $1 each. I’m willing to go as high as $5 apiece for these treasures, but I rarely have to.

The thrift store that benefits the Kaua’i Humane Society is my “go to” store for household goods. I have recently needed: a double boiler, a bed sheet, a ramekin cup, a set of 3-pound dumbbells, and a coffee maker pot replacement. Each time, I was able to find just what I wanted for next to nothing.

Some people feel that there is some inferior stigma to shopping for used products. I feel intellectually superior to them. It makes so much more sense to save money and help out a worthy cause at the same time.