Special Section

Buyer Beware

stories of thrifting, weird finds, and hijinx from professional and amateur enthusiasts

V1 Staff |

Worth the Sacrifice?

“I enlisted my brother to drive with me halfway across the state to buy a refrigerator in the middle of winter. The fridge that came with the house was barely holding on and I was told when I tried to have it repaired that there was no hope for it. Of course, I instantly thought to get a vintage fridge and started my search. After weeks and weeks of looking, I ended up finding a 1958 GE fridge on Craigslist that was amazing. It had a foot pedal that would open the fridge door when you stepped on it, was pink inside, and had lazy Susan-style shelves that rotated with the push of a button. Truly it was a well-designed masterpiece, and so very, very retro – it even had a place specifically in the freezer labeled for ice cream. No one thought it was a good idea to get an older appliance, but that didn’t stop me.  After the whole ordeal of driving for what seemed like forever and the hassle of loading it in the back of a pickup in Arctic temperatures, it didn’t work. I ended up having to buy a new one and admit that I had failed the fridge mission to everyone who had warned me.” – Chris Williams, whose Menomonie home is flush with retro wares

A Desensitized Collector

“After you’ve kind of seen it all, you don’t get fazed very much. I think my taste is fairly strange or at least diverse so I have an appreciation for everything. I don’t know, gallstones or something like that is pretty weird, but at these auctions it’s like, ‘Sure, why not? Why wouldn’t those be here?’” – Jon Schemick, owner of Good & Sturdy Vintage

The Frugality of Dad

My dad has taught me to always be on the lookout for thrift items with lifetime warranties. His favorites are Allen Edmonds shoes. Find a pair in any condition and send it in for them to fix up or – sometimes – just send you a whole new pair for way less money than you’d spend on a new pair.” – Thom Fountain, V1

Full Circle

“At The Local Store, we sell ‘I Kubb EC’ T-shirts. One day, my fiancée went thrift shopping and came home with an “I Kubb EC” tee in my size. While we know there are other places you can buy this tee, my fiancée and I like to think that the tee made a full circuit through the thrift store system, right back to the building where it may have been originally purchased.” – Tyler Griggs, V1

Needed that Bike

“In eighth grade, I bought a single speed bike at a rummage sale for $7. I immediately took it around, but I hadn’t checked it over first. Coming up on a curb, I tried to pop a wheelie over it and mid-wheelie, the front wheel of my bike rolled away ahead of me. I went crashing forward, and I had to get six staples in the back of my head. Should’ve just got ice cream?”– Eric Christenson, V1