It is the time of the season for overviews of the past year's high points and trends. The world of thrifting has its own specific highs and tendencies, just as in the world of sports, entertainment, international news or so forth. So from someone that does thrifting on a regular basis, here is a retrospective analysis of the past year in thrifting in Orange County.
Thrifting is a booming business in the OC. Stores and secondhand shops have continued to thrive in the OC, as consumers become more concerned with the economy (particularly their own personal economy) and green issues (recycling/consigning of their used goods). A dicey economy has particularly made thrift stores and their sister consignment stores both popular and acceptable. While there are no specific figures this thrift'n-ista can use to bolster the point, even the casual observer can see BMW's and Mercedes in the parking lots of Savers Stores that would previously never have been seen there.
The OC thrifting community in 2012 utilized the world of cyberspace more than ever before. Thrift stores routinely used the information age to a fuller extent. Web sites for thrift stores are a "de rigueur" requirement now. Some savvy stores such as assorted Assistance Leagues have web sites that utilize weekly slide previews of upcoming goods for sale to draw buyers in for that particular week's specials. I've observed Goodwill and other thrift stores often have higher end vintage items on EBay, and the items are listed in the store with the EBay information on their tags as well. Coupons are available online for Goodwill and other stores. Most thrift stores generate an email list to advertise to their customers any upcoming sales and store events. The computer is a thrifter's- and thrift store's- best friend anymore.
2012 was the year of the electronics thrift store bargain. As electronic goods improve in their prices and function, the amount of recycled electronics available at thrift stores is exploding. This can result in some awesome deals for thrift'n-istas to find gently used recently outdated models of all sorts of electronic items. The preponderance of the older heavy ponderous TV models at thrifts stores is one obvious result of the new flat screen TV's availability now. However I have observed other great bargain electronics. Recently I saw a perfectly lovely GPS system go for a fraction of its new price. It was snapped up by a thrifter who got that great deal because someone's purchase of a new car with the GPS build into it made their barely used Magellan or Tom-Tom obsolete. It was donated for secondhand sale to the delight of one happy thrifting gentleman. Computers are also a popular ticket items for thrifters. Redone computers are available at locations such as Goodwill Computer Works Store Sales and Service in Santa Ana for example. Lack of funds can no longer prevent anyone from obtaining at least a basic computer anymore. 2012 was the year of the secondhand electronic goods bargain indeed.
2012 also had highlight events affecting the Orange County thrifting community. This past year in November of 2012, OC Register's new ownership Aaron Kushner kicked off National Philanthropy Day by pledging $12.4 million of free ads for local charities, which includes some thrift store organizations. Loyal subscribers of the Register were given a list of various non-profits, charities and philanthropic organizations. The Register accepted the subscribers' vote from the list of charities and donated $100 in their name for that charity of their choice. Rick Stein director of the Arts Orange County enthused, "It's not only an extraordinary generous act on the part of the Register's new publishr, but (its) a savvy move to invite its subscribers to designate recipients of his largess..." Goodwill, Salvation Army Orange County, Lara's House, and South County Outreach are several of the thrift recipients on the Register's long list of charity groups, churches and arts groups. This was a positive philanthropic move to benefit thrift stores and other charities alike. A great trend like this for 2012 needs to continue on with other companies imitating the Register's example.
A milestone that technically spills into 2013, but is worthy of mention for 2012 is the trend for thrift stores to thrive in otherwise untapped OC communities. Irvine, the embodiment of an Orange County community with a consumeristic environment, has one thrift store- but that thrift store has reached its 10 year milestone. Thursday Jan 10 was the 10th anniversary of an Assistance League in Irvine (with an appropriate 10% off sale for that day). Definitely this represents a wonderful trend.
This thrift'n-ista says that Orange County needs thrift stores to continue to prosper in new and improved ways in 2013. May it be so.