Ah, the thrift store. Back in the day they seemed a lot less homogenous, and you could sometimes stumble across the odd thing of real value – a musical instrument maybe, a typewriter, or a really nice wool shirt.

Lots of old records, too. Mostly crappy rock and roll and Andy Williams and stuff like that, but also the occasional country or r&b gem (Hank Williams, Al Green, John Lee Hooker), as well as racks of the more esoteric polka, hawaiian lap steel, experimental lounge, and soundtrack options.

Most of the stuff that can demand a higher price seems to get snatched up by various dealers and the internet these days. So it goes. Better that way than the landfill, anyway.

But even if they aren’t quite what they used to be, the thrift store is still a welcoming place for the practical clothes shopper.

If you’re looking for a new salt-and-pepper shaker, candy dish, or funny coffee mug, you won’t be able to find a brick-and-mortar store with a better selection. And the choice of books offered written by ex-celebrities and politicians go far beyond anything put up by your local bookstore, or library.

My point is, if you take the time, you can still be surprised by what you can find there, waiting, just for you. A blow dryer. A waffle iron. Bowling shoes. A song.

Snowman by Bob St. Peter