4/1/2008 - Park Avenue Thrift Store


when i left the salvo downtown it was maybe 4:30 or so, and i didn't know how late my second destination was going to be open, so i made the decision to hustle past the hostess outlet store (corner of danny thomas and monroe i think) even though i REALLY REALLY wanted to run in and get like eight dollars worth of discount twinkies. next time. instead i chose to press on into the heart of darkness, secondhandarily speaking...


the park avenue thrift store, in the shopping plaza on the corner of park ave and getwell rd, undeniably in the hood but still fun and funky and weird and kind of gross but great nonetheless



it's kind of dirty, kind of disorganized, and there is definitely a smell (my notebook actually reads "def. a smell" on this page) but it's CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP and there is obviously a great deal of new merchandise coming in on a daily basis. they do the goodwill thing where like half the space of the store is blocked off for a sorting/pricing area, which leads to a number of HILARIOUS overheard conversations because apparently the people who work in the back room either don't know or don't care that everyone shopping in the store can hear them talking...

"girl, you know i got some of those pain pills from the doctor, the drug store, and oooh weeeee!"

"what'd you get, girl, you get some of that there old vicodin or what?"

"oh you know i don't even know but boy! i took them two and i just fell out all on my ass, you know?"



it's still a huge store, and the general weirdness and lack of organization makes me love it all the more. any goodwill you go into anywhere in america is still going to bear a certain resemblance to every other goodwill...same for salvation army, savers, st. vincent de paul...the bigger chains. but little neighborhood stores, however trashy and kind of gross, are always unique, and i love that. who wouldn't?


like this - good example. a whole huge shelving unit of printers, scanners, copiers, and fax machines, most topping out at $10. i almost bought one because i know i could make at least one of these damn things work with my computer and i'm currently printerless, but i passed...technical problems with circuitry-based electronics aren't always so easy to spot, so i usually steer clear of secondhand stuff like this, at least stuff with no guarantee or warranty or whatever. anyway, moving on


the big flaw with this store is, for me anyway, the books. most clocking in around the $3/4+ range, which is just WAY too high for my purposes, and the selection generally sucking as it does, the fact that they have a TON of books just doesn't hold up in the face of the fact that most of them stink and are really overpriced.

as far as this one goes, i have a special bone to pick with this book. thrift stores are full (i mean literally PACKED) with self help books, which should tell you a little about their general effectiveness in the first place, but prevalent over all others is this gigantic steaming turd of a publication, "Passages," by one Gail Sheehy. i have a sore spot for it because my dad kind of pulled it out of his ass in response to me telling him that if i had to go to college any more i was going to kill myself...i think i get why he did it, but it still seems dismissive and makes me angry so in this case i'm choosing to shoot the messenger. i hate this book! seriously though the notion that all crises in life can be summed up and anticipated in advance and DEALT WITH BEFORE THEY OCCUR makes me nauseous to consider and points to the heart of what i loathe about almost all self-help literature: we can help each other, of course we can. but it can't, it can never work when it's so pathetically explicit. would you buy a book called "here listen to me i can help you?" of course not, no one would. well maybe if the title was that hilariously direct you might, but you get my point anyway. all the books, all the people, all the conversations that have helped me have done so in a wonderfully indirect manner that i didn't often get until years later, and that's the fucking way it's supposed to work, for god's sakes. do these people really not get that? that we all have to figure it out for ourselves or it's not going to f*cking mean anything? gaah


anyway. sorry about ranting and raving so much today. apparently there are a lot of important things in the world that will be solved or somehow helped by my ceaseless blathering, or at least i seem to think so. these director's chairs were $20 for the set, and if i had a patio or some kind of outdoor area, even a semi-sizable porch, i would have snapped them up because they're in very good shape if not cosmetically perfect.


also saw this thing, which is totally cute. didn't see a price but god DAMN it's cute


a word here, about clothes. for someone who goes to thrift stores as often as i do, it's kind of odd that i don't seem to pay attention to the clothes selection all that much. there are a few reasons for this:

1. people's tastes in clothes are extremely subjective, not to mention the sizes of said clothes that most people could fit into. what i see as cool or worth photographing or mentioning might be hideous to you. i understand that the whole idea of this project is sort of inherently subjective in that sense, but with clothes it feels even more tenuous than usual, partially because

2. it's not really an area of expertise for me. i look at clothes fairly often, and i think i have a halfway decent sense of style (living with an insanely stylish woman like my wife for five years has definitely instilled SOMETHING in me) but i'm not at all what you would call a clothes horse. ninety nine percent of the time you see me outside of the house i'm going to look like this:


so hunting for new clothes is not a huge concern for me. i wear suits, i've pretty much always worn suits, when one piece of my wardrobe bites the dust i just go out and replace it with the first fitting thing i find. not really worth writing about, you know?

3. this blog is ostensibly about my quest to acquire books to sell in my theoretical cool little hole in the wall bookstore, god willing. if i spent too much time cataloguing clothes it would distract from the somewhat literary bent i hope this whole thing has.

4. i look weird enough wandering around these stores with my little digital camera and notebook, if i went and started rifling through, oh, i don't know, say, the ladies' undergarments, TAKING PICTURES and whatnot, i think someone would just finally go ahead and call the fucking police. just a guess. and then what would you read, dear reader? what indeed?


moving on, on my way out i noticed a fairly beautiful painting, nicely framed and everything, for $20. there's a little rip in the front and the whole frame and everything is kind of on the dusty side, but the image is pretty great and you could easily clean it up, but between the einstein poster and all the other stuff i've found to go on our walls lately i couldn't justify picking it up. here's a detail shot:



also saw a POWER PAD BADASS i actually see a fair amount of these, more than any other nintendo peripheral, at thrift stores, and it always makes me think of this site, which is INDESCRIBABLY awesome (i got an advantage for myself for my birthday a couple years ago and whenever i feel too bummed out about being a grownup i pull it out and play thundercade on my emulator, just for maximum lulz) and they also sell installation kits so for the low low price of $10 for the power pad (okay that's a little high actually, i was kind of astonished that they'd charge so much for a 20 year old console peripheral) and $17 bucks for the kit plus what, $3 worth of soldering and elbow grease you could freaking have a power pad that you could use on your freaking computer! give it some thought and get back to me, f*ck wii sports, i'll come over and play world class track meet with you ANY TIME. literally

that about wraps it up, thanks again to vk and theooooo (i just got the confederacy of dunces thing this week btw, it's embarrassing that it took me that long - also go watch "house of cosbys" on youtube if you're already tired of me calling you theoooooooo) for the kind attention and promotion, i build my world on your backs, may the road rise to meet you, may the seed of your loins be fruitful in the belly of your woman, so on and so forth, and also thanks to my mom for giving me a legitimate excuse to hang out in bowling alleys. love ya!

Park Avenue Thrift Store
3899 Park Ave
Memphis, TN 38111
(901) 458-2010

m-sat 9-9
sun til 6

none that i could see. there were some signs but i wouldn't reasonably expect any of them to match up to the actual price you'd be charged for clothing or any other items, you know what i mean?

none, just extremely loud talking happening everywhere, which is its own type of music in a way if you think about it......sooo deeeep.....

that's it for this week, folks. didn't get anything at the park ave store so nothing to add there, just wanted to thank everyone for reading and let you know that i'm enjoying putting this all together easily 10x as much as you're enjoying reading it, and hope to do it every week into perpetuity, at least until the bookstore takes off, which won't be for quite a while anyway. be back next week with either the two stores i meant to visit today on presley or my first tentative foray into the untamed wilderness of summer ave. we'll have to wait and find out together. isn't that exciting? i think it is.

there was something else i was going to mention but fuck it, whatever. it obviously wasn't that important.

[edit: i remembered what the hell it was, or one part of it at least - please vote in my poll about the crucial issue of how you like to unroll your toilet paper, down on the right column of this very page...it's going to expire in eight days and the five votes i have so far (including my own) are nowhere NEAR enough for a valid consensus, so please, as responsible citizens, let me know what you think so i can finally decide how to organize my toilet paper. yes that is important to me. laugh it up if you want, but this stuff goes in my ass, so i feel like i should take it seriously. that make sense to you?]




theogeo said...

Ah, that special Park Avenue Thrift smell. I find an afternoon of rain enhances it immensely.

Scotta G said...

I love your blog! And Park Ave Thrift...all thrifts, really. Keep up the great posts!