4/21/08 - Bountiful Treasures

i had a stupid day!

being, as i am, a pretty stupid person in general, i'm prone to having entire days comprised of just doing nothing but wandering around thinking to myself, "why am i doing this right now? this is really stupid."

on monday, my only day off this week from the JOB THAT ATE CLEVELAND, which i will, coincidentally, be bailing on at the end of the month, for the greener pastures of unemployment, i went and ran some errands, went to our storage unit, and then just started driving down poplar. just aimlessly, endlessly driving down the most annoying street in memphis tennessee, listening to npr report on the skyrocketing prices of gas and looking for...what, exactly? thrift stores? nope, i've got that mapped out well into the suburbs and i knew there weren't any. book stores? nope, also know the locations of most of the major local ones and aside from davis kidd (which i'd just been to) and the borders in the strip mall in germantown, nothing shaking there.

so what the hell was i doing? apparently trying to find a place to eat a crappy burrito, as i finally managed to snap myself out of my reverie and turn around at the taco bell in collierville, over 20 miles away. i barely managed to slink home, exhausted and ashamed at my fast food consumption, and take a power nap before i could even attempt to reload and try to do something of some substance with this one day off that i was being granted.

a bunch of other stupid shit transpired in between then and the relevant portion of this entry, but to avoid too much voluminous whining about all the ways a boring white guy can waste his days off from work (i know, i know...that's sort of what this whole damn project is about in the first place), let's just skip ahead to the part where i, on the verge of just writing the whole day off as a tremendous failure, stumble across a diamond in the proverbial rough of the out of the way hodgepodge of crap that constitutes most of "american way" south of the highway:

the "bountiful treasures" thrift store, in a fairly innocuous looking little strip of shops off to one side of the "american way," the name of which still makes me giggle just to consider. isn't that one of the things superman was supposed to fight for or something? anyway the store would be easy enough to miss if you weren't paying attention - the sign's not huge and most people drive through there at a fairly good clip, so you'd have to be paying attention, as i was, at least halfway.

the store has the sort of cookie cutter interior that you'd expect from something just jammed into a strip mall - carpeted floors, drop ceiling, little side rooms...it could have just as easily been a law office or something instead of the miraculous mishmash of thrifty delights that it turned out to be, like

these totally sweet vintage little tv dinner trays. i've totally caught my wife's silly ass bento box fever so i'm all into compartmentalizing food now and these seem like they'd be AMAZING for little ocd dinner parties - perfect for the friend or family member who breaks out into hives whenever the peas touch a potato and would probably have a seizure if they had to try and eat one of those kfc bowl meal things - or, as patton oswalt calls them, "a failure pile in a sadness bowl."



come to think of it, i tried to eat one of the damn things once and i almost lapsed into a coma myself. why are they so f*cking popular? whatever.

these gorgeous art deco little serving tray things, like $2.50 a piece i think. fill that bitch with some cheddar flavored store brand snack mix from schnucks and hey! it might as well be the god damned super bowl!

and this 15 or 16 piece glass set (the green ringed ones) for $6. if i wasn't on the verge of replacing my entire collection of glasses with those unbelievable frosted plastic restaurant tumblers from lit (and then getting my head chopped off by my wife when she finds out) i would totally snap these up. almost a MUST have.

this place really runs the gamut though, from your usual selection of neglected old polaroid cameras to like this astonishingly nice king size sleigh bed for $375 that wouldn't look out of place in any antique store in town. i think this thing is just straight up beautiful - nice dark finish on the wood, and aside from some scratches and dings basically in good shape, as far as i could tell - and i definitely put it in my "come back through and snag this" list for when we buy a house someday, assuming it's still there. the fact that i was the only customer for the 30/40 minutes i was in the store makes me think it might be. hope so.

there would be more pictures, MANY more actually, of the old school projection tv setup from the mid 80's that i coveted so desperately and openly, to the entire room full of speakers and stereo equipment and electronics, to the sweet ass set of metal coasters for $4 that i really wanted to buy, but i had an interesting experience: i actually talked to someone. normally when i "do" a store (forgive the turn of phrase, i hate saying it as much as you probably hate hearing it but it's apt here) i usually come in, glide around in as anonymous of a fashion as i can muster being a weird looking 6 foot tall white guy in a beat up old suit, take my little pictures, make my little notes and get the hell out. being that i was the only customer though, one of the ladies who ran the place saw me taking pictures and making notes and wandered over to ask me what was up, an understandable thing, considering.

we got to talking, me trying to describe the blog/project without sounding like too much of a complete obsessive freak, her trying to figure out if i was trying to price compare/scam her/blatantly lying or just insane or otherwise undesirable, and she noticeably blanched when i mentioned the prospect of taking pictures. while she didn't come right out and say "i don't want you taking pictures in here," i definitely got the drift that she was pretty unhappy with the general state of disorganization (which i unsuccessfully tried to convince her was actually head and shoulders above most other stores in town that i've been to, which at this point is, you know, a LOT) and would really like me not to visually document the whole thing.

SO, i was faced with a unique conundrum. where's the compromise point where i try to be respectful of someone's wishes (i mean, i would like to be able to go back to the store at some point in the future, you know) and still do what i feel like i need to do to make a good entry and promote the store and have enough material for me to be able to say something useful or significant about it at all?

i ended up not taking any more pictures (except for one or two that i just had to sneak because it was too important - sorry) and resigning myself to leaving what i actually think is one of the cooler, less trafficked stores in town largely undocumented out of respect for the proprietor's wishes. i gave her the web site address though, and i hope, having seen the end product of all my scribbling and clicking, maybe next time she'll let me take some more pictures and see that i'm here to try to inform and educate people about good stores, which she definitely runs, while still being entertaining and silly and stupid and gross and weird and all that good stuff that you, my millions and millions of readers (permit me my delusions, please) have come to know and love so dearly over the course of like these four weeks or however long i've been doing this.

here are the books i ended up getting

so, final summation - great store, good prices (books like 50/99 cents or so), good specials (bags of clothes for $7 - crazy), friendly staff, totally worth the drive and i'm not just saying that because one of the proprietors might be reading, i promise. if you go, please tell them you heard about it from me and maybe next time i go back i can give it the FULL writeup it deserves.

Bountiful Treasures Thrift Store
4330 American Way
Memphis, TN 38118
(901) 794-6830

m-f 9-6
sat 9-5

pop r+b radio station just playing in the background - apropos, i mostly tuned it out

specials: aside from the bags of clothes for $7 i didn't see any but without pictures to fall back on there is a definite possibility that i saw several important things that are worth relating and have now forgotten them entirely.

and that, sadly, will do it for this week. didn't have time enough or planning or forethought or wherewithal to hit any other stores - bummer. that's okay though, because next week i'll probably go for nancy's if i'm feeling sufficiently burly and then you get not one (1), not two (2), but THREE (3) solid weeks of haunted hayrides down memory lane as i take you all back to my formative years thrifting in the snow covered, salt encrusted metropolis of my childhood, syracuse new york. i'm going back, ostensibly, for a close friend's bachelor party and subsequent wedding (assuming we all survive atlantic city) but i'll be hitting up some of my old thrift store stomping grounds along the way too, and hope to (ear)wax nostalgic for a while with ya about where i'm from before returning to memphis towards the end of the month, rolling up my sleeves and preparing to tackle the white whale of the memphis thrifting experience: summer ave. are you ready? i'm not.

until then, may the road rise to meet you...just not TOO quickly.

your pal



theogeo said...

I can't wait to see your review of Zombie Jamboree.

taterhead said...

you really need to get on twitter.com

David said...

LOLed at 'OCD dinner party.' When I come to memphis, we'll have one. I'll count all the kernels on my corn cob.