6/24/2008 - Thrift Citi (Summer of Summer)

fair warning: the pregnant, nursing, elderly, infirm, underage or otherwise soft of mind or constitution, weak-willed, sissy-kneed, lilly-livered, easily shocked or offended or otherwise impressionable should probably skip this week's entry. nsfw. contents under pressure. light fuse and get away. do not taunt happy fun ball. you have been warned.

this week sucked ass.

my first and second choices both closed at 5, so i was kind of roped into going to thrift citi on the corner of summer and national. not a "bad" store so much as it is just uninspiring, which is almost kind of worse in the long run. give me a chewed up crumbling hovel full of raggedy assed junk any day of the week - at least there'll be something to write about.

i guess before i get into the real hardcore bitching and complaining i should pause to congratulate clifton wooley for running his ass off at the french riviera spa's first indoor marathon - i know third place isn't the most heroic finish but you know what cliff, you got out there and you tried, and we're all proud of you for it. i have no idea what an "indoor marathon" exactly comprises but i'm sure i couldn't do any better so from all of us here at the bitter/books organization, hats off to ya

if you'd like to see any of clifton wooley's other awards, or this other random lady's four bowling trophies, they're all proudly on display for your perusal here at thrift citi. didn't see any prices on them and i can't even begin to guess how much you'd charge for someone else's old bowling trophies...sort of begs the question "why in god's name is this shit even out here in the first place? is anyone seriously going to buy it" but i've learned, dear reader, in my travels through the thrift store twilight zone, that sometimes certain questions are best left unasked.

saw a couple books of mild interest - nothing earth shattering and the prices were nothing to write home about. the depths of my brokeitude continue to know no bounds so i've had to put the book acquisition on hold for the moment, and anyway this place is just another in a long line of stores i've visited that grossly overestimates the value of their merchandise, books not being the only department where i had to pause for a second after looking at a price tag and think to myself..."really?"

i only include this picture because while i was thoughtfully meandering down the shelves, lost in my usual literary reverie, i managed to walk straight into the corner of this god damned treadmill, pretty fucking hard actually. damn thing caught me right in the side of the eyebrow, almost raised a welt. certainly didn't do a whole lot to change my already sour opinion of this place - serious claustrophobia issues here, to be sure.

anyway this book caught my eye too, for some reason. maybe it's the baffling cover illustration - i guess it's supposed to be a bunch of stuff that kids might have questions about? egg shells, tiny men on motorcycles, alarm clocks, pocket change and butterflies...ahh, the mysteries of youth. could also be the author's name. not being a parent i certainly can't speak on this with any certainty, but i feel pretty confident in saying that i wouldn't necessarily trust someone named "arkady leokum" to give authoritative answers on anything to children.

finally have some photographic evidence here that judith krantz' trashy romance novels have been mis-filed all these years. despite all my gripes and complaints about this place at least they have the insight to put "scruples two" (top shelf, all the way on the left) in with the non-fiction where it belongs.

okay time for a new game i invented. it's called "famous 20th century author or invitation to vigorous sexual intercourse?" all you have to do is take the name of a writer of great renown from the years 1900-2000 and insert the word "my" after their first name and "baby" after their last, and then decide if you could keep a straight face if the person you were about to engage in athletic coitus with looked deep into your eyes and said it with sincere and honest passion. i'll give you a few examples and you can run with it from there. or not. whatevs.

so, armistead maupin, author of "tales of the city," "the night listener," and several other works of note, becomes, (spoken lustily and in soft focus like one of those shannon tweed skinemax movies from the mid-eighties):

"armistead my maupin, baby"

h.l. my mencken, ernest my hemingway, dorothy my parker...it just gets dirtier and dirtier. try it out on your spouse/significant other/random stranger you meet in an interstate highway rest stop bathroom today!

moving on, i had no idea the kingston trio recorded an album entirely in blackface. how racially insensitive of them. either that or they're being roasted alive in a giant oven. either way they don't seem too perturbed by the whole thing. i guess if chuck woolery (all the way on the left) played the banjo in my band i wouldn't mind either.

moving on again - quickly this time. one of the things that bugged the hell out of me about this place, aside from the poor organization, randomly overpriced junk and constant surveillance and scrutiny by the staff, was the way they combined secondhand stuff with new stuff and antiques, just all lumped in together. i don't mind if you have some slightly more valuable shit that you don't want to leave out on the killing floor for plebes like me to rub my grubby little hands all over, but devoting an entire half of your store to overpriced stereo equipment ($200/300 a pair for these speakers, no lie)

offensively overpriced watches, jewelry, personal electronics

knives (what is it with the knives? really? can someone please fucking tell me what it is with the god damned knives already?)

and "novelty" zippos (although i did think the slot machine ones were kind of cool) just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. make up your mind. thrift store, antique store, "boutique" clothing shop, flea market, scratch and dent appliance store...make up your mind.

and what the hell are you laughing at, fat boy? oh, right. everything.

maybe i'd better take a page from ol' gautama's book and chill the hell out. it's just a store, dude. calm down. look at the cables. look at the pretty pile of jumbly dirty old cables. isn't that nice?

look at the old beat up adding machine. isn't that great?

look at that! an old pram! can't you just picture mary poppins pushing some drooling little baby around in that thing? doesn't that just tickle you right where it counts?

okay, i think i'm chilled now. can you tell that i'm writing this week's entry in the morning, chugging coffee, instead of in the middle of the night, swilling wine? i can. this chair was totally beautiful, pretty reasonably priced (like $25 i think), in fairly good shape, and in with the rest of the furniture, where you'd hope it would be. perhaps all is not lost.

recipe for a rollicking friday night:
1 pot of Swiss Miss™ brand cocoa w/ calcium (diet)
2 pat boone lps (your choice)
1 happy god fearing family
this game.

i probably could not answer one f*cking question in this box, to no one's great surprise.

there was a whole bushel basket of these things. so classy. almost makes me want to pick up some of the ubiquitous discarded golf clubs that are at EVERY THRIFT STORE EVER ANYWHERE and head over to overton park for a few holes...almost. and by "holes" i mean "of golf." i've recently been informed that there are several other varieties of "holes" available for your perusal in overton park if you know where to look but i assure you, i'm referring to the golf variety.


quick note on clothes - there's a sign up in the window advertising their perpetual "50% off" sale on clothes. sounds exciting right? well once you get inside and look on the ends of the racks you'll find that a good chunk of the available product (in the men's department anyway) is exempt from said sale - sport coats, jeans, and this AMAZING collection of cosby sweaters:

very frustrating. if you're thinking of looking up further examples of this particular fashion phenomenon, i would advise against googling the phrase "cosby sweater" because you might end up seeing photographic depictions of this:

from Urbandictionary.com-

"1. Cosby Sweater:
The sexual act of eating Fruit Loops, Fruity Pebbles, Trix, and Boo Berry- or any other 'bright, colorful' breakfast cereals- and then vomiting the tacky, dazzling mixture onto your partner's chest. The result should look similar to the incredible sweaters that Bill Cosby wore during his highly successful 1980's sitcom "The Cosby Show"."

there you go. learned something new this week. as always if nothing else i hope that this blog is informative and educational, even if it's about things that you'd rather not know.

so yeah this week was a bit of a bust, dear reader, and i apologize. i've tried to compensate with gratuitous vulgarity and hideous sweater pictures but i imagine you can tell i didn't have a great time at thrift citi. i would advise anyone cruising summer ave to stop in and judge for themselves, but ONLY after hitting up the far superior stores outlined in the previous few weeks' entries.

before we scamper off i'd like to remind everyone that there are still six (6) days left to vote in the "mama so fat" poll in the right hand column of your screen, and to feel free to post your favorite snap in the comments if you don't see anything appropriately cold-blooded on the list. also since i haven't mentioned it in a while, feel free to leave a comment if you have any suggestions for future stores i should visit (once the summer of summer project comes to a close of course) or particular stuff you want me to keep an eye peeled for, etc etc and i'll try to accommodate your request.

Thrift Citi
3382 Summer Ave
Memphis, TN 38122
(901) 458-7154

m-sat 9-6
sun cl

who cares

like i said earlier, 50% off clothes, except anything you'd actually want to buy

one last thing. all this talk of cosbys...

until next time




still convinced this was just a series of typos

so here's the commercial appeal piece about yours truly, interspersed with several other local bloggers of note - some substantial, some dismissible...not really my call to make, to be sure.

for my part, my last name's misspelled and i can't believe they used the picture i sent them from my parents' 25th anniversary backyard barbeque where i look like an aspiring young mad scientist, but oh well. i'll let you all be the judges.

anyway file under heading
"(non)-local boy makes good..."

see you all next week, provided my sudden rush of fame doesn't compel me to go out and take up a trendy drug addiction of some sort or adopt several ethiopian children...i'm just saying, it could happen.




6/13/2008 - Summer Outlet (Summer of Summer)

hello and welcome back to bitter/books, gleefully plowing along through our "Summer of Summer" project, wherein i attempt to tackle all the pulchritudinous pleasures that summer avenue possesses, over the course of one long sweaty season here in beautiful memphis tennessee. we're on week three, and i won't lie, i'm really getting sick of typing the word "summer" already. unfortunately it's only going to get worse this week as we're getting up close and personal with the summer outlet, perhaps the most eclectic (another word i'm getting sick as hell of typing - i really need to invest in a thesaurus) of all the stores i've visited in our fair city.

quick reminder before we get started - this sunday's commercial appeal will feature a special section devoted to local bloggers, with a short profile of yours truly, along with several other local internet luminaries. while i haven't seen it personally, a trusted source on the inside tells me it looks pretty snazzy, so do yourself a favor and pick up a copy - i'll be available for autographs at a future date.

okay on with the show

so, summer outlet, summer ave, summer summer summer summer. where to begin. this store shares a parking lot with the two previous weeks' entries, the mid-south outlet and the DAV store, but somehow seems to exist in its own separate universe. it's hard to put your finger on exactly what makes this place so unique, but one obvious thing that occurred to me is that it's one of the few "proprietary" thrift stores in town - that is to say, owned and operated by one person as opposed to a group of people or some sort of organization, charitable or otherwise. walking into this store is, i imagine, very much like stepping into the owner's head, which gives the place an irreproducible charm, to be sure, but is also kind of...offputting, i guess? i don't know if that's exactly the right word but i've definitely had the feeling before in this store that i was invading someone's privacy, just because it's all so...personal, i guess. overthinking as usual, i know.

the first thing you notice when you walk in, assuming you can keep your eyes focused on one thing for long enough to notice ANYTHING, is the truly amazing amount of framed photographs adorning nearly every wall. this is what i mean about proprietary stores really showcasing their owners' personal little proclivities and obsessions. off the top of my head i remember seeing pictures of elvis, david bowie, the kennedys (24 hours before the assassination no less) and pola negri, and i wasn't even looking all that hard. about 4 more boxes of photos that there just weren't any room for on the walls sit on a shelf right next to the door, all available for purchase (and fairly cheap too, considering the quality/range of subjects)

fairly decent selection of clothes, if a little disorganized. i'm starting to develop mild claustrophobia from hitting up so many stores that are just packed to critical capacity with sh*t. in passing conversation with the owner during my previous visits i learned that a large portion of his stock comes from estates, that he works with families who have to dispose of or deal with all the possessions of a relative who's just passed away and have no clue what to do with all of it, so he'll come in, take the whole thing off their hands, sell what he can (and presumably dispose of or donate the rest). so the claustrophobic aspect becomes a little more understandable in that sense, to me anyway. i'd have a hard time keeping my stock lean and tight too if i knew it all belonged to someone who'd kicked off within the last week or two. i have a hard enough time tossing out the random junk i find on the sidewalk and bring home for no good reason...if it belonged to some dead guy whose family i had just met and spent time with? forget it, you wouldn't even be able to get in the door, there'd be so much crap stacked up everywhere.

the book selection didn't exactly floor me, and as the depths of my brokeitude CONTINUE to know no bounds, i wasn't really dead set on bringing anything home anyway, so i gave it the once over and moved on. it's wasn't "bad" per se...you can just tell in some stores it's not really a priority. oh well, can't have everything, right?

the furniture, on the other hand, is always bonkers. junky, goofy, eclectic, it's always the first thing i make a beeline to when i come by this store. in fact i believe the chair my own personal ass is sitting in as i write this came from this very room, along with a really high percentage of the stuff in my apartment. it's not usually top-shelf in terms of wear and tear, but it's always cheap and the most eccentric pieces i see on my travels around town are usually here. a month or two ago i saw i kitchen table, fairly plain in design and construction and whatnot, that someone had hand-painted a mural of their favorite bible scenes on top of, with the concurrent passages written in underneath. it was from the 40's and it almost made me cry. how i made it out of there without buying that damn thing i honestly don't know. i think my wife probably conked me on the head with the blackjack she keeps in her purse (for just such an occasion) and dragged me out to the car. i kind of suspect she does that a lot...maybe i'm not really a narcoleptic after all. that would explain all the bruises.

so this place kind of walks the line between "thrift store" and "boutique" or "resale shop," which is an important distinction for yours truly to make, if only to keep the scale of this project from spiraling out beyond all control. basically the boundaries between each informal little category fall along the lines of price, general quality and arrangement of merchandise, whether or not there is something with a picture of a wolf on it, profit vs. non-profit...there are a lot of factors, but usually the decision's kind of intuitive. you can just "feel" whether or not it's a thrift store when you walk in the door. this place definitely qualifies, but by the same token the guy who runs it's not an idiot, and if he happens to stumble across a gem like this amazing framed monkey poster thing while he's sorting through someone's esate, he's not going to give it away for $20 just because he runs a (and i quote) quote unquote "thrift store" endquote. so...yeah. monkey poster, $425. still a steal if you ask me.

on to my personal favorite section of most thrift stores, the "shelves covered in random huge piles of junk" section. i love a good ironic t-shirt as much as the next guy, and i always endeavor to bring home a stack of books (when finances allow), but something about the "odds and ends" section just embodies the wide open, balls out, i have no idea what's about to happen sprit that makes thrifting so much fun in the first place more than any other part of the store, usually. this was no disappointment. lamps lamps lamps, black and white tvs, stereo components, alarm clocks...am i the only one who just wants to crawl into this pile of stuff and curl up into a little ball and just sleep for days?

some highlights - this fisher-price walkie talkie baby monitor thing, like so much other crap i see just nosing around, basically just strapped me to a rocket and shot me back into my childhood. my first tape player (i called it my "stereo" even though it only had one speaker) was a brown plastic fisher price job with big brown buttons on the top and a spring-loaded eject mechanism that could literally break your knuckles, it made the tape pop out so god damned fast. OH AND there was a little built in mic so you could record yourself walking around and talking...is it any great surprise that most of my generation seems to be so in love with the sound of their own voices?

finally spotted a commodore 64...i'm surprised it took me this long. although this was a couple years before my time i still really love looking at these things when i see them in thrift stores (which has been fairly often, over the years) and trying to piece together exactly how they worked, what it must have been like when that was the cutting edge of technology, what all the little hieroglyphics on the underside of the keys mean. then i stop and realize that younger people than i do the same thing nowadays when they see super nintendo consoles, and i weep a little, silently, to myself.

speaking of nostalgia, here's the requisite easy bake oven. although i never played with one of these as a kid (honestly...no, really) they still crack me up, mostly because...


moving on

so this store is kind of awkwardly shoehorned into what used to be a residential building (read: a house), which as i've mentioned before, is one of the things i love about going to thrift stores, the way that they adapt to the space they're given, kind of like those crabs that take up residence in whatever random objects they find lying around (tin cans, old shoes, various other trash and detritus) and wear them around like shells...seriously, that actually happens. i'd tell you exactly what kind of crabs they were but my google search for "trash crabs" didn't turn up anything useful...imagine that. maybe i dreamed the whole thing up. anyway here's kitchenware

and THIS damn thing, which just looks like a god damned electric chair. i guess it's a training toilet? i can't imagine putting a child in one of those things, but then again my folks trained me the same way they housebroke the dogs - shove their nose in it and hit 'em with a rolled up newspaper

just another way that these little hole in the wall, labor of love stores showcase their owner's personality so amusingly well. this really tickled me, just that he didn't even think to put a sign up with the price of the glasses on it, his first impulse was to remind people who were just sort of casually browsing along that if they needed to replace any glasses at home that they'd broken that this would be the right place to get those glasses from...does that make any sense? hilarious in a way that i apparently cannot explain properly.

there were a few racks like this - "take your pick, 75 cents/45 cents/whatever" that are another thing i love about smaller stores that don't have a mandate on pricing coming down the pipeline from corporate. if the guy thinks it's only worth 75 cents, or he's just tired of looking at it, or whatever, boom. there you go. sale rack. with these smaller operations it almost starts to veer off into garage sale territory, although i would never advocate treating any of these places (or any thrift stores, or any stores in general for that matter) like a garage sale or a fucking flea market or something and trying to haggle or talk the owner/manager/person behind the cash register down on stuff, unless you really and truly believe that it's mistakenly overpriced. this kind of stuff drives me nuts, for reasons i can't exactly put my finger on. a yard sale is one thing, i'll cut prices left and right if i think it's workable, but coming into a retail store that someone's trying to earn a living running, or god forbid a store whose profits (ostensibly) go to charity and trying to shave off five bucks because the perfectly operational cd player you're trying to buy for 7.50 has a little scuff mark on one side? give me a break. sorry if i'm kind of going off here but it's always been a pet peeve of mine, after working in retail for a while (record store, video store...yeah, i was that guy) and seeing how greedy and opportunistic people get as soon as something has the indelible mark of "used" or "secondhand" on it. you're already saving so much money. it's cheap, just shut up and buy it already.

also quite a sizable amount of old sheet music, mainly just piano scores from pop tunes of the 20's, 30's, that era. i love this stuff and although my sight reading skills are for shite nowadays (i could only ever really "read" bass clef anyway) i'm always tempted to take a few home and freshen up the ol' chops a little. probably cheap too, and they're also really beautiful looking, all with the art deco and filigree and whatnot...i wonder how much it would cost to frame one of these up. probably not too much. hmm.




AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhey nice top hat! these mannequin head things just scared the living bejesus out of me, for some reason. they belong in a god damned marilyn manson video, not advertising hats in a thrift store, for god's sake. there's some kind of david lynch vibe going on here that just chills me and fascinates me at the same time. if i were still printing photographs i could probably put together a whole freaking gallery show on these bad boys alone...someday.

anyway that'll just about do it for this week. thanks for reading, thank you to my SALAD HAWG lindsey for dropping my name for that newspaper thing, thanks to the carlo rossi corporation for providing the cheap, delicious burgundy wine that fuels my creative fire, and a special thank you to frigidaire for making the air conditioner that's keeping me from drowning in my own back sweat right now. love ya lots!

Summer Outlet
3466 Summer Ave
Memphis, TN 38122
(901) 327-6550

m-sat 10-6:30
sun cl

actually about three or four different music selections, playing on different stereo systems all throughout the store, which you'd think would make you nauseous, but it's all at such an unobtrusive volume that it kind of just shades the different rooms with a delightful sonic curtain of background noise. everything from billie holiday to abba. cool

specials: none really, i get the sense that ol' boy's got his hands pretty full just keeping the place in some relative kind of order and dealing with all the stuff coming in and going out on a daily basis so i wouldn't really look for price slashing sales here, especially when the second cheapest store in town is right next door.

before i go i should announce that "aldi's owl brand/other" took the proverbial cake in our "favorite wine for under $5 a bottle" poll, which didn't generate the kind of buzz i was hoping it would, so maybe we'll have better luck with our next one, "your moms is so fat..." which will be running until the end of the month. i've reduced the number of choices to keep the options from becoming too terribly overwhelming, but if nothing's clicking with you just feel free to post your favorite "momma so fat" snap in the comments. that's what they're there for, people. if you're having trouble with inspirato just watch this. it will teach you everything you need to know about crackin' on someone's moms:

until next time, me lovelies.



6/9/2008 - DAV (Summer of Summer)


wait. no. i mean welcome back to bitter/books. yeah. sorry. do i secretly wish that i worked at the dopest of all dark-ages-themed restaurants? maybe. but alas and alack it's only me here, continuing our summer-long foray into the uncharted wilderness of beautiful summer avenue here in steamy, sultry, sweaty memphis tennessee, blogging my little behind off for your edification and enjoyment. so, lads and lasses, knights and knaves, serfs and sultans, without further ado let's dig in to this metaphorical mutton leg of secondhand goodness at the Disabled American Veterans Thrift Store...i promise i'll stop with the medieval times sh*t. try to, anyway.

this particular DAV (being one of two extant in our fair city) is adjacent to last week's subject, the Mid-South Outlet, in between national st and highland. if you were driving by they'd almost look like the same store, considering they share a physical structure, parking lot, and awning, but there are a lot of differences between the two. the DAV is bigger, just in terms of raw square footage, and FEELS bigger too, but lacks that certain claustrophobic spark of brilliance that makes seasoned secondhand warriors like yours truly salivate. what it lacks in (as the french say), a certain, i don't know quoi, it more than makes up for with savings, usually running not one but TWO color coded discounts per day, and far and away taking the cake for the oddest recurring special offer in town - half off on the second to last tuesday of every month. how they came up with that is utterly beyond this humble adventurer's ability to even theorize about, but (to paraphrase tennyson or some such other old dead guy) ours is not to reason why, ours is but to thrift and die...wow, that sounds really morbid. oh well if those are our two choices i guess we should be pressing on then, eh?

you'll have to forgive all the establishing shots (as they say in tinseltown), the place is really huge but it's sectioned up into about six smaller roomlike areas instead of the warehouse/airplane hangar model that most of the stores outside of the highway loop seem to favor, and i wanted to cover it all, or try to anyway. so this is the first room, nothing but women's clothes. unfortunately i was not rolling with any hot ladies on this particular occasion so i didn't get into them too much but it's the usual suspects in this department as far as i could see...the pricing scheme is competitive with any store in town and with the half off color tags and various other sales going on all higgledy piggledy you're bound to save money somehow.

menswear. more on this later.

knicks and/or knacks, about three aisles worth, along with records, tapes, cds, books, and a surprisingly high quantity of magazines, another thing i've never understood. does the average issue of US weekly really retain much readability after, say, seventeen years? i don't know. boutique counter and separate register in the back, useful to keep in mind in case the front checkout gets swamped, which it definitely will from time to time. not pictured: more people being really really mean to their kids. god this makes me angry. i literally walked around the corner after taking this picture and interrupted a woman about to deliver a truly vicious looking backhand to a kid who, as far as i could tell, was not really doing much of anything aside from standing around. i'm not saying parents shouldn't discipline their kids, in fact quite the opposite, but i would heartily encourage any parents (or prospective ones) reading this to try and take advantage of the fact that you're SMARTER than your kids (if you are, that is) rather than the fact that you're bigger than them - seems to be more effective.

little furniture/electronics/mishmash room, adjoining

MUCH bigger furniture room, stacked about four rows deep with couches, chairs, cabinets, tables, shelves, recliners, you name it really. some good stuff and some obviously past its prime stuff, but always worth a look, in my experience. of course, as is usually the case in thrift stores, if you find something great the biggest hitch is trying to get it out of there in one piece without killing yourself, but no one ever said you weren't going to have to get your hands dirty a little, eh squire?

and of course, because i perpetually fear that you, my dear readers, think i'm exaggerating about the sheer volume of golf clubs and crutches that i see for sale week after week, here they are in all their confounding glory, along with the suitcases (kind of a weak selection, comparatively) and a nice little add-on: some walkers, complete with cut up tennis balls to keep the rubber pads on the bottom from scuffing up the floor as you hobble around. another thing i'm always tempted to buy, for no good reason. i try as hard as i can to keep the amused chuckles to a minimum when i see these bad boys in action, though...i probably won't be laughing as hard when it's my turn to strap one on and shuffle around the supermarket, squeezing onions and forgetting what day of the week it is. wait a second i already do that

okay, down to brass tacks. time to stop being polite, and start getting real. NATION TIME! so a good chunk of the nicer stuff in the realm of housewares and various other errata is consolidated in and around the back counter, the "boutique" (as they like to call it) area...i'm reserving the word "whatnots" for later. you'll see why. but yeah so this neat little single cup coffee filter thing like they always serve in the vietnamese restaurants was a dollar and i was sorely tempted but had to pass on, both because of my complete and total brokeitude and also because there is literally no room left in our kitchen for anything to go anywhere at all. i love our apartment but how one goes about designing a kitchen with no (zero, 0) drawers in it is utterly beyond me. also these dishes were cool - set of 16 for i want to say $30 i think. yeah.

so yeah the magazines, as much as i like to pick on stores for keeping so many around, occasionally you find a gem like this that justifies the whole thing. i bit my knuckle in serious consternation about whether or not to snag this, for the devo interview alone (something nuts like 8 pages), not to mention all the hilarious ads for synthesizer equipment, but decided to leave it for someone else to find and be amazed by. my brokeass version of "paying it forward" i guess.



to be perfectly honest the salad hawgs were kind of scaring the crap out of me a little, reminding me as they did of the single creepiest music video i have ever seen in my life, ever. if you've not seen it (GASP) or your memory is a little hazy, carve out 5 1/2 minutes from your obviously busy schedule (if you're here reading this then you must really not have much else to do, i assume) and remind yourself why primus used to be the greatest band on the planet, before les claypool decided to become a jam musician and play in stupid bands with the guy from phish and stuart copeland...ugh.

so, i see a fair amount of these nice-looking silver plated serving trays around, of wildly varying levels of quality and disrepair, usually nothing a little tarn-x wouldn't fix, and it always makes me think. i understand that as space-age modern americans on the go, most of us probably don't have occasion to make much use of this kind of stuff, let alone take the time to purchase and repair some of the rougher specimens that pop up...but how hard would that be to change, really? i'm not advocating letting modern society grind to a halt while we all sit on the back porch and sip brandy alexanders or anything, i'm just saying...how much nicer do you think you'd feel about yourself if you took a couple extra minutes and ate your lunch off of one of these sumbitches every once in a while? a lot nicer, is how much nicer i think you'd feel. a lot.

so yeah, on the subject of "whatnots," which i always assumed was just a pet word of mine that i'd never see in any sort of "official" capacity, if you can call this official of course, but here it is, crackin' me up to no end. ironically the whatnots is one of the areas where this particular DAV is kind of thin - it really is one of the better overall stores, not to jump the gun on the final estimation or anything, but it is indisputably thin in certain areas, "whatnots" being one of them, but then again

any store that can claim to have about a dozen sets of chopsticks, a christmas tree that seems to be made out of throat lozenges glued to a cone of foam, and several plastic hot dog containers (what in the hell is a plastic hot dog container) all on the same shelf can't exactly be called "thin" when it comes to the whatnots, now can it. full disclosure, i definitely arranged this little tableau for photographic purposes, but all this stuff was within arm's reach on the same shelf before i got there, i promise.

on a related note, a couple weeks ago one of my friends asked me how exactly i managed to keep my bearings on these little treks, when surrounded by all this weird, wonderful stuff to shoot and scribble and try (in hilarious and utter futility) to capture, and of course the short answer is i don't keep my bearings at all, i just careen around like a dorky white pinball, taking pictures and making notes willy nilly, and putting it all into some semblance of order later on, but the truth is you sort of develop almost like a kind of tunnel vision where you just focus on whatever object is currently occupying the center of your field of view and try to blot out everything else, if for no other reason than to keep from getting distracted, if that doesn't sound too weird. i only mention it here as a sort of general piece of advice for any aspiring thrift junkies out there who can't imagine how they could keep their heads screwed on straight in the midst of all this delightful detritus, and anyone who wonders how i get any kind of narrative thread going among all this clutter. you just go from one thing to the next and let the story tell itself, if that doesn't sound too unbearably pretentious. yeah probably

so yeah also a bunch of greeting cards? maybe they have these in other stores too but i can't think of any that i've seen, not that i would be looking for greeting cards in a thrift store, but i suppose that just shows you how narrow minded i can be. i mean i guess it makes sense, everyone has birthdays from time to time and last i checked, things like christmas were still occurring at regular intervals, so if you're the type who likes to stock up in advance to avoid the crunch on occasions like that, then i guess this is for you, it's just...am i the only one who sees this as a little strange? maybe i'm just a fussy baby but i think i would feel weird giving someone a "get well soon" card that i knew came from a box next to a big pile of broken toasters or whatever. like i said though, me = weird, maybe.

ugh. man. sorry if this starts to get a little bit jumbled, here and there. my head is killing me, i was up until 4 last night playing Grand Theft Auto and drinking Sparks™ brand caffeinated energy beverage drink (what, did you think i just read tolstoy all night and turn in after a hot toddy or two?) so i'm a little out of it and you know what this picture is DEFINITELY not helping. it's like rob zombie shot a sports illustrated calendar or something. what you can't see in the picture is this was an album of like "lite popular favorites" or something...if you put this image on the cover of an album nowadays everyone would assume like "psychobilly freakout" or "electric kool aid love in" or some such shit like that, but i guess back in the day this said "easy listening" to most people. strange days, ladies and gentlemen...strange days.

moving on to clothes, where a veritable kaleidoscope of colors awaits the intrepid adventurer. i feel that my camera didn't do this one justice, though, as the reptillian shimmer that i remember so clearly from seeing this tie doesn't seem to come across in the finished image, which is a real shame. i remember thinking clearly that if i saw this thing wrapped around someone's neck my first impulse would probably be to hit it with a large stick, rather than congratulate them on being so fashion forward...this being another great example of why i try not to carry large sticks around.

also not really coming across here is the vaguely unctuous shade of turquoisey teal of these pants, which almost sold me a used car without even having a used car salesman inside of them but then LOOKOUT

HEYO! i was about to say these shorts should come with a warning label but upon further consideration i think they actually ARE a warning label...for what, i don't know, but don't you feel vaguely alarmed, just looking at them? someone call homeland security

there were five of these. don't really know what else to say about that, aside from the fact that whenever i see that many copies of the same shirt i'm always somewhat tempted to buy them all and pass them out to my friends the next time we go bar hopping, just to see the looks on people's faces, because really, five shitfaced strangers stumbling down the street is one thing, but five shitfaced strangers stumbling down the street in IDENTICAL MATCHING SHIRTS is just like a one way ticket to happy town for anyone lucky enough to see them, i think. it's kind of like catching a leprechaun, except instead of good luck or three wishes or a pot of gold you might get a little puke on your shoes if you stand too close. somehow that's a good thing in my book?

okay, here we go. [in the voice of "the count" from sesame street] ONE t-shirt from a movie that probably didn't need to have a t-shirt made for it...ah ah ah ah ahhhh....

TWO t-shirts from movies that probably didn't need to have t-shirts made for them...ah ah ah ah ahhhhh....

THREE t-shirts from movies that probably didn't need to have t-shirts made for them...ah ah ah ah ahhhh....

[normal voice again] okay, thank you for indulging me. i was sorely tempted to pick this shirt up as well. even though the hot topic-i-zation of our society has virtually guaranteed that every single thing that i liked from my childhood will eventually end up on a t-shirt somewhere, the power of green eggs and ham is so great that it transcends all attempts to cash in on nostalgia and irony and still remains unquestionably badassed, at least in this humble chronicler's opinion. once more, for the record...not in a house, not with a mouse. moving on.

stores do this sometimes, to my mixed amusement and confusion, they put out a "vintage" rack which, as in this case, is usually stocked mainly with hideous-looking beauty pageant gowns from 10+ years ago, which i guess qualifies as "vintage" in the mind of your average thrift store employee, but then again occasionally they throw in a snazzy pantsuit like this here and redeem the whole endeavor

or this neat looking dress/jacket combo, neither of which were all that expensive to begin with and of course would be STEALS if you happened to come back on a half-off day. usually most stores use the "vintage" or "boutique" or "better" qualifiers as an excuse to jack the price up through the ceiling, but my recollection is that wasn't the case here, which i applaud wholeheartedly. just wanted to mention that.

also wanted to mention, apropos of nothing really, the pretty impressive little collection of pajamas, bathrobes, kimonos, etc laid out in between the men's and women's clothing areas, none of which cost more than $5 that i could see. odd thing to feature so prominently, but hey what do i know, right

okay home stretch time...almost there. you still with me, gang? AWESOME looking pair of italian shoes that were, sadly, a few sizes too small for yours truly but definitely reminded me to mention that i see this kind of stuff all the time, even if i don't think to shoot it, and i think it's one of the more underappreciated areas of secondhand merch that should really get more attention...i've seen so many gorgeous, barely touched pieces of italian footwear for an unbelievably tiny fraction of their initial cost at thrift stores over the years, it would make your head spin, but people tend to cruise right past the shoes in my experience, which is a real shame. i do it too, i'm no saint or anything, i'm just saying. take an extra minute next time you find yourself at goodwill or wherever and look over the footwear, you might just find a gem like this.

and last but not least, the one that got away. i've been looking for basically this exact thing for weeks and weeks now, but due to a combination of a total lack of funds on my part and a little bit of timidity when it comes to taking such a bold step forward, fashion-wise, i didn't pick it up. was i wise to exercise restraint? i'll post the evidence here and let history judge me as it will.

and that will do it for this week's excursion - sorry for the novella length entry, but i felt like the last couple were a little lacking in depth, and this DAV is one of the bigger, more eclectic stores on Summer Ave, so i thought i'd really dig in and try to show what was going on. as usual i only scratched the surface, as you can probably piece together for yourself, and as always i encourage everyone to go and see the place with your own two eyes, this silly little travelogue of course being no substitute for firsthand experience. so yeah all in all one of the better all around stores in town, price/selection/character-wise, and as i wrote in my notes for this trip, "i feel like it's my duty girl / to satisfy that booty girl" OOPS wait wrong page i meant to say "you can't thrift in memphis without going to summer ave and you can't go to summer ave without going here." best to leave it at that i think

Dav Thrift Store
3440 Summer Ave
Memphis, TN 38122
(901) 327-4661

m-sat 8:30 - 6:30

music: usual pop hits nonsense, totally tuned out by me. special thanks to the gentleman who was trying out a boombox by playing the tape containing the "back it up and dump it on me" song over and over again at extremely high volume for singlehandedly making my day

specials: half off two color tags every day, clearly labeled at the front of the store, half off on the second to last tuesday of every month, and occasionally i think half off just because they feel like it.

before i bid you farewell this week, a couple administrative notes: the special section of the newspaper that i've been blathering about for weeks now is going to apparently run on the 15th of this month, that would be this upcoming sunday, in the commercial appeal, featuring a short profile on yours truly as well as many other local blogging luminaries. i'll post a link somewhere whenever relevant information emerges, and probably send out an email alert (since this is crucial info that i think everyone should have, natch) or something along with the next entry, which should be in the pipeline by the end of the week. also as it stands currently, "other" is in the lead in our "favorite wine for under $5 a bottle" poll, edging out night train and making me curious as to what exactly people have had in mind when casting their votes - don't be afraid to leave a comment and make your voices heard, people. that's what we at bitter/books INC, LLC are here for. for you, and only you. not your mom, not the guy sitting behind you in the hat, not nikita khrushchev...just you. you want to know why?

because you're special.

you stay classy memphis