Salvation Army Kirby Whitten Rd

oh friends. do i have a tale to tell. i have been to the belly of the beast and i escaped alive.

this is the exterior of the new salvation army family store they opened in bartlett on kirby whitten road. as i mentioned in a previous post, they shut down the danny thomas facility to relocate way the hell out here in the boonies (which i'm not too happy about, still) but hell and ass did they build one serious facility.

your first impression when you walk in is "wow, it's huge. and it's clean. and it's huge and clean and WHAT THE HELL IS ALL THIS CRAP." that was mine, anyway. it looks like a marshall's, or tj maxx. it looks like a god damned department store.

there's a book area.

there are oceans of racks of clothes and shirts and whatnots.

there are large, clean, spacious dressing rooms.

with little bench things. forgive me if i'm a little out of practice, but i haven't written one of these large scale "overview of a new store posts" in a while.

there were a buttload of good cheap shoes which is a god's honest miracle, along with

a goodly amount of solid, clean kitchenware. clearly they were pulling out all the stops for this one.

i was in the market for some additional bedding and boy did they not disappoint. tons of quilts, blankets, sleeping bags, and sheets, all for fairly reasonable prices.

the "art" is almost always the most specious part of any thrift store but they had a few things that might have actually passed muster as home decorations, including that small portrait on the lower right that was selling for around $45 i think and would have made a snazzy addition to my walls if my walls weren't made of plaster and next to impossible to hang anything on.

LOTS of really nice furniture, much like the other premium salvo on austin peay, like this divan-ish lounge chair sort of thing that was selling for around $50 i think, not a bad deal at all.

this is when it started to get hairy. i had filled up an entire (regrettably small) cart with clothes, bedding, various fooferah and whatnots and had decided to buy what i had and take it out to the car so i could come back in and load up another round (a first, in recent experience anyway) and the last thing i snagged was a REALLY NICE set of dishes for one, for about ten bucks. so i go up and pay for my shit, take it out and by the time i get back inside they've brought out ANOTHER ENTIRE SET of the same amazing dishes, right where the last ones were. so i bought them too.

and then it got really nuts. i saw these two sets of church bench chair things for like a little over 100, really clean and nicely upholstered, and i began to sweat.

i saw these two beautiful black upholstered office chairs for around 50 a piece and i began to shake.

this wine cabinet thing almost sent me into fits. what IS this place, i asked myself?

i apologize if this entry is lacking in the usual witty digressive banter but looking at these pictures i'm just bowled over again at the unbelievable caliber of the merch they were just constantly slinging out onto the floor at this place. that's a PERFECT looking deco armoire thing, couldn't have been more than a bill and change. god, why do i not have room for this shit?

weirdass 80's bedroom set thing, basically untouched. where does this crap come from? is this the kind of stuff they donate to charity out in white-flight-land?

the books, by the way, were very reasonably priced, although i am not, have not been, and probably will not ever be again in the market for buying any of them. still, it was nice to know.

and TONS of vhs/dvd/records and cds and stuff. the old guy was extra. i asked. actually, remember him. he factors in later.

i didn't buy any movies, but i was SORELY tempted to pick this classic up, BIBLEMAN, starring one willie aames of "charles in charge" semi-fame. the pictures on the back of this thing were laughable, but i wisely concluded that picking it up and looking at it and giggling was about the maximum amount of amusement i was going to gleam from this particular object, so actually bringing it up to the counter and plunking down money for it and taking it home would have been a mistake. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN IT CAN BE TAUGHT.

i already have a pretty solid camping shovel but this was still tempting. i will say if this store was lacking in anything it was the sort of "large dirty metal things just sort of lying around" department but thankfully there are a dozen other stores in town that seem to SPECIALIZE in that so it was no big deal.

see these woks? these woks were enormous and they were 12 bucks a piece and i SO bought the one on the right because it was huge and heavy and a bodum and you could fit a whole cat in it (I WOULD NEVER) and so i had to get it. there happened to be a LOT of things i had to get that day.

by this point i was getting dizzy, just stumbling around snapping random pictures of things. this tiny kitchen cauldron and weird matched set of cow glasses, for example.

not one,

but TWO grandfather clocks. really? TWO grandfather clocks in the same thrift store? i began to suffer under the delusion that this was all an elaborate prank, a la "the truman show" or something. my kneecaps began to sweat. i thought of escape, all the while tossing things into my cart.

when i saw this green glass bookkeeper's lamp, i knew it was time. i had to make a desperate break for freedom. i could hear my bank account weeping softly in the distance. just for perspective's sake, i haven't had to MAKE myself leave a thrift store in almost three years, since the days of the almighty value village in houston, but i had to do it this day. in my mad dash for the exit i caught a few last fleeting glimpses of the terrifying paradise i was barely escaping with my sanity (and credit limit) intact.

i will tell you this, dear readers. don't make the arduous journey out to the wild wastelands of bartlett without your head screwed on straight, or this place will flip you upside down and steal your wallet (albeit in exchange for a bunch of amazing shit). let me put it this way: i spent a little over 100 bucks. regular readers of this internet blogging writing spacing thing will know that i am a discriminating shopper, in addition to being a very poor, stingy, miserly fellow, but there were just SO MANY things i couldn't say no to, SO MANY things i'd been looking for forever, SO MANY things that i wouldn't have been able to look at myself in the mirror knowing i let slip through my fingers that i handed over my card (both times) with a huge smile on my face, and i don't regret a god damned penny that i spent there. but the usual rules apply:

1. set aside some extra time
2. set aside some extra money
3. and for god's sake, don't have any expectations. just look at what's there and appreciate it and see what you see, and buy what you like.

i'll be back next time to hopefully conclude my goodwill bonanza from four months ago, but until then, good luck and godspeed, my children. i'll say nice things about you when you're gone.



oh ps that old guy i mentioned earlier? when i was leaving (the final time) he was bringing his cart back inside after loading out into his car and looking for his female lady shopping companion, and he walks inside and mutters "i thought i had my wife with me before" and one of the managers standing nearby NOT MISSING A GOD DAMNED BEAT says "we sold her!"

and out i went to my car, cackling like a god damned maniac. live to thrift, thrift to live.


Goodwill Bonanza pt 2/3

thunder. Thunder. THUNDERCA-oh crap. wrong rallying cry. forgot where i was.

try this one on for size. GOO! as in, "the next 'GOO'dwill store i hit up on my three store bonanza in one day, several months ago." we'll just say "GOO!" for shorthandsies. it's easier.

sweet little ceramic mamacita for like three or four bucks if memory serves, totally made me want to snap on my bandolero and play some flamenco guitar like the guy in those old antonio banderas talk show sketches from saturday night live who would stand in the back and scream "SENOR PLEASE NO ISA TOO SEXY" every time chris kattan would threaten to take off his shirt, even though no one has ever said that in real life when chris kattan threatens to take off his shirt, which he probably does all the time. i loathe chris kattan, although not nearly as much as i loathe andy dick who, to his credit, wrote a fucking delightfully nasty little song about chris kattan that he performed on the howard stern show a million years ago and still persists in my head to this day. the part i remember went:

chris kattan
chris kattan
you horrible little troll of a man

i still sing that to myself every time i see a movie poster for "monkeybone," which is surprisingly often.

what the hell was i talking about? oh, right, little mexican woman statue. pardon me, y'all. it's late.


this made me laugh hysterically. i love the off brands that make cheaper versions of the regular products that are already popular (jansport backpacks, in this instance) and their entire marketing strategy is that people won't be paying close enough attention to notice that the brand name is SLIGHTLY different, they'll just focus on the fact that it costs half as much and not notice that it's made by 9 year olds in korea (as opposed to jansport which is made by 12 year olds in bangladesh, much better).

(the preceding statements are retarded, deliberately inflammatory comments made by the author and are not indicative of the beliefs, attitudes, or opinions of any employee or authorized agent of bitter/books, LLC, any of its parent companies, or subsidiaries. for the record, though, we do love to rape goats.)

a french puzzle shaped like an italian food, made by a company named after an african antelope? what the hell, did the United Nations just take a shit in my brain?

i wish real bowling pins laughed at you and cracked jokes as you knocked them down. even though none of the things that these pins are saying on the side of the box technically qualify as "jokes." apparently the quip-masters behind this particular piece of electronic entertainment didn't quite grasp the concept. if i built this game the pins would say things like:

"a skeleton runs into a bar, and says 'give me a beer, and a mop.' a mop."

"a man is standing in line at the train station behind a priest. the priest walks up to the ticket window and tries to ask for two tickets to pittsburgh, but he stumbles on his words and asks the lady for 'two pickets to tittsburgh' instead. eventually the misunderstanding is resolved and the priest takes his tickets and sits down on a nearby bench, very very embarrased at his freudian slip. after the man purchases his tickets he walks over and sits down next to the priest, and in an attempt to comfort him says 'don't worry about it, father, people misspeak all the time. why, just the other day i was sitting at the breakfast table with my wife and i needed some salt from the other side of the table. i meant to ask her to pass the salt but instead i said 'i hate you you horrible bitch, you ruined my life.''"

or my personal favorite:

"why is a mouse when it spins?"

this is a rare occasion when i'm damn near flummoxed. this picture almost nearly speaks for itself. it's an animatronic rapping o.g. santa. complete with holiday bling, and all. bear in mind, this picture was taken in fucking AUGUST. i want to say someone actually pressed the button when i was within earshot just to see what song it was, but thankfully that memory's passed me by in the intervening months, so i couldn't say. thank god for small miracles.

i bought (sort of) these SWEET polarized aviators which i've been wearing ever since. they kind of make me look like my dad, but the older i get the more i realize that there are worse things in the world. my dad actually looks pretty damn pimping most of the time. except when he decided to start wearing uggs. i love you pops but that was, is, and always will be a mistake.

i also bought these boot shoe things which were MY SIZE FOR A CHANGE and SO money i couldn't resist. i haven't had a LOT of occasions to wear them yet, but a good pair of shoes is a good pair of shoes and i firmly believe in buying things that you grow into. not to get too soapboxy here but i really feel like that's one of the coolest things about shopping at thrift stores, is the opportunity to be confronted by something (whether it be an article of clothing, or an album, or a piece of art, or a fucking kitchen appliance or something) that really challenges you and forces you to step outside of your comfort zone. i know i might sound like i'm dressing up the emperor here but it's the god's honest truth, in my personal experience anyway - you find things you didn't think you were going to find, and they make you think about things you didn't think you were going to have to think about. it's as simple as that. i bought these shoes because i loved them (and because they were hells cheap) and i'll find occasions to wear them and if you had asked me to envision a pair of shoes that i wanted i wouldn't have picked these but i saw them and they were great and i knew they were what i wanted. does that make any sense? i hope not.

one of the really cool things this particular goodwill (on stage road out in bartlett, fast becoming the hotspot for the thrifting experience in memphis tn, much to my disdain) is all the framed stuff they have. it's priced accordingly, don't get me wrong, but it's mostly one of a kind shit, like this weird bar scene framed photograph thing. here's a closeup.

this is an amazing amazing image, and it was framed pretty well, and having spent a fair amount of time on all sides of the bar myself (in front of, behind, underneath, and on top of) i could really relate. i was sorely tempted to get it but i didn't, for a lot of reasons. it was nice to see it though, and i'm sure it's blowing up someone's wall right now somewhere, and i feel pretty good about that.

this one was a damn heartbreaker though. i've loved marilyn monroe for a long long time, and specifically the lesser-seen images of her, and this is a great one, and it was HUGE and it was really framed well, and it was fifty bucks, and i just didn't have fifty bucks. as much as i love marilyn and the immense weight that her relatively brief life carried in the popular culture of our country, the way her legacy plays itself out in every tawdry fucked in the head reality show contestant desperately yearning for self redemption and self transformation and self purification through the constant unblinking eye of fame and recognition, she wouldn't have paid fifty bucks for this picture and so neither did i.

that's all i got for this one, sweets. be back soon with another varietal probe for your parietal lobe. in the meantime...




almost forgot. "the higher, the fewer." that's why a mouse is when it spins. in case you were curious.


Amvets/Salvo Danny Thomas (Special I Love Memphis Edition!)

interjecting my goodwill bonanza with a special trip i took the other day with my close personal friend Kerry who runs the I Love Memphis blog for the convention and visitors bureau, along with various and sundry other internet points of interest.

before we hit the stores though we hit another one of my favorite things about memphis - the lunch buffet at pho binh on madison ave, right in the heart of midtown.

5.19 for all the lemongrass tofu, egg rolls and fried chicken you can eat. noms.

oh, and here was my fortune. would it turn out to be true? LET'S FIND OUT!

then it was off to the races, with the requisite enlivening jaunt down elvis presley blvd to the amvets store, one of the brightest jewels in the sparkling crown of awesome that is the memphis thrift store scene.

i wasn't really in the market for much of anything, shopping-wise, so i was pretty much free to wander around with my camera and gawk at shit, which is of course my favorite thing to do in the world, with pants on anyway. take, for example, this GIGANTIC old tower computer, had to be at least 2 1/2 feet tall. the phrase "old clock tower" kept popping into my head when i was looking at this particular arrangement, and it made me think of back to the future and giggle to a degree that is perhaps unbecoming of a gentleman, but whatevs. i think the shit is funny.

my best friend's mom had one of these when i was a little kid, and i always thought it was the coolest thing. odd, to think they're basically useless now that network tv only broadcasts in digital. it makes me want to buy one even more now, just as an art object or some kind of memorial. strange to stop and notice how much the world's changed, just in my lifetime. i've mentioned this elsewhere before, but i mean we had a rotary phone in the house i grew up in. my best friend's phone number ended in zero and i remember thinking it was such a pain in the ass to wait for the thing to go all the way back around after you dialed the zero, and now i can send him a text message from my phone while i browse the internet and listen to podcasts in my car. a kid who's born today is never going to be able to imagine what the world was like even 20 years ago. when phonebooks actually mattered, when there were like thirty channels on the tv and you were just BLOWN AWAY by the variety of things that were available to watch, when the phrase "Be kind, rewind" wasn't just a delightful anachronism or the title of a movie. god, i sound like such a codger.

i'm not a hundred percent positive what this thing is, exactly, or what it's supposed to do, but look!

there are two! his and hers, a matched pair! [nerd]i kind of like them because they look like r2d2 a little bit and he's my favorite droid. what's YOUR favorite droid?[/nerd]

something so poignant about a big pack of off-brand adult diapers ending up at a thrift store. this is by far NOT the first pack of adult diapers i've ever seen in my secondhand journeys, but something about the fact that they're a knockoff of Depends, and the fact that the package is open, and the way there were just kind of sitting there... i don't know. touching. and, gross.

poop is gross.

okay so i was walking home from work the other night and i was about halfway up the block on auburndale when i saw this cat kind of slowly stalking across the street - it's about 11:15 pm - and it looked kind of weird, that it was moving that slow, and when i got closer i could see that it was haranguing this tiny little mouse that was terrified and running for its life, and i used to have a pet mouse when i was a kid (Luis Bonfa was his name. eccentric child, i was.) so that shit was not EVEN going to fly so i yell "HEY!" at this cat and it kind of stops and looks over its shoulder at me but then goes right back to batting at this poor little mouse so i take off at a dead run, stomping my feet and growling at this cat, who sees me coming and (rightly so) bolts back to the other side of the street. i wasn't going to hit it or anything, mind you, just trying to shoo it away. so it eventually gets the picture and takes off, meanwhile this teensy little gray mouse with the BIGGEST eyes you have ever seen in your life is still running full tilt, understandably just as scared of me as it was of the cat, maybe even moreso, so i start following it, kind of trying to herd it along the back side of the midtown pharmacy building into some bushes or something, somewhere where the cat wouldn't just be able to come back and find it as soon as i left, when it occurs to me that i might rather fancy a little pet to take care of and keep me company again, but i wasn't about to grab at it and run the risk of contracting mouse aids or whatever it would give me when it inevitably bit my hand, and all i had to snare it with was a small brown paper bag from work, and i couldn't get close enough to get the bag in front of it, so i had to settle for shepherding (mousherding i guess) it into the bushes of the next building over, and calling it a night. anyway i saw this cage and it made me think of that. my almost rescue mouse.

that's right, you're seeing that correctly. that, me hearties, is a vase cozy. no further comment.

the detail picture of the plaque didn't come out (cameras are hard, durr) but this is a CONTEST RUNNER UP THE CRYSTAL PALACE trophy which my partner in crime for the day informed me is a skating rink on south 3rd street (did i mention she's in the roller derby too? lady problems, woot!), and it occurred to me that i would like to go to that place, as they say. the last time i put on a pair of roller skates i got SEVERELY injured (without even falling down, at that!) but one never really loses one's enthusiasm, once you come down with skate fever. ask anyone.

also saw these MURDEROUS doc martens steel toed boots of death and killing and rrrraaaahhhhh!!!! they were kind of my size but you have to murder people when you put them on and that's just not my style, people. wow, i think i just wrote a steven king novel. "boots that make you kill people." 8000 pages of bullshit later, and you've got yourself a bestseller, baby!

these, on the other hand, are SO my style, but unfortunately not my size. what is it with people and their tiny feet? i mean, come on!

i even glanced at a few books, although i fear the gods will strike me down if i chanced to purchase one and introduced it into the burbling cauldron of nightmares that is my apartment right now. un example:

much love to the extremely talented amie vanderford for that portrait, by the way.

i'm was all set to laugh scornfully at this tape and its proletarian ambitions, and then i suddenly remembered that when i was a little kid i wanted to be a truck driver too. i think i just liked CB radios. and meth.

one of those things... if you need a tape to tell you how to do it, you probably shouldn't do it. for the love of god, who bought this? who MADE it?

requisite picture of piles of moldy 8 track tapes. i kind of tune this stuff out most of the time, partially because i see it at every store i go to, and also because i tried to get into 8 tracks once back in the day because they're everywhere and they're so cheap, and i discovered a problem - the magnetic tape they used back in the day is about one molecule thick and prone to breaking at the slightest provocation, in addition to the fact that they sound like shit. so no 8 tracks for me, thanks. for some reason i noticed them today though. there's some rockin' good stuff in this pile! boston, barry manilow, bette midler... that's what i'm talkin about.

this i was tempted by, though. i like a little piaf every now and again. who doesn't?

perhaps a little schmilsson to go with your piaf?

or maybe you're more of a loggins and messina type. i'm not. in fact i'm probably more of a "murder loggins and messina with a hatchet and burn all their music so i never have to listen to any of it ever again" type. i love that this is a live tape, too. "man, their studio stuff is okay, but the live show's where it's at. they totally jam out "listen to a country song" for like 20 minutes! yeah!"

this picture doesn't do it justice but these are all videotapes of church services. except "the making of star wars," of course. although i suppose that's kind of a religious experience for some people. nerds, that is. big ole nerdy nerd nerds.

this is just creepy, on so many levels.

remember these damn troll things? god, they were everywhere back in the day! keychains, stuck to the windows of people's cars... there was no escape. now, not so much. this one apparently loves the buffalo bills. go figure.

then it was off to the salvation army on danny thomas blvd, another local favorite of mine, even if getting in and out of the parking lot can be kind of a nightmare sometimes.

we found mark and scott, residing comfortably on the shelf in domestic bliss, or whatever the closest equivalent would be for personalized coffee cups. but all is not as it seems, in coffee cup land. suddenly, a knock at the door.

IT'S ANN! "Mark, Scott, I have some news. I'm pregnant. It's yours."

Mark: Gasp!
Scott: You bitch! How could you?
Mark: [faints]
Scott: Wait, is it mine, or his?
Ann: ...both!

DUNT DUN DUNNNN..... Join us next time for the shocking conclusion of PERSONALIZED COFFEE CUP LOVE TRIANGLE THEATER!

i could see the ebay listing as soon as i picked this thing up: L@@K VINTAGE SLAP CHOP VINCE SHLOMI BILLY MAYS ANTIQUE NO RESERVE BID NOW!!!!!!!! I was tempted, not gonna lie.

kerry and i both remarked on how delightfully color coded all the dishes and kitchen ware always are at the salvation army - one of the nice touches you find in the bigger stores in town (goodwills, etc) is that added degree of organization. of course you lose a little bit of the haphazard, "just throw it anywhere" kind of charm that is essential to the thrifting experience, but trust me when i say a little bit of that goes a long way after a while, if that makes any sense.

i mean they even arranged these neat little too-big-to-be-a-shotglass, too-small-to-be-a-cocktail-glass, not-the-right-shape-for-a-cordial-glass glasses in a neat little row! there were 11 of them and they were a buck a piece and that is great.

this was a totally sweet vintage pepsi clock for FOUR BUCKS that admittedly needed a little bit of repair (loose hands, don'tcha know) but was eminently fixable and i seriously considered it, but for the fact that all the walls in my apartment are plaster and i'm too lazy to bother with anchors to hang stuff so it kind of looks like a crazy person lives there and i've become strangely comfortable with that so i don't want to mess up my design scheme. also i don't need a clock.

since i just recently ranted about my freakishly large head in my last post i'll give it a pass here and just say that i had one of these silhouette things done for me when i was a kid too and it was a lot bigger than this. that is all.

black jesus does not want you to be afraid. no problem!

i bet these boots would help you not to be afraid.

and then it was time to try on hats. who could resist?

we probably looked like a couple of idiots standing all the way at the back of the store photographing a shelf full of hats like we were howard carter in tutankhamun's crypt or something, but i mean come on. these were just too perfect.

i could tell kerry really wanted this one, but i told her she looked like balloon boy and i think that put her off it a little bit. my bad, homey.

i picked this little french number up for a special someone

and kerry ended up with this snazzy little leopard skin pillbox thing, which i think suits her to a t.

and that'll just about do it for this special I Love Memphis themed edition of bitter/books. much thanks to kerry for giving me the impetus to get up off my ass again and start going out and writing and stuff, and make sure and check out the I Love Memphis Blog, become a fan on facebook, get your picture taken with the sign, hell, go nuts, get a tattoo or something. have fun with it. i'll talk to you next time, lovelies.

your pal


p.s. this week's post was written by David and edited (sort of) by David, who, upon completing it, had a cup of coffee, walked to the post office, then went to work.