Monday, September 12, 2011

Idaho Youth Ranch Outlet... an Experience in By-the-Pound Shopping

My friend and colleague Scott Phillips has been telling me for months about all the fabulous thrift store shopping he does, and the amazing things he's able to make with the stuff he finds.  It has always sounded interesting to me and I told him the next time he went he had to take me with him and he promised he would.

Well the next time was last Thursday.  I was just finishing up a press release for work and in walks Scott.  He has some paperwork for my boss which he gives to me to give to Mike who was out, and then he says, "Do you have time to go a quick little adventure with me?"  I say, "Sure," and the next thing you know I'm riding shot gun in Scott's cool old champagne-pink pick-up truck.

We get out to the Idaho Youth Ranch outlet, which is similar to St. Vincent's or The Goowill, but locally run and organized.  The "outlet" Scott explains, is where all the crap goes that can be sold in their stores.  After a while of it not selling in the store for various reasons (from purely unwanted, overstocked to broken and battered) it gets sent to this place where people rummage through it and buy it at even lower prices- most of it is sold by the pound.  It starts at $.50 a pound and goes lower from there.  The more you buy, the cheaper it is to buy by the pound.

We arrived just before its open and I am already in shock; the parking lot is completely full, and there is a line to get in.  I stand amazed as Scott further explains how it all works- pointing out the regulars and the guys who run the place.  When Zeke, the yard manager, opens the gate he calls out the rules of the place and then lets everyone in single file.  Again, I am in awe.

People rush around to the various bins like scavengers on a treasure hunt, only more ravenous- almost like looters, but not quite.  Scott is an old pro, and Zeke not only knows him, he sets up a little area from Scott to put the items Scott plans to purchase with a big "sold" sticker on them.

I wander around aimless for a few minutes trying to get my bearings.  Scott however, immediately finds the things he's interested in.  He's a woodworker and goes straight for the furniture that is made of real wood.  He finds a couple potentially nice items (with a little creativity, elbow grease and TLC).  After a few minutes of eyeing some things I notice two very nice thick mirrors.  They are priced at $5 each.  I decide to think on them for a while and when I look up it finally dawns on me to take a picture (or a few) for my blog.  Here they are:


I proceed to follow Scott around as he prowls the bins.  They seem endless, but its mostly just junk.  As I'm photographing a tall blonde and husky lady that reminds me of a rough biker broad yells out to Zeke asking why "that skinny bitch is taking pictures of everyone?" I quickly shove my camera in my bag.  Not that I was necessarily afraid because frankly I was with a tall strong protector who wouldn't have let that woman touch me, but I wasn't going to take my chances.

I stand a little closer to Scott from here on out.  He tells me not to touch my face after touching this stuff, and that once we get in the car he's got hand sanitizer to put on until we get to a sink to wash our hands with.  "Frankly, you never know who's been touching this stuff, and until its clean, I don't take my chances."  There are certainly people there from all walks of life, and I'm sure they were looking at me with the expensive handbag David bought me on our honeymoon and my cute work outfit and thinking, "what's she doing here?"

Anyway, we were in and out of the place in a half an hour.  Scott took his yard ticket to the counter and paid the lady, who knew him by name.  And then we drove the truck right into the yard to pick up his goodies, loaded them in the truck, slathered antibacterial hand sanitizer all over our hands and drove off.  I can't wait to see how the stuff turns out!

It was a great little adventure.  Thanks Scott!  Be sure to check out Scott's website:

1 comment:

  1. I went here today for the first time. It was so cool! I picked up a ton of yarn from various bins.