You know times have changed when a song about shopping at a thrift store (Thrift Shop, by Macklemore) wins Billboard’s rap song of the year 2013.
I am a big fan of thrift stores. I don’t get embarrassed to shop there. And after becoming a single parent, I have shopped there whether I could financially afford to shop elsewhere or not. My first memory of a thrift store was when I was a kid. My mother, a single mom of three at that time, didn’t have a lot of extra money. I remember one winter, us kids wanted to go ice skating. Mom took us to the Goodwill Store to shop for ice skates. They had a black pair that fit my brother but had only one other pair that my sister and I could fit into. Mom said that my sister and I would have to take turns. No problem. We were just happy to be able to go ice skating.
My mother continued to shop at thrift stores all my years in school and still shops at them to this day, although she surely does not need to shop there. She loves a good bargain. I’ll admit there were times when I was in high school I was a little embarrassed for someone to see my mother shopping at the Salvation Army. After all, my mother had remarried and although my parents weren’t rich, they weren’t poor enough to necessitate shopping for second-hand merchandise. What would people think? Teenagers are so self-centered. Well, some of us.
Earlier this year, my son wanted to go to the Lady Gaga concert. I had treated him to the Nicki Minaj concert six months prior and informed him that I wasn’t able to afford another set of concert tickets. One concert ticket purchase per year was more than fair. His response, “Then I will try to win them.” He just knew he was going to win those tickets somehow. I love his optimism!
The weekend before the concert, I went online to search the local radio stations so I could verify if and when they were having Lady Gaga concert ticket promotions or contest giveaways. Most of the radio stations were doing the usual “10th caller” contest. My son listened all weekend, calling every time the DJ announced, “Tenth caller wins Lady Gaga concert tickets,” with no luck.
One station did their contest a little different. They were having a drag queen contest. The contestants entered online and described to the radio station how they would dress up in their best drag queen costume. I submitted my idea: mobster pin-striped suit, a gangster hat and high heel shoes.
One day before the concert I got a call from the radio station.
I answered, “Hello.”
“Hi, this is Nick from i93.”
He told me they liked my idea and invited me to come down dressed in my drag queen outfit for a chance to win the Lady Gaga concert tickets. I was overjoyed. However, there was just one small problem; I didn’t have a pinned stripped suit hanging in my closet. I also didn’t have the money to go out and buy a new one. I mean heck, if I could’ve bought a pinned stripped suit, then I could’ve bought the concert tickets in the first place.
Luckily we have a local thrift store that I have visited many times over the past few years. I prayed to God that they would have the item I needed on one of their racks. It seemed like it was a lot to ask. I mean, really. I needed a suit, a pin-striped suit, a suit that would fit my size, and be priced reasonably. But I was faithful.
I walked into the store and went right to the men’s section. I figured I would have a better chance of finding the suit I needed in the men’s section than in the women’s section. Since this was more for a theatrical costume rather than for an evening out on the town, I didn’t need it to fit exact or perfect. A little big and roomy was fine. Actually that was the style I was going for anyway.
Thanks be to God, I found the perfect pin-striped suit for $5.00. But wait, then I get up to the register and they inform me that the suit is on sale and was marked down. What? You are kidding me! How wonderful is that?
Not only did Nick from i93 hand me two Lady Gaga concert tickets for the first level, the DJ’s even interviewed me on live air for my unique drag queen costume. All the while, my son had a look of amazement and an endless smile on his face.
As parents, we don’t get opportunities like this often. At that moment, I felt like a great mom. I’m reminded of that old credit card commercial:
Pinned striped suit, $3.00
Gansta Hat, $12.00
Lada Gaga concert tickets, Free
Look on my son’s face, Priceless!