I don’t know if I should call this new normal thrifting or what. But surely, there have been many changes with the way a lot of businesses operate nowadays even for small-time hustlers like me.
The lockdown policy in my town has been relaxed for a bit by the end of May 2020. Businesses started to open up as well. Around mid-June, some public transportation is slowly being allowed to operate as long as they follow the guidelines set by the local government.
I have started thrifting again by mid-June and here as some of my observations:
Most Thrift Stores are on Super Sale
Most non-essential businesses did not earn any income from March to May and that includes thrift stores. And as soon as they opened up, they priced their merchandise so low so they could encourage their customers to start buying again.
They are also on sale because the stocks that are on display are still the same stocks that they’ve had when the lockdown was implemented.
There’re Only a Few Shoppers
From mid-June up until the time of writing this post (mid-July), I have shopped at thrift stores thrice. And in those visits, I only saw very few customers which means less competition for resellers like me.
The thrift stores that I have visited also only allow customers who are wearing masks to go in. Temperature is taken before you enter the shop and your hands are sprayed with alcohol as soon as you enter the shop.
A Lot of Good Buys
I was pleasantly surprised that most of the items on sale are very high-quality branded garments and a few authentic designer labels. I have never experienced getting a handful of designer labels in one visit.
Usually, I don’t get any. If I’m lucky, I’d get one or two. But this month, I got 6 designer label pieces from one thrift shop.
My theory is that a lot of resellers (who are my direct competitor in this hustle) are not out shopping yet.
Quite Difficult to Commute
Even though public transportation is now allowed to ply the roads. Commuting from one place to another is still difficult. A part of the regulation implemented here is one-seat apart to minimize contact from fellow passengers. And that means that a usual jeep that can carry 20 passengers can only carry now 10.
Given that the population is still the same but the seating capacity had decreased tremendously, commuting has become very difficult.
Wearing a Mask Can Be a Challenge
I’m a person who sweats a lot even I really don’t move that much. And when I go out to thrift on a hot and humid day, then the part of my face covered with the mask is always wet with sweat.
It’s tolerable when the weather is a bit cooler.
If you’re in a public utility vehicle and the person you’re sitting beside sneezes or coughs, it’ll surely drive you paranoid. I hate this feeling of being paranoid if I’m going to get sick or not.
However, I know for a fact that this is something that we don’t have any control over (or maybe for some, minimal control).
Sure, we can opt not to go out to avoid contact with other people. However, if your job or business requires you to go out then you will have to.
The reality is, a lot of us still need to go out in order to earn money otherwise, we won’t have any money to pay our bills and to buy food and groceries.
As soon as I go home, I always make sure to shower right after resting for a few minutes and to put my worn clothes inside the washer.
Always Need to be Self-Aware
Whenever I go out to thrift, I always need to keep myself aware of a few things to keep myself and others safe that I never needed to think about before this pandemic hit the world. Some of those things are:
- Wear a mask at all times whenever I go out
- Disinfect my hands every now and then with alcohol or alcohol
- Maintain a safe distance from other people
- Avoid touching my face or the mask – This is quite hard to do because as I said above, I live in a very humid place and I sweat a lot. Sometimes, my face becomes itchy because of constant sweating and exposure to dust (when I go outside).
Commuting Cost is a bit Higher
Since only a person is allowed per tricycle then you can’t share the cost any more with other passengers. UV Vans also increased their price because they’re only allowed to carry a small number of passengers than before.
Eating Out is a Weird Experience
I went out to thrift yesterday and I got so hungry afterward that I have decided to eat at a nearby fast-food restaurant beside the thrift store. There were only a few people inside and only one chair per table is allowed (their table size is smaller compared to others). You also have to write your name, city, and mobile number on their logbook.
A Lot of People are Still Smiling Despite the Difficult Situation
This is one trait of Filipinos that I love. We are resilient and we always find something to smile and laugh about. Maybe because we have been poor for quite a long time and we’re a bit resilient in facing new challenges that are thrown our way.
In a way, we got used to living in challenging situations I guess.
People that I have encountered on the road when I was out thrifting were very helpful, polite, and courteous.
How about you? Have you gone out recently to do some errands? How was your experience?
My area of FL is experiencing a surge so we haven’t been out lately. But a few weeks before that when stores just reopened, we did go into a couple of antique stores — I love antiquing. I didn’t notice any screaming buys, though I did pick up a few interesting things — like a pineapple shaped chalkboard (I’m crazy for pineapples). I did notice, for myself, that I felt less drawn to costume jewelry, which I normally buy a lot of, b/c where would I wear it now that we’re all staying at home?
Thrifty Hustler says
Thanks for the comment Caroline. Costume jewelry prices here in the Philippines is getting more and more expensive as days go by. I don’t know what happened, but there’s a sudden boom with vintage items.
We are in Florida, which is having a surge, and so we limit going out to essential shopping. However, several weeks ago we ventured out to a couple of antique stores, and I didn’t notice any big difference in the price or selection. But I did notice a big difference in how I felt about items I would normally love. I’m a big costume jewelry fan but I just couldn’t see any use for it since I rarely go out, and I have enough to look at at home. I’m spending a lot more on food these days w/ higher grocery bills, but not much else. Normally, we would be spending a lot on travel. We had a trip to Singapore scheduled (and canceled) for March, and it would have included a stopover in Manila. Sad!