Thrift stores are a great representation of the human id. They’re chaotic, kitschy and filled with things that straddle the line between “trash” and “treasure.” For this monthly feature, we will head out to Madison-area shops in search of both.
Location: St. Vincent de Paul, 6301 Odana Rd., Madison
Date: Jan. 14, 2020
I wish I could tell you there was some sort of method to how I pick which thrift store I’m going to. But the truth is, the process is sort of like throwing a dart at the map. I do cross-reference Google searches and Yelp reviews, but for the most part it’s more or less chosen randomly. (I am open to suggestions.) Case in point: for this edition, St. Vinny’s ended up being my third stop. The first was well regarded, but I found it to be a little too small to build a whole piece on. The second was shuttered, so that was a moot point. But the third time was the charm, because I hit pay dirt at the St. Vincent DePaul on Odana Road.
Adorable alarm clock
I may be a crusty, bitter curmudgeon who’s 28 going on 49, but I am not immune to the charms of cats. (Like Cat Nut, for example.) And the above alarm clock — featuring a very fluffy boi in a cowboy outfit — is about as charming as they come. It might be the one clock you won’t want to throw across the room when it wakes you up for another dreaded day of work.
‘Argo’ on VCD
Revisit the 2013 Academy Award winner for Best Picture as you’ve never seen it before: with this possibly bootlegged Hong Kong version. The movie itself is pretty good; Argo is the strange-but-true story of a CIA rescue operation that involved a fake science fiction movie. It’s definitely worth watching… as long as you have a VCD player, though. This bad boy is on video compact disc rather than digital video disc, which is an anachronism sort of like finding an 8-track copy of an album made in the streaming era.
‘Stan and Judy’s Kid’
I’m probably not the only person still fuming about Adam Sandler’s Oscar snub for his brilliant work in Uncut Gems. In lieu of any #JusticeForSandman, take it back to the early days of Sandler’s career with his gloriously sophomoric comedy recordings. Stan and Judy’s Kid features some of the actor’s weirdest and wildest shit, including a sequel to “The Chanukah Song” and a five-part bit about a “Cool Guy” who can’t stop talking about jerking off. To paraphrase Uncut Gems’ Howard Ratner, “This is how I win… by scooping this album.
Planning on going to a high society soiree in the 1930s? Then pick up this dead-eyed, desecrated animal to drape around your neck. I’ll never understand how wearing the carcass of a small mammal — head and all — was ever considered haute couture. Rich people are weird, man.
Okay, so these are actually pretty cool. They’re a series of lamps based on the friendship-ruining board game Monopoly and feature a lot of really intricate details. However, they seem pretty ineffectual as actual lamps. They may look nice, but their ability to light a room is lacking. If you’re willing to draw a Chance card on them, though, don’t let me stand in your way. I would never want to come between someone and an ill-advised thrift purchase.
Miller Lite beer tap
This seems like a perfect gift for any Brewers fan with a home bar (which I have to assume is over 50% of Brewers fans). Otherwise, it’s more or less useless.
Dave Matthews Band framed photo
Fun fact: one of my first ever assignments as a music writer was covering the Dave Matthews Band Carnival as an intern for The A.V. Club. For me, it was hot, dusty and awful, as I spent an entire day waiting around in the summer sun for a band I could give two shits about. But I’d never want to trivialize the appeal of Dave (real fans just call him “Dave”), seeing as he has an enormous international following and if we’re being honest, “Ants Marching” does sort of slap. If you’re one of the millions of Davers out there, this is for you.
Jeff Gordon mailbox
If you paid even the slightest amount of attention to NASCAR in the 1990s, you’re probably familiar with Jeff Gordon. The Rainbow Warrior was a dominant presence, scorching opponents in his instantly recognizable No. 24 Chevy. Pay tribute to one of the greatest stock car drivers of all time with a mailbox that’s as garish as Gordon’s vehicle.
Brett Favre Vikings jersey
Perfect kindling for your next bonfire!
When I visited St. Vinny’s, I happened to catch them in the middle of a massive video game sale. Dozens of old consoles (and even more games) were available for dirt cheap. You want a Wii? They’ve got like 15 Wiis. Maybe you’re an Xbox person? Buddy, there’s a whole shelf of just Xboxes. As something of a gamer myself, it was overwhelming. I may have to head back across town so I can get my Wii golf game up to par. Or maybe I’ll just take one of everything. Time will tell.
Xbox 360: $25.50
The downside is all the parts — controllers, cords and the like — are sold separately. But when it’s all said and done, you’d still be paying less than you would for a used console at a specialty video game resale shop. And speaking of games, there are hundreds for sale, all at various low prices. So what are you waiting for?
BTW, my PlayStation gamer tag is PaidInBrains. Let’s play some time.