Getting High in an Unlikely Place

IMG_5332I feel like I got away with something today. It felt like a drug so new it’s not yet illegal, something that can’t possibly be good for your soul.

Goodwill Outlet.

I was at a sustainability conference today at the beautiful new Goodwill Enrichment Center where people in need can source jobs and services — and shop their asses off. The regular store is top-loaded with designer items, more so than a regular Goodwill, I am certain. During a break in the conference I sneaked away to the Outlet Center for clothes that didn’t sell, where all things made of fabric cost $1.49 a pound — YES, A POUND — and all “hard” items are 69 cents a pound.

I didn’t expect much when I walked in. Bins of crap in no apparent order, though someone did think to put all the shoes together.

I took a cursory glance in the first bin to see if there was maybe anything for my daughter. And lo, yes, a couple very cute things — an African looking little skirt, and a butterfly shirt in with the bedazzling of which she is so fond. In the next bin, I found a black cashmere Gap hoodie. And then a Free People peasant top in perfect condition — and my size. And so on — the haul included a J. Crew sweater that I’ll gift to a smaller friend, a few Gap tops, another cashmere sweater, some PJ pants, some gold mesh tunic thing, placemats — quite a haul. All for $7.


It reminds me of the time when I was 18 and I took Ecstasy, when it was first leaked to the masses and considered “pure.” The world through my the window in the New Jersey apartment I shared with my boyfriend was suddenly crystal clean. I melded with nature and humanity. And the apple on the counter was the reddest, juiciest, most delicious thing I had ever tasted — and I didn’t even have a bite. I never touched Ex again, because I was scared that I would love the dream so much I could never ever wake up, and the world might disintegrate around me.

The thrill of the hunt + monster bargains + a new spring wardrobe = the feeling of being a little bit bad.

I may have a problem. But it feels so right.



Vanessa McGradyGetting High in an Unlikely Place

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