Oulu has a few 2nd hand shops. I’ve only every been to one though. It is the one that I love. It is the one that I bought my ice skates from, the one that I bought my denim waistcoat from, it’s the place I bought my forever amazing blue and white reindeer and snowflakes poloneck jersey all at ridiculously low prices… like one or two or five euros.
In case you need some explanation: denim waistcoat, forever amazing blue and white reindeer and snowflakes poloneck jersey, greenish cardigan, creamish cardigan, grey batwing (I think it’s called that) long top, purple long top/short dress (who really knows these days), “kitchen curtain material” top, snood (which is a big fat scarf sewn together so that it’s actually a woollen tube)
As you can see from the slide show above, I’m not the most, um, vintage or wonderfully artistic of dressers. But that should give hope to those who fear 2nd hand shops for their “out there” factor. While there are pretty of crazy clothes, there are some day to day clothes too which is nice to know.
From what I can figure out, the store is organised into lots of meter long tables. The tables are numbered and people can hire a table and sell their “collections” on that table. There is a rack above the table for hanging goods. I’m not sure where the money I give the shop goes to. Every item is barcoded so maybe it goes to the person whose table it is? Maybe… Like I said, I’m not too sure about the whole gadoodle.
I’m not the best shopper. I’m not one of those people who loves scratching through sale item boxes, finding an awesome something that perfectly does-go-doesn’t-go-but-because-you’re-s0-arty-it-does-go. I want to walk into an orderd shop (or even a market), take what I want to try on from a hanger, try it on and then buy it if I want it. But I have learnt a few tricks of the 2nd hand buyer trade that I thought I could share with you…
Handy tips from the not so accomplished shopper on how to shop in a 2nd hand store:
1. Don’t be overwhelmed by the apparent overwhelming chaos of colours and fabrics that lay before you. Just keep walking towards a rack of clothes, anywhere and start looking.
2. If it’s a nice shop, the clothes should be clean and not stinky. You should be able to feel and try on clothes without fears of grossness and disease leaping on to you from the clothes.
3. Some people are crazies in there. Avoid these people and smoothly continue shopping. Don’t let their crazies get to you.
4. If the change room line is too long because people are trying on 20 items when the sign clearly says only 3 items, don’t get nasty. Just go for another walk around the shop. There’s probably something amazing that you missed.
5. Don’t just think clothes… there are boots, shoes, hats, bags, sunglasses, decorations, cushion covers, sheets, THE WORKS.
6. Not all the stuff is 50 million years old. Some of it is just last season’s top that some rich European got bored with – SCORE FOR US!
7. Don’t be scared of the dog behind the counter (ok, that’s just at my 2nd hand store)
8. You have to go with an open mind. You can’t always say, “I’m going to buy jeans today from this shop.” They might not have the right ones, but come back next week and they just might.
9. Never pop in just before closing time. 2nd hand shopping for those not so acquainted with it, it takes time and imagination. Give yourself time for both.