I was in San Francisco last week visiting a friend and I showed up a little early so I popped into a thrift store called Painted Bird.
Inside I found a high concentration of stylish and beautiful used clothes. The white-washed store consisted of two circular racks, a clothing display along the side and back wall, and a jewelry case by the register. Each item had a neat blue price tag attached by a thread, which I knew meant the prices were going to be noticeably higher than Goodwill. But the figures for a few items I checked were not unreasonable considering their excellent condition.
Plus there was the hipness factor. Just walking into the store increased my hip quotient so I knew if I actually bought something it must mean I was a trendsetter, right?
I recoiled. If it had been $5 I would have purchased it immediately. But $7? Hmmm…I re-tied the pink scarf on a hangar and shuffled onto the next hangar. Soon I came to a creme-colored 3/4-length wool coat that had golden brown buttons. Very stylish, but not a wise purchase for me. I live in Los Angeles and it’s summer! If I was living in San Fran, however, it would be a suitable summer coat. The city is cold!!!
The coat would look perfect with the pink scarf. I considered asking them if they would take $5 for it. I left the scarf on the shelf to give myself an out if they turned me down. But as I approached the register the sales girl left the counter to attend to a mussed display. I paused, checked my watch, and walked out.
Two blocks later I realized my mistake. Once in motion, however, I find it terribly difficult to stop and turn around. I met my friend and told her about the Painted Bird. When I left four hours later I crossed my fingers that it was still open.
It was not. Now I really regretted not having purchased the scarf. It was pink! How can you go wrong with pink? My $7 would probably not even get me a new scarf made of polyester at H&M. And this was a beautiful, delicate wool scarf. Sigh.
On the walk back to the BART train I snapped pictures of the frugal window displays. There were plenty of options, and none of them pink.
Have you ever regretted NOT buying something?