I’m sold on resale.

I began my retirement when we lived in California. I was swapping out my teacher clothes for jeans and tee shirts. I traded in pumps and flats for hiking boots and Tevas. I got rid of my hose and started to look for Spanx.

Carmel was not the place to do this swap in my old traditional ways. It was just too expensive to go into little shops and buy a pair of jeans. I wanted to pay $20 or $30 for a new pair, but in a place with average household incomes of over $80,000, there just were not places to do this except at Target or maybe Marshall’s.

Then I discovered the benefit consignment shops. There were cute little knit tops for $10 to $15. They were current. They were clean and just the ticket for wearing on a hike or going to the grocery store and I felt like I could afford to buy a wardrobe of four or five and not feel guilty.

Furthermore, I got compliments on my “new” clothes.

A “Tube Dude” Asking You To Come On In

Saving money on clothes allowed me to buy good shoes for the gym or boots for hiking. I don’t skimp on my feet except for flip flops.

Now we are in Florida. There are consignment shops everywhere. There are at least six within a half mile of our rental. These are not the benefit shops we had in Pacific Grove and Carmel in California. These are shops where I can take in my gently used or never worn clothes, establish a personal account, and sell them. My proceeds are used to buy items in the shop. They call these clothes “reviewed” and when you buy you are “reviewing” the clothes.

Since I’ve been here, I’ve bought a pair of white cotton pants for a dollar. They really are scrubs, but who cares? I wear them to the laundromat or grocery. I’ve bought a little “play” dress to wear as a cover up or to breakfast, and I found a little polyester blouse to wear in the evening. I haven’t paid more than $12 for anything. In fact, that is about my price point.

Why are there so many consignment shops here and almost none in Ohio?

I think it began because this coast is filled with old folks. They die. The relatives found that the loved one’s clothes were of good quality, barely worn, and desirable. They were worth something. The whole review culture caught on big time here. Now all ages turn over their clothes. When we were in a consignment shop Friday in Venice, there was a 40ish woman who was balancing her account and it sounded like she had a little sideline going with her closet.

These shops are small boutique-like settings that are set up to create a nice shopping experience. Clothes are paired with accessories. Jewelry is set out to touch and try on.Hats and shoes are displayed just like any little dress shop you have ever been in. These stores are not Thrift shops. They don’t have $5 blouses except on the 50% off rack, but they do have a shirt that looks the same, feels the same, and wears the same as Dillards or Macys but for half or a third the price. Most of the time the shop is having store wide sales where tags are marked with a color code to tell you something is 20%- 30% off. Other stores sell by the date from when the item is brought in. Right now, November items are marked down.

The one thing I have wondered about is having a previous owner see me in their outfit.  Would they say anything and how I would reply?

“I had a shirt just like that,” they might say.

“Really? Well,  I guess we both have good taste,” I’d say.


“Did you buy that outfit at Fifi’s?” they’d ask.

“Yes. Isn’t it  a great place to find good looking clothes?”

You can take it from here.