Hippie Shopping by Deb Joelle

We have a wonderful place on the island called GIRO. It’s also known as “the recycle centre” or “the depot.” Basically, anything you ever want, from the most common household object to the obscurest piece of bike gear will eventually show up at GIRO. Islanders pride themselves on both dumping stuff off there, and finding steal deals.

There is a saying amongst islanders that whatever you need will show up at GIRO if you’re patient. All you have to do is say aloud, “I’m waiting for X to show up at GIRO.” and eventually, it will appear there.

Part of GIRO is set up for household recyclables – bottles, cans, cardboard, scrap metal, etc. And then there’s an indoor thrift store type area where you can find dishes, books, toys, magazines, luggage, etc. Outside, under cover is all the big stuff – furniture, sinks, lighting fixtures, plumbing, exercise equipment, bikes, etc. And then, up some rickety stairs, you will find the clothing depot.

As for pricing, think of the cheapest thrift store you’ve ever been in and then halve it. The whole success of GIRO is the fluidity of things moving through it. For example, whenever we have a party, we go to GIRO, spend four dollars on plates, glasses, bowls, and mugs. After the party, I run them through the dishwasher, box them up, and take them back to GIRO. This is a common practice here on an island where many of us are trying to keep our impact on the environment low and don’t want to use paper plates and cups.

It’s only open Wednesdays and Saturdays and we have friends that hit it two or three times a day when it’s open, looking for things “they can’t live without.” The island fosters two kinds of people who use GIRO. The Buyers and the Dropper-Offers. In our family, we have one of each. As my husband is searching the aisles for bargains, I’m over at the table dropping off all the things I’ve discovered I really don’t need (many of them past GIRO purchases by my husband).

Newcomers know they are truly residents when they can have this conversation.

Old Timer – Wow! What a beautiful coat [couch, backpack, bike, etc.]!

Newcomer – GIRO! Two bucks!

This is my two dollar coat that gave me my status – a lovely, never-worn, very high-end, Irish wool jacket.

I once found a book at a library book sale by an author I knew and when I emailed to tell her that I’d scored it, she sent me back this reply: Never tell an author you bought their book used. They don’t want to know that because it means someone gave it away.

Personally, that wouldn’t bother me at all. The day I see Restoring Harmony at GIRO, I will simply smile to myself. Why? Because clearly, someone has said aloud, “I’m waiting for Restoring Harmony to show up at GIRO.” and the GIRO Gods are just doing their job.

12 Replies to “Hippie Shopping by Deb Joelle”

  1. Wow, I’d kill to have a GIRO in my town! That sounds fab!

    I’ve always seen such mixed reviews from authors about whether it’s depressing or kinda fun to find your own book in a thrift store. Personally, I’m looking forward to it (but that may be because I’m such a thrift store junkie myself).

    Great post!

  2. I love shops like that. We have lots of “charity shops” around here, but nothing like that “buy and return the next day” you’ve described. I’d love that!

  3. Well, Emily,
    I don’t get my money back when I return the dishes, so it’s more like rental! Buy and donate back. I also tend to buy clothes there without trying them on because all clothes are $1 each and $2 for coats – no matter the condition!If it doesn’t fit, I’m out a dollar and back it goes!

  4. Your GIRO sounds wonderful! I loved the last paragraph of this great post: “The day I see Restoring Harmony at GIRO, I will simply smile to myself. Why? Because clearly, someone has said aloud, ‘I’m waiting for Restoring Harmony to show up at GIRO.’ and the GIRO Gods are just doing their job.” LOVE IT!

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