October 14, 2007


by Susan Rozmiarek

I come from a long line of antique and junk collectors. I spent a lot of my youth being dragged to garage and estate sales and of course, thrift stores like the Goodwill. It's in my genes. It carried over into my early adulthood but then died as our household income increased and my free time decreased. The bug has hit me again. The catalyst was an out-of-print author whose books I've fallen in love with and which sell for ridiculously high prices on eBay. So, I've started scouring the local thrift stores and I've discovered that Austin has plenty of them and many are conveniently located along one particular drag, Burnet Rd. I haven't found a single book yet, but I've found plenty of new or nearly new clothes, including some made by Abercrombie and Fitch, highly coveted by my son Kevin. I've found a few nice knick-knacks and I've found a few games. You have to have time and patience to shop in these places and be willing to dig through lots of crapola to find the treasures. Right now, I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Not only is it saving us money, but it also appeals to my "voluntary simplicity" side. There is way too much waste in our society. Ed however, hates thrift stores. All he sees when he walks in is a bunch of junk and old clothes!

Naturally, I scour the game/toy section of these places when I go. I haven't found any shrink-wrapped copies of Dune or Jati yet, but I have found some pretty nice deals on mainstream games. If you haven't noticed, there are a few good games on the shelves of your local big box store or have been in years past. Really. For a few bucks, I'm willing to take a chance on a few games and if nothing else, my money is helping somebody else. If they turn out to be duds, I'll just donate them back. Here are a few of my recent "treasures."

Clue DVD Game. This game seems gets some high praise on BGG from gamers whose opinions I respect. I love deduction games and this game is currently around $26 in stores. I got a pristine copy for $3. I hope to put my new laptop that plays DVDs to use and try this one out soon.

Moods. This is one of the few party games that I enjoy. I have a copy myself but it is a hard game to find now. I couldn't resist picking up another copy for $5 at the Goodwill. That box was torn up but the contents were still in shrink. The original owners missed out a real treat. Maybe we can trade it in a math trade on BGG.

Can't Stop. I've found two copies for about $1 each with beat up boxes but complete contents. What a great game. I'm tempted to give these copies to friends.

Heroscape. I found a complete master set, mostly in shrink, for $5. You can never have too much of Heroscape. Both of my kids love building with it. There is currently a large set-up upstairs. Some expansions need to show up in thrift stores next.

Equate and Tribulation. The first is Scrabble with math equations instead of words and the second is a math version of Boggle. I was a math nerd in high school and my son is even worse. I haven't gotten to try them with him yet but at a $1.50 apiece, it's hard to go wrong. If they don't catch our fancy, I'll donate them to his school. They would be great in a math class.

Some older finds include Traverse (neat abstract game), Liar's Dice, Apples to Apples, Conspiracy, Clue - The Great Museum Caper, Scrutineyes, and an old copy of Diplomacy.

I pass over many nice Ravensburger kid's games because we either have them or my kids are too old. I've also ignored the 999 copies of Trivial Pursuit that I've seen. I see lots and lots of party games that I'm tempted to buy but we rarely play them.

The worst problem with buying games from a thrift store is that games are often missing pieces. I always open them up and count the pieces, but sometimes the boxes are taped shut by somebody who got a little over zealous with the packing tape. Just recently, I came across a copy of a 40th anniversary edition of Risk. I wouldn't normally be interested in Risk but the box claimed that it had all metal pieces which sounded neat. However, the box felt waaay too light to be full of metal. I broke the tape and discovered only the board and rules were inside. Bummer.

Btw, if you are from Austin, this entire post is all a lie. The thrift stores here are terrible and I've never found anything decent - just old copies of Candyland with bent cards. So, don't even bother going to any of these awful places. ;-)

Posted by Susan Rozmiarek at October 14, 2007 4:23 PM


Another copy of moods? Having more than one mood is a bad thing!

Posted by: Mark Hamzy on October 14, 2007 7:27 PM

Hey Susan- I recently found a GREAT website for getting a lot of out of print, hard to find books. It's called Paperback Swap (www.paperbackswap.com), and it's free to join.
You have to list 10 books that you'd be willing to mail someone at your expense, which will give you 2 credits to request books, which will be mailed to you at their owner's expense. In addition, every time you mail a book, once the other person receives it, you get additional credits. You can also buy additional credits for relatively cheaply... I just bought 4 credits for $14 and change.
If you'd like, I can look to see if any of the books you're interested in are available, so that you don't have to sign up if they don't have them. Or, we could even work something out where you can go through my account and I'll have the books shipped to you (you can always use your credits to have books shipped elsewhere).

Just let me know if you're interested, and if I can help at all!

Posted by: Tami on October 14, 2007 9:45 PM

Yeah, thrifting in Austin is bad. No, really! I haven't found much at all lately. I think thrifting is genetic, too. My grandma took me to church "rummage sales" a lot.

Posted by: Betty Dingus on November 14, 2007 11:10 PM
Post a comment

This page viewed times since October 14, 2007.

E-mail Ed Rozmiarek with questions or problems concerning this page.

Copyright © 2007, Ed & Susan Rozmiarek.
No portion of this website may be reproduced or copied without the consent of Ed or Susan Rozmiarek.