Posts tagged ‘care bears’

Nostalgiathon 2009 #1: Thrift Store Finds

I’ve mentioned before that here in Norman, finding cool 80s stuff is kind of difficult. Today, I went and hit a couple of thrift stores, not really expecting to find anything, but I did!

First, I went to the local Salvation Army store. Toys rarely turn up here; I don’t know if they even accept them anymore. They mostly have a lot of clothes, random knick-knacks and especially 1970s furniture, which is kind of neat in its own way, but it’s difficult to collect furniture. (However, I did buy my dinette set there!)

A while back, I did find something cool here, but I couldn’t buy it because I didn’t have 20 bucks at the time– a Betamax machine! It was huge and hefty, a real relic. I wanted it just for the novelty of owning one, but even if I’d had the 20 dollars, I doubt that I actually would have purchased it, since I have become something of a practical person. I only have so much space, and I only have one Beta tape anyway (which I also bought simply for the novelty factor). Still, it’s kind of sad that I couldn’t get it.

Anyway. After leaving there empty-handed, I decided to go hit another store on the other side of town: Outreach Thrift Store. I used to go there frequently to look for clothes, dishes, sheet sets, stuff like that, but I hadn’t gone there for quite some time. It’s a nice place and things are generally pretty clean and organized. Until today, I had never scored any old stuff there except for maybe a couple of children’s books.

I went through some clothes, didn’t really find anything that caught my eye, so I went over to the books, and didn’t see anything there either. Then I spied a big pile of plushies and stuffed animals. I didn’t expect to find anything, so I was only halfway looking at them. I found a cute stuffed rabbit, so I picked it up to look it over and in doing so, unearthed a treasure: ANOTHER VINTAGE CARE BEAR!

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It’s Cheer Bear, which I also own a non-vintage version of. She’s in very nice shape and cost me two dollars– a teensy bit pricey for this sort of thing but definitely not unreasonable. I tucked her under my arm and went over to the little room near the back of the store where they keep the housewares.

I don’t really remember what I was looking for in here; I think I was just browsing for the sake of browsing and enjoying the air conditioning. Then it jumped out at me: a glass Garfield mug!

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McDonald’s sold these in the 80s, and I found one a few years back, but the shop wanted too much money for it. I wasn’t going to pass up this sucker, because they were selling it for 29 fucking cents! 29 cents barely gets you anything of value anymore, but today, it got me a damned Garfield mug! I looked to see if there were any more; sadly, there were not. But still, what a great find!

I also bought an old blender. Yeah, I know, not my usual fare. It’s an Osterizer Galaxie, one of those things that used to be in everyone’s kitchen back in the 70s and 80s.

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I needed a blender, and they said this one works fine, so I figured, what the hell?

After killing about an hour searching the web for info about these babies, I decided to try it out by tossing in some ice cubes and water. The results? Not bad for an appliance that’s probably older than I am. The thing certainly isn’t quiet, but it blends, and it even kinda smashed up the ice cubes. Plus, it has vintage charm, and best of all, it only cost me six dollars. I call it a win.

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Nostalgiathon #1: More Thrift Store Adventures

It’s the first day of the Nostalgiathon! It snuck up on me pretty fast, since my life has actually been busy for once. But we’re right on schedule. However, tomorrow’s post might be late…I have a funeral to go to. (More about that later this week.) I’ll try real hard to write it today so I can just post it tomorrow when I get a chance, but that’s not carved in stone.

I was debating whether or not I should give you guys an itinerary or something, but…I’ve decided to keep it mostly a surprise. Kinda like not knowing what toy you’re gonna get in your Happy Meal.

Also, some of you guys offered up suggestions. As a token of my gratitude, I’m going to do my best to incorporate most of them into the Nostalgiathon. But I make no promises as to how well I’ll be able to incorporate them. I’ve never really done this before, you know!

I made a couple more thrift store trips in the past week. If you haven’t seen my first post chronicling my thrift store adventures, go check it out when you get a minute, since this is sort of like a continuation of that.

Anyway, I discovered another thrift store in a different part of town than the other ones I went to. It’s called Uptown Bargains, and I’ve actually been to their other huge store on the southside, but that was a couple of years ago. (I may have to go there again soon when I get a chance.)

One thing that’s cool about this place is everything is marked with a colored tag (green, gray, blue, yellow and orange I think). And certain colors get 50% off. I think it rotates but I’m not sure. The last time I went, gray and blue tags were 50% off, which really worked to my advantage.

Anyway, if you didn’t read the first post, these are the things I’m typically looking for when I go to these places:

– Toys
– Unique VHS tapes
– Kids’ books
– Anything old and quirky

In the old and quirky category, this thrift store fares pretty well, actually. The reason why I haven’t bought any of that stuff is because most of the old and quirky things are retro T-shirts and TVs, and they’re more expensive. They even had a top-loading VCR, but it looked like it might have been dropped and I think it was like ten dollars. They also had an old TV that actually kinda looked more like an old computer monitor. Very interesting.

VHS tapes? Well…they have a lot of them, and there are some good titles, but none of them are rare enough to justify buying. There also weren’t any home-recorded ones at all– I’m thinking they probably don’t accept them, which is a shame.

And now, the toy department.

The first time I went to this store, I scored pretty big. I went wandering around looking for the toys and from a distance an 18″ Red Butler doll shone out to me like a beacon. As usual, I said, “OH MY GOD” out loud and made a fool of myself as I rushed over to check it out.

Red Butler is one of the Color Kids from Rainbow Brite, only one of the two that’s male. That’s him over there on the right:

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Upon closer inspection, I saw that this doll was in extremely good condition. Upon even closer inspection, I found that it’s not vintage, but it’s one of the toys from the 2003 line. (The new line of toys all have orange tags with the Rainbow Brite logo on them. Dead giveaway.) But I didn’t give a shit, it was still Red fucking Butler. Here’s what the doll looks like.

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I haven’t figured out if it’s a reproduction of an old doll or what, but I’m pretty sure it’s not. The only ones I’ve seen that I’m sure are vintage are the smaller dolls. Some of the big ones are listed on eBay as vintage when they’re actually the 2003 doll, so who knows. And like I said, I don’t really care too much. He’s still a great find.

And right next to him was a bonus. A huge, soft Rainbow Brite. It’s from the 2003 line, not just because of the orange tag but because I’m pretty sure they never made a Rainbow Brite like this in the 80s:

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When I say “huge”, I mean she’s about 27″ tall. Compared to the majority of my other toys, that’s like fucking King Kong or something. Except King Kong was never this cuddly. It’s neat to have a cuddly Rainbow Brite, because the old-school 18″ doll has one of those big plastic heads that aren’t exactly great for snuggling up to sleep with.

Needless to say, I tucked both of them under my arm and kept on looking. I also found a plush manatee and snatched that up because it was damn cute and it could be friends with the plush walrus I have. God I’m a dork.

Anyway, the next find was a shocking one. Remember how I found VINTAGE CARE BEAR at one of those other thrift stores? Well, VINTAGE CARE BEAR now has a friend. Yes, I found ANOTHER VINTAGE FUCKING CARE BEAR. Why do I always capitalize it? Because it’s awesome, that’s why. And with this one, I didn’t have to buy a bunch of other toys I didn’t really want! Even better.

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It’s Love a Lot Bear! And mine’s in fantastic shape, too, considering how old it is. Honestly, it looks like it hasn’t been played with much at all. The tag isn’t even faded. Sometimes I wonder how these things end up in thrift stores. VINTAGE CAAARE BEEAAARS

And the price for all this great stuff? Eight bucks. Yes.

My second visit was just a few days ago. I didn’t get nearly as much loot as I did the first time I went there, but that’s because I also had significantly less money (only four dollars). That doesn’t mean I didn’t find a couple of cool things, though.

They had two 80s Cabbage Patch Kids. The girl’s hair was sort of disheveled, but she had her original dress (I know this because it has a patch on it that says “Cabbage Patch Kids”) and was in good shape otherwise. There was a boy too, who had his original shirt but had no pants. Both of them were 2.99, so it was one or the other. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I kept digging around, hoping to unearth something worth writing about.

You guys remember The Wuzzles? (No? Maybe this will jog your memory.) Well, I found a Wuzzles plushie! At first I wasn’t sure what I had just freed from the bottom of the pile, but when I realized it was Butterbear I was like, holy crap, I have to buy this thing. Because I had never seen a Wuzzles plushie before. I had some of the cartoon episodes on tape and I had one of the read-along book and tape things, though.

Here’s what she looks like:

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So now I was torn in two. I only had four dollars, so I couldn’t afford a Wuzzle and a Cabbage Patch Kid. I decided to go with Butterbear, because if I really wanted to, I could probably find another Cabbage Patch Kid pretty easily. Probably not for three bucks, though, so I kinda regret that I had to leave them behind.

Anyway, the plushie is in great condition. If you didn’t already know, you wouldn’t be able to tell it was 23 years old. Especially since the tag has been cut off.

I almost forgot to mention the selection of books at this place. The first time I went, I didn’t really look, but this time I decided to go through it thoroughly.

They have some real relics, like Highlights books from the early 70s. There are a lot of old kids’ books, but I didn’t find too many that I really wanted.

While I was looking, I remembered a book that I used to love as a kid and was one of the first ones I ever read: a Little Golden Book called Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree. And I thought, you know, it would be kickass if they had that book.

I looked them over one more time, and right before I was going to give up, I found a gold spine that I’d missed before. I pulled it out and said to myself, “Well, I’ll be damned.” It was Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree! The cover was sort of faded, but the pages were in good shape for a 26-year-old book (there’s an inscription inside that’s dated 1982), and it was only 50 cents. Needless to say, I didn’t have to argue with myself much over that purchase.

I’ll definitely be going back to this place sometime when I get some more money to blow, though I’m kind of afraid that I already bought all the really cool stuff they had. We’ll see.

Thrift Store Adventures

Much to everyone’s delight (or dismay?), here’s another post already. There must be something in the water, because I’ve also got another post that’s simmering on the back burner as I write this one.

Today, I am going to blather on about thrift stores. I used to do this in my Livejournal from time to time, but I haven’t been junk hunting in quite a while. Since I had a few dollars in my pocket and some gas in my tank, I decided to go do just that.

I’ll start by saying that it’s actually quite difficult to find anything of value in thrift stores these days. Sure, you can find old things, but…mostly things that are old in that obsolete, halfway-functioning, worn-out way. Stuff that should probably be thrown away instead of sold.

Also, awesome 80s toys are sort of rare in these places nowadays. (I blame eBay.) I have gotten lucky before though, and that’s what keeps me going back.

Here are the things I’m usually looking for when I go to these places:

1. Toys. Older toys are preferable, but if it’s cute and cheap I’ll typically buy it.
2. Unique VHS tapes. I also look for the home-recorded kind, because those often have cool commercials.
3. Kids’ books. I try to find ones that I had as a kid, but that’s not necessary.
4. Anything that’s old and quirky or otherwise catches my eye. Like knick-knacks or what-have-you.

The first place I went today was the nearest Goodwill. Let me tell ya, if you’re looking for cool old shit, do not go to this place. You’ll find plenty of shit, lots of which is old, but very, very far from being cool. I swear to God all they have is racks and racks and racks of clothes– which isn’t a bad thing, but they never have anything that fits me or looks decent –and four walls full of shelves that are packed with cups, glasses, plates, and useless odds and ends.

In the toy department, this Goodwill fails utterly because it DOESN’T HAVE ONE. How can you be a thrift store and not have a damn toy section?!

The VHS section was too sad to even talk about.

The books section was a complete nightmare, so I didn’t even bother trying to look through the kids’ books. Damn kids not knowing how to put things back on the shelf properly.

And quirky things? Well…they had a pile of records, most of which were from people nobody’s ever heard of. But they did have a couple that stood out.

One of them was called Sesame Street Fever. The jacket was covered in images of Grover and Bert and Ernie wearing white polyester leisure suits. The other was that Mickey Mouse Disco record that every kid in America had a copy of. Living in the 1970s must have been…interesting.

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I seriously considered picking them up just for the novelty of owning such ridiculous things, but the records didn’t have any prices on them, I didn’t feel like tracking someone down to ask about it, and I don’t have a record player anyway. I really hope I’m not going to regret the decision to leave them behind.

So, overall, Goodwill sucks ass and I don’t know why I keep trying to find things there.

Next, I went to this little bitty thrift store and I really wish I hadn’t. There was no one in sight when I went in, and it was silent. I was sufficiently creeped out. Just as I was going to leave, the owner came out from the back of the store. He asked me a bunch of semi-personal questions and then told me he was looking to hire someone. I said I wasn’t looking for a job, because I’m not, and I just wanted to get out of there.

But I didn’t leave empty-handed. For 50 cents, I got one of those Christmas-y Baby Fozzie plushies that McDonald’s sold in 1988. Here’s what he looks like, except mine is missing his hat. Sadface.

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This thrift store failed in all categories. AND it was uncomfortable. I don’t think I’m ever going back there again.

Next up is Ultimate Thrift Store. Pretty pretentious name if you ask me.

Toys? They had plenty but they were all uninteresting and/or ugly. LOTS of naked Barbies. Also, just about every single thrift store does that thing where they stuff a bunch of random, unrelated toys into a plastic bag, seal it up and mark it “$2.98”. And it has a note on it that says that it can’t be sold if the bag is opened. I hate this practice so damn much. I can understand why they do it, but still.

Books? Couldn’t find any, but I could have just missed them.

VHS tapes? They had plenty of them, but none were really of interest to me. Except for the home-recorded ones. They had a couple bags full of them that were priced at $1.98, but it was more of this “DON’T OPEN THE BAG DAMMIT” crap. One bag had a bunch of recordings that dated back to the early 90s (according to the labels), mostly of movies and stuff. Another bag only had one tape that was labeled. I thought about getting one of them, but I couldn’t decide which one, and buying these things is a pretty big gamble. You either get a goldmine or a pile of uselessness. So I left them there. Sigh.

Oh, and as for other interesting things…well, they had this VCR that I probably would have bought, but the power cord was cut off! Eff that noise. Even if it is only a dollar, I don’t have the means with which to put on a new power cord. I would’ve liked to have had that thing, too.

Lastly, I hit up Unique Thrift Store. Another bad name, since it was pretty much exactly like all the other stores I’ve been to.

However, I can’t complain too much because this is where I really scored.

Their toy department was loaded with those bags, and I finally decided to look at some of them. One had a big white Pound Puppy in it and a little black one, and a Miss Piggy plushie like the Fozzie one I got. But the little Pound Puppy’s nose was coming off, and the other toys in the bag looked pretty forgettable, so I kept browsing.

Another one caught my eye– it had a Care Bear in it. I took a closer look, thinking about how I don’t really like to buy Care Bears because they’re almost always the new, dumb ones and HOLY SHIT WAIT A MINUTE. This Care Bear was not a newer one. This sucker was VINTAGE. Its name is Good Luck Bear, so it’s green and has a clover on it. I could tell it was old by the different face and the funny lock of “hair” on top of its head. Its right eye is fixed in a permanent wink as if to say, “You know you wanna take me home, baby.”

Here’s what it looks like. Thank you eBay.

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So now I was torn. Pound Puppy and Miss Piggy plus a bunch of other toys I didn’t want, or VINTAGE CARE BEAR? In the end, I went with the Care Bear and was pleasantly surprised to find a circa-1980s Odie plushie hidden in there, along with a few other random cute things and only a few that were lame, including Beanie Babies of Donkey and Puss in Boots from Shrek. Who needs those bastards when I have VINTAGE CAAAARE BEEEAR.

Why am I so excited about VINTAGE CARE BEAR? Because I only paid three dollars for it. These things typically go for at least ten or more on the internet, not including shipping. Victory is mine.

Other than that awesome find, though…this thrift store was about as boring as the rest of ’em. What’s odd is they also had VCRs with the power cords cut off. Okay, now I’m wondering what sick reason they have for circumcising these poor machines. Why even sell them if you’re going to do that? I mean, I guess if you need VCR parts they’d be worth the money, but still.

Also, a lot of their other small appliances were grossly overpriced. They wanted ten bucks for a rice cooker. I can get a brand new one for fifteen to twenty dollars. Who do they think they’re fooling here? Not me, that’s for sure. They also wanted twelve dollars for a thirty-year-old food processor, which is pretty hilarious. Mark it down to five and then we’ll talk.

Anyway, junk hunting sure does get frustrating sometimes, but there have actually been very few times that I haven’t come home with anything. I think VINTAGE FUCKING CARE BEAR OMG was definitely worth all the bullcrap I went through today.

Well, that’s it for that! Expect a post in the next day or so relating to everyone’s favorite thing: food.