Library Rambler: Dealing with an unexpected thrift store purchase
I am not afraid to admit that I buy some of my clothes at thrift stores. Whenever possible, I shop at thrift stores in towns where wealthy people live. My thinking is that, in addition to buying expensive clothes, they might also leave a $50 bill in the pocket. This is not as wild as it seems. I once found a $5 bill in my own sport coat pocket that I forgot about.
Since I believe Appleton has many rich people, I always stop in that town’s thrift stores when I can. While visiting family there, I happened to learn that there was a job at a local library. I decided to stop in the library, see what the people were like, and ask a few questions.
The problem was, I was visiting from out west, and had only fishing clothes with me. I needed to buy a sport coat-cheap.
In a local thrift store, I found a sport coat for $10 that almost fit me. I could not quite get the front buttoned, and I had to hitch my pants up a bit to make the coat look like it was long enough. Other than that, I thought the brown polyester looked great.
As I walked toward the cash register, I remembered to rummage through the pockets for that $50 bill. I had not quite finished rummaging when I had to lay the coat down for the cashier. As it lay on the counter, I could tell that there was something in the front left pocket. Moving the coat closer to the cashier, the outline of the object became clearer.
I knew instantly what it was: a tie clasp (more than likely a gold one with rubies,) but then I was afraid the clerk, like me, had also seen the bejeweled clasp through the coat fabric. I had visions of appearing on Antiques Roadshow. “Did you know that Louis Comfort Tiffany only made four tie clasps,” Mark Walberg would say.
Fortunately, the cashier did not notice, and I walked out with jewels, and all for $10 and change.
To avoid any questions about ownership, I waited until I was in my car with the coat on and the engine started before reaching into the pocket to pull out the Tiffany tie clasp. Holding it up to the light, I discovered that it was a small, partially used tube of Preparation H.
I am not yet a user of this fine product, but have been educated about its usage. Thinking about all the places that tube could have been, it seemed best at the time that I return it to its home in the left coat pocket of the jacket.
When talking to people I have just met, I sometimes find myself fidgeting with odd objects I leave in my pockets: a pen, a coin, a piece of paper, or-if I did not get rid of it as soon as possible-a half empty tube of Preparation H.
Walking toward the front of the library, I saw a trash can, and was about to toss the tube into it, when the maintenance man suddenly turned the corner with a fresh trash can liner in his hands. I hesitated, with the evidence still in my pocket, and then decided that throwing it away in front of a witness was too incriminating.
I do not remember much of what happened afterward as I talked with other librarians, except that I kept repeating to myself, “Do not put your hands in your pockets.”
Rhinelander District Library Director Ed Hughes is available at (715) 365-1070.