Descending into the Salvation Army Thrift Store "As Is" basement is like descending into a combination of a garbage dump, thrift store, and Night of the Living Dead.
It's the place where all the stuffed animals, chipped pottery, and unloved cassette tapes go to die. It's also the place to unearth the occasional piece of genuine treasure. Located on 12th ave near Main St in Vancouver, it's been the source for hours upon hours of free/cheap entertainment for moi. It's about 97% crap with a silver lining.
In my opinion, it's also one best people watching & conversation eavesdropping places in Vancouver. Average, middle aged bargain hunters mix with Main St. hipsters, new immigrants, single moms and dads - a true cultural cross section.
There are a couple of suggestions for activities:
• If it's your first visit, jump right in! Don't be afraid to dig through layers to find hidden treasure. Underneath that tinfoil turkey pan may lurk the collectible item you've been searching for!
• Be careful of broken glass and shards of sharp pottery. The staff in the "as is" department do not care that small children and the elderly regularly sift through boxes squeaking with glass bowls rubbing against each other. It's survival of the fittest down there. And that's why the staff wear leather gloves.
• If it's a return visit - it's fun to set up a small contest. Something like setting up the cutest or creepiest diorama, or who can find the strangest object that no one has any idea what it could be used for. I once saw a guy who was re-organizinig all the vinyl records so that all the same albums were the front of all the displays. So there was about 7 Barbara Streisands covers, 5 Neil Diamond, etc. That guy rocked!
On my last visit there I actually scored the perfect picture frame for my booth display. I have been looking for this type of frame for about a year - and there it was! It's that really light, plaster or plastic (?) kind which is great for looking ornate, but still keeping the weight down. (Important when you are lugging stuff around!). There it was in a random box with a discarded typewriter just waiting for me. Crazy.
I spent about 1 and a half hours there and spent exactly $8.00! Now that's a cheap date. It's fun to go on your own as well - you don't even need a date.