If you've never experienced the Bitch and Swap you've likely had me tell you a story about one of the now many that I have attended. In a nutshell, a woman invites her friends over for an afternoon to swap old clothing. Specific rules of the swap differ according to hostess, but the general idea is to bring items of clothing, books, household goods that are still in good shape but no longer your taste or no longer fit you, for example.
Yesterday HR hosted a small swap (5 of us total) to which I brought two xtra large Pearl Paint bags of clothing, shoes, etc. The idea of the swap is if you take anything, you should try to leave with less than what you came with. This achievement means a big pile of clothing ends up going to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. At yesterday's swap I obtained the following items:
Quite a good haul, but the true beauty of this swap was what HR introduced me to afterwards - Beacon's Closet. We went to the one in Park Slope, but there's a store in Williamsburg as well (Brooklyn, people, Brooklyn). The tagline is, "Buy Trade Sell," and this place has it down to a science. You walk straight to the back with the items you want to sell where there is a counter with about 3 women taking bags. They tell you how long it will take to review your stuff and in the meantime you can shop around the store, cruise 5th Avenue, or just hang and wait. You have the option of taking back the clothing they won't buy, or you can dump it in a big black trash bag that's going to a local charity. As for the stuff they do buy, here's the rub: the store tallies up the value of your lot (how it will price the items once on sale) and you are entitled to 35% of that amount in cash OR 55% of that amount in store credit. You can also mix it up and buy a little something there and receive any difference in cash.
I had a good lot, and was entitled to about $40 in cash or $60 in store credit. I "bought" 2 skirts and received $25 in cash. A number of years ago I tried selling some clothes to Tokyo 7 on 7th Street in the East Village. They wouldn't take anything and I could have sworn they laughed as they reviewed some of my items. Beacon's Closet, you have won my patronage and you've helped Brooklyn score 1 more point in the Pros and Cons list I have running in my head.
So there you have it, that's what I do when I can't shop - I manage to get my fix nonetheless.