Monthly Archives: May 2015

What is the best thrift store in Orange County?

Beach Cities.

Beach Cities.

 

Short Answer:
The assistance league.

Long Answer:
I love thrift stores. Like young Jim Hawkin’s in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, I am on a treasure hunt whenever I go shopping at a thrift sore. However with a thrift store you won’t find too much booty or gold. Just old clothes and housewares. But, there is still some great finds to be found at any thrift store and if you want to maximize your hunt for the best deal and selection, you need to maximize your time. That is where the assistance League comes in with their great shops.

Better than Goodwill stores is the Assistance League Stores. Goodwill is great, but I think that the Assistance league takes it up a step with their friendly old lady volunteers running the shops. Also the quality and options tend to be a bit better.On the lookout for deal!

On the lookout for deal!

What exactly is the Assistance League (A.L.)?
“Assistance League, a national organization was founded in Los Angeles in 1935, is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonsectarian charitable organization. Each member of Assistance League is a volunteer, committed to their community and the collective goal of bettering it.”

Sounds pretty good. So every time you shop there, you are helping out the community.

I have visited both the Assistance League’s Irvine Store and Laguna Beach store. Both are great, however the Laguna beach store is bigger and has a better selection. The Irvine location is a bit harder to find since they moved locations to their relatively new location off Alton. But both have good stuff. Plus the last time I was in the Irvine store, everything was half off! What a deal!

Pros
Locations
No matter where you live in O.C the Assistance likely has a store within only 10-15 minutes of you.
Here are the locations I found courtesy of the A.L. websites.  The locations I have been to:

Laguna Beach.  (Link)
Irvine.  (Link)

Other Locations:
Huntington Beach. (Link)
Santa Ana. (Link)
Tustin / Orange. (Link)
Newport Beach / Costa Mesa. (Link)
Fullerton. (Link)

Selection.
You are getting some goods that are given away from the upper middle class of well to do Orange County. Great deals to be had on some barley used dress shirts and dress pants. I think what makes the assistance league such a god thrift store is that the items there tend to be fairly nice. Not too used or completely worthless.

I picked up a great green polo for 75 cents. Yes! Less than a dollar for a great shirt. I have kept that shirt for 5 years now!

The best find yet.  Only $0.75!
The best find yet. Only $0.75!

Friendly Staff
Don’t let the bad yelp reviews steer you away, the staff is friendly and helpful.

Prices.
Dress shirts for less than $5. Pint glasses for $1.00 Board games for $3.00 Books for $1.00. Dvd’s for $3.00. Dress Shirts for less than $5.00

No Sales Tax!
Since Thrift stores are typically run by charitable organizations, you don’t have to pay sales tax in California. That’s like getting a 10% discount! Yeah! 

Parking.
Like any good store in OC, the Assistance league has parking options a plenty. No circling the block when you are on your hunt.

Sales /E-mail lists. For the really deal conscious, you can sign up to be on the mailing list at your local sore to now of new specials and new arrivals.

Now there are some downsides.

Cons:
Hours.
They are open hours which would be considered non standard. From 10 to 3pm about four days a week (with some open on Saturdays). Most are closed Sunday and Mondays. Not your typical store hours since they are run by volunteers. The hours is really a major downside for those that work standard hours.

Selection.
I know I said selection was a plus, but it is also a negative as it is a thirft store. If you need a gray medium hoodie, you are best to go to American apparel to get it if you need it for sure because as with any thrift store, you never know what you will get.

Set Prices.
For those who are more keen to negotiate (which admitely is not me), you can’t haggle on the prices. I overheard one man trying to negotiate his purchase but the staff became quite upset when he tried to do that. So you have to pay what the price tag says.

So check out the Assistance League
They have such random stuff. Staples, tape dispensers. Like a hoarders dream!  That’s an idea for a reality tv show! Thrift store hoarders. I said it first!

In the words of Sam Walton (of Wal-mart fame) Save Money live Better. Shop at thrift stores.