Best Times for a Bargain
October 14, 2010 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Is there an ideal time for buying second hand/consignment clothing?

I live in Seattle, and attend the big University there. In the neighborhood, there are a couple of those buy/sell clothing stores, along the times of Buffalo Exchange. School started two weeks ago (U WA is on the quarter schedule, so we start super-late), and last week, I went into some of the used clothing stores; I gotta tell you, the selection really sucked, across the board. They seemed to have much less than they normally did (partly because they had such huge Halloween displays, and even then, the regular racks weren't packed as tightly as they usually were), and what they did have out tended to the cheaper brands (Forever 21, Old Navy), or things that already looked pretty worn, or were trends so played out, even I could tell they were a played out trend. When I go to second hand clothing stores, I'm looking for crazy bargains on Frye boots or those $180 Anthropologie dresses for $25, or this pair of brand new tags-still-on Express pants that I got for $14 this summer.

"Well, of course," I thought. "The population of the campus has suddenly multiplied, and there's probably a ton of freshman who are new here; everyone has probably just raided this place for all it's worth."

So, question: when are these kids going to need some money, and realize they need to sell some clothes? That is, if the beginning of the school year is the worst time to try to buy used clothing, what are some of the best times going to be?

If you have worked at this kind of store before, is there a "cycle" of when people are selling, and when people are buying that stays pretty true? Is there a similar cycle for thrift stores or the true vintage places (although I know their ecomomics are different)?
posted by Ideal Impulse to Shopping (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
At the end of the semester, when people are moving and going home for the summer/holidays.
posted by keeo at 4:44 PM on October 14, 2010


I would definitely ask someone who works at the individual store. Different stores might be slightly different in their responses, depending on how often and from where they get their stock. And they'll be glad to point people toward opportunities to spend more money at their store.
posted by hermitosis at 4:50 PM on October 14, 2010


The weeks after Christmas seem to involve a lot of either shedding items to make space for the new acquisitions (gifts), or direct donation of unwanted gifts.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:57 PM on October 14, 2010


Depends.

Find a few consignment places that you like, drop by every so often.

Being a regular can end up with the employees/owner setting aside stuff that's *you* - I'm a dude and I got an owner to save stuff that would be me.

My sister and her friends seem to offload once a year - which don't coincide with seasons - a year or two worth of clothes. It takes time and maybe a little effort to set yourself up for great second hand shopping.

If you have the time and the knowledge, this could even turn into a part-time job picking up great pieces on-the-cheap and re-selling them on ebay or other consignment stores.
posted by porpoise at 9:05 PM on October 14, 2010


I've heard that Mondays are good days to browse vintage clothing stores since the shop owners are likely to have picked up new stock from sales at the weekends.
posted by Ness at 3:08 AM on October 15, 2010


I don't see this one listed, but there are good times to buy "everything" http://lifehacker.com/5440376/best-time-to-buythe-best-times-to-buy-anything-all-year-round
posted by Blake at 7:40 AM on October 15, 2010


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