Once upon a time, a thrift store moved into a commercial building near my apartment. For a few months, we endured the loud construction noises and the constant flow of trucks. Once that was over, it seemed the worst part of living near a thrift store was behind us. How wrong we were. In the months since, we have discovered the following joys:
Thrift stores are unbelievably loud. If you live near the dumpster area where they trash the items they won’t sell, you’ll endure hours of noise, ranging from breaking glass to clanging metal. There’s also the constant presence of trucks bringing and taking loads back and forth. The constant noise is extra painful during the summer when we regularly leave our windows open. There’s nothing as fun as being woken up at 2AM when the trash truck comes to collect the garbage from the dumpster.
Litter is just a fact of city life. However, this particular thrift store seems to excel at attracting litter and ignoring it. Occasionally, I’ll see some poor employee making a vain effort to clean up the sidewalk. But the litter will quickly return the next day. For whatever reason, my fellow citizens also see this thrift store as a great place to randomly dump old stuff. I don’t know why these people can’t actually make it to the store to drop off the items; instead they just dump broken televisions and couches right on the sidewalk.
This particular “perk” is something I never would have guessed, but it makes sense to me now. Basically, people tend to congregate around the dumpsters after hours, looking for anything of value. I’m not entirely sure what these individuals are looking for, but my guess would be mostly scrap metal and broken furniture that can be fixed. It’s always a bit surprising to look out the window and see people standing in a dumpster.
Thrift stores are popular and attract a wide range of people, from the broke college student looking for cheap furniture to the savvy online seller who wants to resell old books on eBay. This leads to an insane amount of traffic on our street. The building’s previous tenant never attracted this level of traffic.
To be clear, I have no real issue with thrift stores in particular. They serve their purpose and are helpful to a great deal of people. However, I can safely say that they make terrible neighbors.