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A Thrift Store Employee's Guide to Reselling Clothes and Traumatizing Customers

How to shame your patrons for entering the store, and other helpful tips.
Image via Stocksy / Simone Bechetti

Dear New Employee,

Welcome to the Second Chances Re- and Up-cycled Clothing Emporium! We're so excited you're joining our team of stylists/customer service associates. Below, please find our general outlines for employee manner, customer interaction, and in-store merchandizing. And remember: you don't have to be here, you're better than this.

1) Attire and General Demeanor
If you were hired without a septum piercing, please correct this. Overall, your look and attitude should suggest that you live on a boat with your boyfriend who is a sculptor. The most important thing is that you are constantly using the store's landline phone, sighing, and changing the store's soundtrack to different Rihanna tracks. The "back of your Grandma's car" smell is bottled and should be spritzed throughout the store every thirty or forty minutes.


2) Merchandising
Two or three serviceable outfits should be placed on the mannequins in the window. The rest of the store should contain thin scarves, wrinkled summer dresses from Forever 21, and one or two vintage pieces that have seen better days. As a helpful sales technique, when anyone touches any item, don't look up but do loudly say, "That's so cute on you."

3) Customer Interaction
When not on the phone, cultivate an aura of visible pity for everyone entering the store, regardless of intent. Your most derisive eye rolls should be reserved for those attempting to sell their old clothing to you. While best practice would involve publicly picking through each article of clothing the customer has brought, discarding everything except a sad purse, if you're within an hour of closing, a withering "We'll call you if we find anything we want" will do.

4) Clothes-Buying Etiquette
Remember: clothing is very personal. The items brought in by customers have been with them through triumphs and failures, old loves and new jobs, so make sure to really handle them like there's a possibility that they have been contaminated with nuclear waste. If an item has an imperceptible snag or the extra buttons have fallen off the inside of a shirt, simply remind the customer that we do not accept "ruined" items. The same applies to stains. Our official policy is to refer to stained or discolored items as "soiled," as though perhaps the customer has shit directly into a bag of their clothes before sending them to us. Never, ever buy more than two items per large garbage bag brought in. Remember: you are doing these people a favor.

5) Pricing
Three shirts, two pairs of pants, and a particularly sentimental pair of favorite loafers should come up to about $3.25, or $700 in store credit.

Any other questions can be addressed to Jude, the manager/head buyer. She works Tuesday mornings (more frequently in the winter when the urban farm she runs is closed). There is no employee discount, but feel free to keep any of the clothes the store doesn't want to buy, we mostly make forts out of them in the back.