Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Wonderful World of Stuff for Sale

When my colleague Kathleen asked me to come with her to buy a microwave for our office, I jumped at the chance since a) I’m always up for an excuse to flee my cube and b) we were going to be shopping in a restaurant supply house. I adore these kind of oversized, odd stores filled with weird merchandise that has no relation to your life but which seem to imply they could solve all your problems if only you could figure out how to utilize a commercial grade margarita blender.

Much along those lines is the bizarre store in Chinatown on Stockton near Green Street. I don’t know what its name is, or even if it has a name; we call it the World O’ Crap Emporium. Long rows crammed to the ceiling with teetering piles of both flotsam and jetsam. Chinese comic books and plastic washtubs in very unnatural colors and sandals that would probably self-destruct the first time you hit the street in them and those very cool red and gold spirit houses you see in cheap Thai restaurants and car repair tools that, possibly, did not come straight from some fence and god knows what all. That’s the beauty of it, you cannot possibly take it all in, let alone see it all. Plus you just know if there’s an earthquake while you’re in there, you will die in a rain of knock-off ginzu knives and be buried under a heap of silky Quiana ladyboy underpants, three for a dollar.

I’m also a big fan of thrift stores, but who isn’t? Well, R Man, for one. He refuses to enter one without sulking and considering how mediocre the ones here in San Francisco are, it’s hard to blame him. Our dear friend DianeinTexas tries not to make me feel bad about how much better the pickings in Austin are, but even Thrift Town on Mission St. and Community Thrift on Valencia (which are the best we have) are but pallid shadows of the ones she has at her fingertips. Not that I’m bitter. Sort of.

I gotta go.


  1. "buried under a heap of silky Quiana ladyboy underpants"

    I think this I might request this in the will.

  2. I've requested, numerous times, to be buried under a heap of silky ladyboys, but so far it hasn't happened.

  3. You'll probably never see this, but I'm slightly appalled that you think the thrift stores in SF aren't worthwhile. My favorite blue velvet jacket came from a 'vintage' shop in the Haight Ashbury for four dollars. It's the jacket I want to be buried in.

    *no seriously, it's fabulous. HUGE peak lapels, the kind that poke slightly over the shoulder, and skinny like crazy. Very mod. Bright deep royal blue.*

  4. Fine, fine. Now I get to be even more bitter. My only comfort is to picture me at the funeral, swathed in black like Jackie and assuring everyone "No, really, he wanted to look like that."


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