This is a public service announcement.
Know your rights – all three of them.
I live upstairs from a Buffalo Exchange. This has turned out to be the only shitty thing about my living situation for the last year, and I realize that all things considered, it is not that shitty. But I really, really, hate the Buffalo Exchange. I have no idea how a group of people who work at a thrift store, no… actually thrift store aside, I have no idea how a group of people in general could possibly be so up their own asses. Like, how do they even manage to maneuver through the rest of the world on a day-to-day basis?
When I first moved here, I didn’t give this establishment a whole lot of thought. Rabid infestation of hipsters aside, it was just another trite thrift store. And in fairness, I live in what could easily be called the West Coast center of the hispterpocalypse anyhow. [I only assume there are more of them in Brooklyn because it just seems like there would be based on the apparent genetics of Brooklynites who just look like hipsters no matter how they dress, talk, bike or choose bad beer.] Further, I think that the idea of reusing clothes is good on many levels of economics, the environment and general good karma.
But the Buffalo Exchange is different.
First of all, I brought tons of used clothes down there when I was going through all of my stuff last year. Each time I would patiently wait for the Hipster-on-Duty to slowly and disinterestedly go through the clothes of the one or two people in front of me (generally a half an hour or so) barely able to stifle their yawns and eyerolls, as they made two piles: one of things they would generously, but reluctantly – because you clearly have insanely poor taste in clothes – take from the person, and then a second, far larger pile of things that “just don’t fit in with the fashion sensibility” of the store. Are you fucking kidding me? Unlike a lot of people who go there, I was not looking to make a trade or money, I wanted to get rid of heaps of old clothes. As the Super-Cool-Probably-A-Writer/Slam Poet/Indie-film Maker-Desperately Seeking Susan Knock-off-Girl went through the pile I brought down, she concluded that really, none of the clothes were suitable for their store. I said that was fine, did they have a donation program where I could get rid of them and she yawned and said yes. I left, glad at least to be free of the clothes.
I brought a second load down a few days later, mostly just to be free of the excess again. There was a different person working who looked equally pained at the burden of their incredible coolness and the tragedy of having to deal with people so far below them in every way. As I sat and waited, I was surprised to see my old Adidas shell-toes on the rack in front of me. For Sale. I could not believe it, but was not in the mood to deal with it. After a 20 minute (or so) wait while the person in front of me deliberated about whether they wanted $10 cash or $20 store credit for their most worthy used items, I heaved another load up on the counter. Without more detail, I can just tell you it was the same thing as the time before. I said, “Okay. I will donate them then.” Sleepy-Bored-Annoyed-Guy responded by pointing to a large bin behind the counter. Unable to help my self I said, “So, uh, when I put things in that bin, do they really get donated?” He looked at me with complete confusion. I repeated the question more slowly. He said, “What do you mean?” Mystified, I began to repeat the question a third time, but instead (crafty teacher that I am) I decided to use an example. “See those shoes?” I pointed at the white Adidas. He looked. “I brought those in with a bunch of clothes two days ago that didn’t make the cut for the store so I donated them. But now you are selling them.”
“No we are not.”
“They are free?”
“No. Those shoes are for sale, but we did not take them from the donation bin.”
“Actually, you did, and I can identify them as mine if you like.”
“That is not possible.”
I showed him the identifying mark inside the shoe.
“Well, then we must have paid you for them.”
“No. You did not.”
“Well, I didn’t but someone must have.”
I shit you not, this was an actual conversation. I left the pile of clothes and went home.
My involvement with the Buffalo Exchange as any sort of viable commercial interest, or charitable opportunity ended that day. And everyday I see people waiting to trade in their things with pitiful expressions of hope as they try every possible way to impress these douchettes and douchebags at the counter only to be sent away, told that they are the pariahs of the fashion world, how could they even think that the Buffalo Exchange would want their disgusting attempts at cool clothes? I imagine the employees have a laugh over all these people as soon as they turn their backs, disguising it as their American Spirit induced hacking if anyone would dare to look back upon the Painfully Hip with their ridiculously unhip eyes.
My biggest [current] complaint about the Buffalo Exchange has had little to do with their stupid policies, or the so-obviously-intentionally-unintentional fashion sense they cultivate among their staff and patrons. It is that every one of their employees feels it necessary to sit on the stairs leading into my building absent-mindedly smoking their shitty cigarettes (and leaving all of their butts behind on the ground) every day. A week or so ago, as I was unlocking the door Tall-Skinny-Jean-Wearing-Blonde-Boufant-Coiffed-With-Plaid-Kid stood up, blew smoke in my face and stubbed out his butt leaving it on the ground while I watched him the entire time. When I asked if he was going to pick up his litter he looked at me with the same confusion I so often see on their faces. To be fair, he may really be that confused – I mean those pants have got to be messing up blood circulation to the brain, but still. Then two days ago I was leaving to go to the gym and Shorter-Guy-Who-Needs-To-Admit-His-Real-Size-To-Himself-But-Still-Wears-Skinny-Jeans-And-Undersized-Plaid-Shirts was reclining against the doorway actually preventing my exit. When I interrupted his hazy American Spirited reverie, he appeared extremely put out, if not downright insulted.
I swear to god I want to give all their fixie bikes gears and pull out their silly moustache hairs. Instead, I am just that lady who gets to call the store and kindly (mostly) request that the employees of this establishment please find somewhere else to smoke. Yeah. I am that lady.
So, in the interest of this PSA, let’s review:
Number 1: You have the right not to be killed by your fashion sense. Murder is a crime, unless it is done by a Hipsters sense of style.
Number 2: You have the right to clothes money, providing of course you don’t mind a little humiliation, investigation. Which, clearly, you do not.
I don’t really care what people want to dress like and I appreciate the variety that is evident at every turn in San Francisco. But I do feel that I should be able to be uneffected by the nonsense. I would like to see these Brooklyn Hipster traps around here.
Though, I suppose we all have rights….
And it has been suggested in some quarters
That this is not enough!
Well – –
Get off the streets!
Get off the streets!!
No, really. Get. Off. The. Streets.