Good Stuff Disappearing From The Thrifts?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by 56GoldTop, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. 56GoldTop

    56GoldTop Unapologetic Music Ho Thread Starter

    I used to frequent various thrifts. Sometimes my luck was very good with records and electronics. However, I haven't been in a long time because it seemed like all the good stuff was gone. So, stopping into one of the better known thrifts today, I asked one of the workers I know there the question of why it seems like the selection has gotten quite... ...mediocre. The response came back quickly and succinctly, "Thieves, tag switchers, serial exchangers and con artists." Basically, I was told, despite what people think, the people who work for [the store] aren't ignorant. Some of them are very intelligent and know a lot about what they are pricing. If you get a deal, it's probably because they decided to give you one. But, I was also told that happens less and less because of the amount of shenanigans they see on a daily basis. Just a few of the things he outlined were: DVDs/CDs stolen out of the cases, people stuffing more than one record in an album cover, unboxing/unsealing small electronics and pocketing them, blatant shop lifting (including running helter skelter out of the store with a cart full of loot), switching tags on clothes and shoes and electronics as well as buying things at a low price, switching the tag with one of higher value and then returning/exchanging it for profit. Then I was asked, when was the last time I saw a Nintendo DS game or jewelry or even higher mid-fi gear sold here? I could go on; but, the gist of what I was hearing was that the more their customers steal, the more stuff winds up on auction and online... only. While this makes perfect sense to me, it also pisses me off. The only thing left for me to do was to make a note of where I could look for "the good stuff" online. It'll save me gas and time, anyway. "People" suck.
  2. timztunz

    timztunz Audioista

    Texas and Brasil
  3. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Eugene, Oregon
    I agree.

    There are still deals in my town: Oppo DVD players, Denon and Sony SACD players, the occasional integrated or pre-amp by Marantz or Parasound.

    Plenty of CD and vinyl deals to be found, but there are lots of treasure hunters here, so if there are dry spells, I think that has some to do with that. Plus we all like different things, so when I stumble across five XTC Geffen CDs, I know they have been just put out. If it is a Go West or The Feelies LP... well... one person's junk is another man's treasure.
    tmtomh and c-eling like this.
  4. Daily Nightly

    Daily Nightly Well-Known Member

    New Jersey, USA
    Best three things I've ever gotten from my local GW:
    Akai GX-630 reel to reel WITH HUBS(!), $29.99
    Tandberg TR-2045 receiver, $29.99
    Sony TA-444ES integrated amp, $34.99

    This was between 2009-2016. The Akai reel to reel just needed general maintenance; while, the Sony needed a replacement chip for one channel's preamp gain...and I rebuilt the Tandberg to keep and use daily.
  5. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    San Diego, CA, USA
    So, more people are value hunting for audio related bargains and the inventory of 'good stuff' (undervalued 'steals') goes down.

    It happened with antique japanese swords and related fittings over the 70's and 80's as interest picked up.

    Choose another niche - like vintage buckets or wood carved owls.
  6. EdogawaRampo

    EdogawaRampo Forum Resident

    And thieves suck even worse.
  7. 56GoldTop

    56GoldTop Unapologetic Music Ho Thread Starter

    My post was abridged. (We talked for a good while.) Sadly, this is the type of gear I won't be seeing there, anymore and probably not any XTC albums, either (unless they're beaters). :mad: :shake:
  8. 56GoldTop

    56GoldTop Unapologetic Music Ho Thread Starter

    Not sure what you mean. I've no problem with working harder to find a bargain. Hell, I have no problem forking over a paycheck for a great piece of new gear. More interest in the hobby is a great thing in my book. But, thievery is thievery.
    macster and Kristofa like this.
  9. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Eugene, Oregon
    I find a lot of empty cases when I hunt in Tacoma, but in Eugene, it is only occasionally that a case will be empty. One shop in town tapes their CD cases so severe, they need replaced with new cases. Regardless of how often I shop there, I am still treated with suspicion and distrust. I still shop there, but it is not my first stop.

    I work in loss prevention, so I understand the desire to protect product. But regular shoppers should be treated with respect until they show indicators... and I don't display indicators.
    56GoldTop likes this.
  10. 56GoldTop

    56GoldTop Unapologetic Music Ho Thread Starter

    It's pretty sad that a shop should have to resort to clamping down on product that much. Where I was, they don't do that, yet. But, I'm starting to think maybe they should.
  11. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Eugene, Oregon
    If they do, tell them not to use the cheapest packing tape on the planet! :mad:
  12. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Resident blabbermouth

    They always have. What else is new?
  13. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    My local buys and sells dirt cheap, stuff goes fast so I usually pop in once or twice a week.
    50 a pop over two years.
    The Yamaha replaced a newer Onkyo, no HDMI or digital in, excellent sounding amp section :)
    RX-V2090, ancient, but it just sounds so good
    Onkyo DV-SP800 5.1 SACD/DVD-A/DVD
    Denon DRS-610 Cassette Deck
    bluesky, tmtomh, Sneaky Pete and 5 others like this.
  14. Marcev

    Marcev Active Member

    New York
    We have a few different "Chain" type of thrift stores in my little part of Long Island. What I've found is that the more savvy of the shops have gotten wise to what vintage equipment is worth, locks it up and charges much higher prices accordingly. The less savvy gets the occasional bargain but there are too many bargain hunters in each store that I don't have time to keep up with it. So, I settle for the occasional obscure LP, last one being the Original Soundtrack album from 2001 a space odyssey.
  15. qwerty

    qwerty A resident of the SH_Forums.

    When Electrical Testing+Tagging became a requirement most of our Op Shops stopped carrying electrical items. Over recent years many have acquired a testing device and trained staff to test donations, or have someone come in to do it. Even so, when the rare piece of audio equipment does appear on the shelf it is usually sub-entry-level quality. I can't recall when I have come across any audio equipment that would be considered reasonable entry level.

    I live under the delusion that one day I might discover a quality idler-drive turntable at an Op Shop. I will often ask in a larger store if they have any old turntables. Last week while at one of the larger Salvos store the guy I asked said that anything that doesn't pass the test+tag gets thrown out. Makes me wonder how many old turntables taken from old consoles have been sent to the tip because they didn't pass the test (eg. because they weren't in a proper cabinet/plinth).
  16. BayouTiger

    BayouTiger Forum Resident

    New Orleans
    I have never seen even a decent piece of gear in a thrift here. I record here or there, but they are rare as well. CD's are another story. I can find excellent CD's on every trip. I would hope that most thrifts are smart enough to price stuff at market value. The folks donating to the thrift provided it to support a charity not to have some flipper grab it for pennies on the dollar.
  17. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    The chain thrift shops are savvy to value. Most of the good stuff never hits the floor, but goes up on eBay. The same stuff that used to be on the shelf at $14.99 may sell on eBay for much more. (if a truly an audiophile item) I used to find many Dual turntables, silver face receivers, a Cello Duet 350, Reel to Reel decks, Teac, Sony, Pioneer, incl two PR-99's, clean pieces needing professional refurbish to factory spec.. except the Cello which needed nothing.

    For the same pieces online, that $14.99 non-working Dual 1229 will bid to $75.00 to $100.00 or more, much more for a higher power receiver, a Pioneer, or Marantz, Sansui, etc.

    The records are sorted too, no Beatles or Elvis ever hit the floor, and the prices of the generally worn LP's are up to $3.99 at my local thrift, so they just sit on the shelf.

    The thrift stores do this because they can. The consumer suffers in the long run. The thrift items are often not fully operational; The buyer is very lucky to receive a perfectly operating piece of audio equipment. The people that this hurts most of all are the refurbishers, who now can not make a decent profit on a nice looking, up to spec item. The consumers are remiss to have their recently purchased used items serviced, for the cost of shipping on top of the service fees. (after paying an inflated price for an improperly working device) It was much more economical to buy directly from the refurbisher, with a guarantee, and the thrift doing their share of community service.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
    patient_ot likes this.
  18. DLD

    DLD Forum Resident

    Dallas, Tx
    Here in the Dallas area thrifts are bereft of either decent records or hardware. That didn't use to be the case but in the 2 years, other than lots of CDs (filling in holes in my collection), and a couple of SACDs/DVD-As, I haven't found diddly squat. I go to the same 5 weekly on the way or coming home from tennis or my office.
  19. Balthazar

    Balthazar Well-Known Member

    I haven't had good luck in a thrift store in 20 years.
    patient_ot, Dale A B and Manimal like this.
  20. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    I've had a bit of luck lately! my old trustworthy Sony player started skipping all over the
    place, which has been used to death, then I walked into a Salvo's near my place and picked
    these up for US$11.00 each. Score!!!!
    and then today a Vinnie's store openend up literally across the road from where I live, and
    I picked these up for 2 bux each:
    Original copies of:
    Nat King Cole - At The Sands
    Louis Armstrong - Hello Dolly (on Kapp)
    Nat King Cole - Love Is The Thing
    " " - Let's Face The Music
    " " - Smile
    Dean Martin - This Is Dean Martin
    Connie Francis - Love Italian Style
    Frank Sinatra - Softly As I Leave You
    Frank Sinatra - In The Wee Small Hours
    Nat King Cole - Those Lazy Hazy....
    Duke Fame likes this.
  21. brimuchmuze

    brimuchmuze Forum Resident

    I've yet to find anything really exciting at a garage sale or thrift store.
  22. Aerobat

    Aerobat Forum Resident

    I just went to a local antique mall and picked up a Fisher tube console with the 440 stereo amp including all original tubes, Garrard changer with Shure cart, etc. The light bulbs in the tuner even work. This is in a semi-rural area so maybe that helps.
  23. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Southern US
    No luck in nice electronics here. I have a buddy that also haunts thrift stores and will alert me via text (with pic) if I want him to get an item.
    The only thing I've seen is an old pair of Infinity Floor standers (I passed),
    And one Blue Note album. Bummer.
  24. beat_truck

    beat_truck Forum Resident

    SW PA
    I think a lot of it is that people just don't donate nearly as much good stuff. I mean why give something away when anyone with a computer or phone can get a basic value of an item and list it on Craigslist or Ebay and make good money on it.
  25. Burt

    Burt Forum Resident

    Kirkwood, MO
    I saw a console sitting by the dumpster outside a thrift shop recently. I didn't go look at it durijng the day because they get upset when they see "trash pickers" so I figured I'd swing back later to see if it had tubes or other salvageable parts. It looked like a Zenith old enough to be tubes and to have the good "receiver" (ie the RF head and phono pre) but when I got back there the dumpster truck had gotten there and they had evidently took it.

    Oh well.

    A co-worker picked up an UNBUILT HEATHKIT scope and an unbuilt Heathkit temperature controlled soldering iron kit from a yard sale in Ballwin the other day though.

Share This Page