Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Incredible Adventures of Kooky and Pooky

Kooky and Pooky roaming the wild.

Okay. So what adventures can two identical purple plush elephants possibly have?

Well it all began a few short months ago...

While thrifting in a nearby Second Ave, a virtual thrift warehouse, I found myself digging through a gigantic bin of affordably priced dolls and stuffed animals.

I am usually hunting for 80’s nostalgic toys from my childhood. Rainbow Brite, Popples, Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake memorabilia frequent my thrift wish list. But more often than not I find an army of teddy bears and knotty haired, naked Barbies.

Now and again, I’ll find a stuffed animal too cute to resist. This particular occasion it was a crazy-eyed purple elephant with big, droopy ears. He was sort of...strange looking. So I decided to adopt him. I paid the 99 cents, took him home and named him Kooky.

A few months later, after we had the wild idea of starting a blog all about thrifting, Joe and I ventured on our first road trip. And wouldn’t you know, sitting on the shelf of a Buck’s County Goodwill in a plastic grab bag was yet another crazy-eyed purple elephant with big droopy ears! So for another 99 cents I nabbed the identical purple pachyderm and two other toys.

I have no doubt that diehard thrifters have experienced thrift déjà vu, where repeat goods seem to appear at every thrift. But this anomaly, like multiple copies of Herb Alpert are often times due to previous popularity. They were popular and now not, so they’re donated en masse. Or perhaps you’ve seen the same kitchen clock, new in box at multiple Goodwill stores? That is typically due to item donations from retailers such as Target or Wal-Mart.  That much makes sense.

But what are the odds that two identical elephants, both of which are in lightly played-with condition, were in two different thrift stores some thirty miles away?

That’s what I like to call thrift karma, folks. A topic which I plan to discuss at length in future blog posts, thrift karma is my personal belief that sometimes we just don’t stumble into good finds. Sometimes those items seem to just find us.

Or in this case, like items find each other.

Elephant Chair
Kooky (left) and Pooky (right) are reunited and it feels so good.

Maybe some of you would care to share some sort of your thrift déjà vu?


Vanessa said...

Thrift karma and thrift deja vu...I love these concepts. As a hardcore thrifter I agree, I encounter the same bits at thrift stores, sometimes rare ones, like the third piece to my vintage ceramic canisters at different thrift stores in different cities.

Nothing beats your story of the identical pachyderms! That's enough to base a study off of!

Jackie Jardine said...

I can't take credit for the whole thrift karma concept, unfortunately.

Have you ever read the zine series (and/or the later published book) 'Thrift Score'? Author Al Hoff had some really interesting ideas when it came to thrift karma, the do's and dont's of thrifting and just some truly funny stories.

Also, she's a nice gal. Her zines were popular in the 90's and book enjoyed some cult following as well. I had a phone interview with her back in college and she sent me a whole stack of her zines! If you can get hold of those or the book of same name, I think you'd enjoy them!

Also, thrift deja vu (which I am taking credit for, lol) happens to me a lot it seems. In future posts I'll be telling all of you a crazy story of an item from my past resurfacing years later. It's quite odd.

The thing that struck me with these purple elephants neither seemed a new donation (from a retailer or company. Both previously loved and in two different thrifts...just strange.

But I'm glad to know that I'm not the only thrifter who has these experiences! And though I'm perplexed, I just love when it happens!

Gina said...

Oh, loved the ThriftScore 'Zine (and book); I was a faithful subscriber. Remember the Thriftscore group too?

I love the elephants and their slightly pathetic, love me eyes!

Jackie Jardine said...

Hi Gina! I do remember reading about the group, as I became a fan years after the fact. I love the book and have let like-minded friends borrow it who have also fallen in love with the idea.

Yeah, those elephants are kind of pathetic. When I saw the first one, Kooky, I said to my boyfriend, "will you buy this for me?" And he just looked at it and laughed. I remember thinking to myself how pitiful the elephant looked with his crazy eyes...but that just all adds to the charm!