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Thrifty Thursday: Mary's Thrift Store and My Polka Dot Obsession


I've only visited Mary's Thrift Store twice, but I have a love-hate relationship with it.

Located in a rundown shopping center next to a Dollar Tree on Auburn Boulevard in Citrus Heights, it's the epitome of a hole-in-the-wall store.

Whoever runs it puts little effort into promotion, decor, customer service, organization and modernization. The employees barely acknowledge your existence until it's time to check out or you have a question. You won't find any social media for the store outside of a handful of mostly outdated Yelp reviews. The store doesn't offer much in the way of men's, children's, electronics or housewares.

Despite all its lacking, the store has a great women's clothing selection.

You just have to devote time to browsing.


The clothes are somewhat organized by color, but good luck finding sizes. The store staples its prices onto the size tags of the clothes. Sometimes I'm able to read the sizes, sometimes not. It's a guessing game.

The prices and sale days vary, but Wednesdays are where it's at. Half-off all used items. The store has a small selection of new clothes from stores such as Ross; prices are slightly discounted.

On the hunt for my Halloween costume, I made my second stop at Mary's on a Wednesday. Walking the aisle of Mary's extensive formal and semi-formal dress collection, I found a couple of Halloween maybes, but only walked away with an everyday dress.

It was a "guess at the size dress" that turned out to fit perfectly once zipped up in the crappy dressing room.

(I really wish the owner of this store would just invest a small bit of money to install hanging hardware in the dressing rooms. Carrying heavy, floor length gowns into a dressing room with no place to hang them is a pain. I'm not revealing my Halloween costume yet, but it gives me a chance to buy a pretty dress.)


When I stepped out from behind the curtain to show Aaron the dress, his response did not surprise me.


"It looks good, but don't you already have a dress like that?"

"Well, yeah, but this is one is still different; it's perfect for all weather, and it's only A DOLLAR FIFTY on sale!!"

Is there such thing as too many polka dot dresses? I don't think so.


Buying this dress reminded me of an article I read recently.
Researchers concluded that buying stuff doesn't make us happy. And I agree becoming more materialistic isn't going to make you happy. But I don't think the researchers considered thrift chicks such as myself.

You better believe that buying this navy, polka dot, All That Jazz swing dress for $1.50 absolutely made my week! And it's not a short-term happiness. Every time I wear it, I will remember I paid $1.50 for it and was able to reuse something someone else had discarded.

Not to get all soap-boxy, but ethical reasons motivate me to shop second-hand. I try to do my best not to contribute to the fast-fashion industry, which has numerous social, economic, environmental and health consequences around the world.

Plus, shopping second-hand is fun. I find thrifting to be a bit of an adventure. To borrow from the sage words of Forrest Gump's momma, "You never know what you're gonna get." 

I'll probably be back to Mary's Thrift Store for my Halloween costume. I just wasn't ready to commit so early in my search; crafting the perfect Halloween costume is serious business.

I recommend checking out Mary's on a Wednesday. Just prepare yourself for a little size-searching frustrating.


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