San Jose Stories and Tips

Community Value Center

For thrifty shoppers... Photo, San Jose, California

OK - this place bit the dust in November of 2001, but I'm leaving the entry up for nostalgic purposes...

This is the best thrift store in all of San Jose: it's a complete dump. There's always a menagerie of interesting characters to gawk at. Just walk around the filth and look at people--it can be fun.

It's all here: Old LPs, dirty children's clothing, vintage china, computer parts, cheap t-shirts, purses, plastic belts, and even a glass case behind which you'll find faux fur jackets from the 1970s. Many of the locals in the club scene frequent this place on a regular basis, as it's one of those joints where you'll find a spectacular bargain when you least expect it. I found a $160 pair of brand new Ecco shoes for $3! I found a great pair of leather cowboy boots for $5! There's also a tie-rack where you can find several silk ties for around two bucks a piece, if you look hard enough.

It is also a great place to get Halloween costumes, or crappy clothes to wear on stage if you're in a rock band. All in all, if you're even slightly interested in off-the-wall junk or you inhabit thrift stores on a regular basis, then this place is for you.

On the weekends, it's usually a circus. Screaming kids are running around the store, toys are thrown all over the place, and the line at the one cash register is a mile long. It takes forever to get in and out, so come during the week.

Prices here are always being marked down on a regular basis. You'll see a price marked on an old typewriter with a grease pencil, for example, $6.98. This will be crossed out the next day and there'll be a new price of $4.98. Next day, this will be crossed off as well, and the new price will be $2.98. Then if it doesn't sell it gets thrown out. If you only want to pay two bucks for a pair of shoes as opposed to four bucks, just come back a few days later.

It's also a great place to pick up a $4 kid's bicycle, on which you can ride around the neighborhood, and then thrash it later on.

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