Today, I’m excited. I’m going thrift store shopping. It has always been one of my favorite pastimes. I love old cookbooks, record albums, and other people’s homemade art. There are lots of these items at thrift stores. I like to dig around and find the unexpected, hidden treasures, and I don’t mind wading through the crap and clutter.
Through the years, various acquaintances of mine have been rather turned off by my love of thrift stores. They would rather peruse the pristine floors of Barnes & Noble, Nordstrom, and the Apple Store than hang out with the “eclectic” clientele at the Goodwill. Not that I care, because they just don’t get it. The pleasure is in the hunt, not in the cushy shopping environment.
In my life, this ongoing search for undiscovered treasure spans well-beyond the thrift store. One of my favorite places for finding new clients is Elance. It’s basically an online thrift store for freelancers. Businesses post their projects, and providers like me place bids. Sure, there are some bad jobs out there that I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. But, after five years of digging through thousands of projects, I can spot a hidden gem in a heartbeat. I’ve been able to secure some very lucrative opportunities using Elance and have met many truly amazing people who I now call friends. The feeling I get from being awarded a new project on Elance is very similar to finding a perfect condition record album by one of my favorite bands. It’s downright euphoric.
Beyond thrift stores and Elance, I also love seeking out the dumpy in appearance restaurants that have really good food and the dive bars that have great drink specials and entertaining customers. Of course, discovering an off-the-beaten path town that others haven’t ventured to is equally as exciting.
Basically, I love the hunt for the undiscovered, tossed out, and forgotten treasures in this world. And, there are lots of them for those like me who are willing to dig a little. Sure, I could go buy a brand new cookbook by heading over to Borders, but what fun would that be? I bet I’ll be returning home today with something unexpected that will be far more interesting.