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Thrift Store Fears

Is it safe to save at thrift shops without getting "pinched" by anything else? (like bed bugs)...

I use to fancy myself a vintage maven of sorts with an ability to score great finds at 2nd hand thrift stores. It's a great way to save and a way to make sure you're not wearing the same dress as three other people at that summer wedding! But ever since a good friend had bed bugs, my own fear factor has skyrocketed and I have avoided any thrift store purchases. But with Vancouver's abundance of wealth combined with our keen desire to save the environment, the deals are too great to ignore.

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So I got back into thrifting with the help of vintage afficionado and fashion writer Kendra Hagerman who recently started her Van City Pretty web page. Kendra's tips for thrifty succcess:

1. Go with an open mind. You are likely to be disappointed if you only look for a specific item.

2. Try on many sizes.Today's size 6 is a lot smaller than yesteryear's. Don't let the number scare you.

3. Make a sport of it. Don't expect to score that 75 cent Gucci bag every trip. If you find something every third time, you are lucky.

But what about those persistant and pesky bed bugs I hear so much about? The sad fact is they are everywhere and anywhere, so there's no guarantee you can avoid them, even with new merchandise. PortiaMiscellanyFinds.jpg Portia Sam at Miscellany Finds thrift boutique scrutinizes all donations for pests and cleanliness. She says it's best to bag your purchase in plastic before taking it home to wash it in hot water. Experts also say putting an item in the dryer for 20 minutes should do the trick.

Even though you might feel more squeamish, the deals and finds available at thrift stores are worth the risk as long as you take precautions. Happy thrifting!

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