A thrift store is a unique shopping phenomenon. Where else might one find a pair of silk Giorgio Armani socks for 35 cents? Sure, it might be hard to get that odd stain out of the bottom of them, but you will know that you are wearing expensive, elite socks. Perhaps others will too.

It is therefore, especially here in Chicago, not impossible to supplement one's regular, old income by shopping in thrift stores in order to resell them to antique or novelty/specialty stores.

In Chicago, besides the Salvation Army and Goodwill chains of operation, exists the Unique Thrift Store(s). Though these are purportedly charity driven, one wonders how they get all of their stuff, and how they can manage to drive a humongous profit doing so. Hunters have been known to pay managers to get a first peek through new shipments, and sometimes those shipments do not make it to the stores, but to a usually very nearby antique store.

This store, referred to as the home nest, is usually always placed within a block or two of any Unique store (coincidentally, of course) and is always closed to the public. However, there is never a shortage of old valuable antiques, or new odd bargains (such as an IOmega Zip Drive 250 for $10).

All is not lost, however, as some stuff does trickle through, probably passed off as being useless and/or arcane.

A short but all-revealing list of thrift finds of mine in the past year include:

Finally, as previously alluded to, any serious thrift store junky needs to always have on them the tools of the trade: a stapler and a sharpie marker, for any necessary markdowns and/or repricings.