Category_Collecting, Category_VHS, Category_Weirdness -

Videovores on the Hunt: Thrift Shops and Dump Stores!

As the hunt for VHS becomes tougher and tougher, I thought I would share with you Videovores my two favorite places to look. No, it isn’t eBay or any other online store. There’s something just soulless about looking for a specific VHS and buying it off some website. *shudder* I enjoy finding films that I never knew existed in person… and considering less than 50% of movies on VHS made the conversion to DVD, the chances are pretty damn likely I'll find something totally unheard of. Awesome. We all know garage sales are hit or miss (which in itself can be a thrill - the hunt!) and flea markets are much the same. What you’re likely to find at these spots are tons of Disney clamshells and copies of Pearl Harbor and Saving Private Ryan. See, some folks actually think Disney movies are worth something so they hang on to ‘em and try to sell them. I believe that any movie a “normal” or “mainstream” film fan would hold as valuable is, to us, valueless. What we all want to find are the B-movie gems that most folks would just throw away. In our tough economic times, most of us don’t like to toss things that might be of use to someone in the garbage. So what do many people do? Send it to the thrift store!

Hmmmm, looks cozy enough....

My favorite places to score rare, odd VHS titles are both thrift stores. Now, I won’t tell you I always find huge hauls of awesome flicks at these thrift establishments, but I have found some really interesting titles. I love to go to my local dump which houses a store called Last Chance Mercantile that serves as the final stop before it hits the landfill. They sell everything dirt cheap and the money goes toward running the dump, so it’s a great bargain for the local municipality, too! There amongst mountains of paperbacks, discarded vinyl, old costumes, office furniture and opened paint, sits a small wooden cabinet tucked away in the corner. The cabinet isn’t well marked and it’s crammed into a corner also housing books and clothes, its doors always closed. The cabinet can only hold about 25 tapes but each time I go there I take a breath and then open the doors as if I’m opening a treasure chest, hoping for gold and at times I have indeed found some great stuff. Like Grunt! The Wrestling Movie, Embryo, and even a heap of anime from someone obviously liquidating their entire collection. Sometimes I get a twofer when someone donates a large amount of VHS; they’ll push a shopping cart holding all the tapes into the other side of the building. Here, too, I’ve found some interesting videos.

Two bucks? Oh, wait... 50 cents. What's this?! 25 cents? Today only? Score!

Hey, Look! These doors open up... and there's more VHS inside! And there's.... five copies of TI...TAN...TIC.

My other place to hunt happens to be nearly 200 miles away, back in my little home town. Whenever I go to visit the ‘rents, I slip away to the small Goodwill in a nearby Albertson’s shopping center. The tiny store is mostly used to sell books and a small collection of clothes; it’s really nothing more than a very small used book store with great prices. However, they do house a collection of VHS somewhere around the neighborhood of 50-100 tapes. Though it’s mostly those ever-present Disney clamshells and other rather uninteresting stock, I often find a gem or two to take away for $1 or less. Hey, I found an interesting short doc about Paul Newman’s racing career in the 80’s, among some other cool titles.

Book Donation, huh? Well... VHS are kinda like visual books... In we go!

After visiting these special places, I usually walk away with 1 or 2 cool flicks for dirt cheap. Not a huge haul by any means but you can’t argue with results. My fellow Videovores it’s time we think the way the average man or woman thinks of his or her unwanted VHS collection: they’re taking up room, collecting dust and they need to go somewhere else - fast. Think about where people might dump or donate their collections and roll up your sleeves and start digging. You just may find your new favorite gem. Uncouth

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