I came, I traded, I purchased.
Fortunately, for the young hipster to the fashionable senior citizen, and everyone inbetween, Ventura Boulevard has become quite the one-stop destination for the fashion-forward.
Possibly the most popular of Ventura Boulevard clothing stores are those in which the clothes are not necessarily new. In fact, only the shopper might know how old they are.
I’m referring specifically to the buy-sell-and-trade franchises, such as at 14621 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks or at 12300 Ventura Boulevard in Studio City.
Also providing cheap shopping thrills on Ventura Boulevard are thrift shops such as the National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Store and Iguana Vintage Clothing, but neither of those stores provide the buy-sell-and-trade option, which is despised by some and loved by others.
A central complaint of many is the value received for their clothes upon trading them in. Crossroads, for example, will price a selling customer’s merchandise, then give that customer 35 percent of what they priced it to be in cash. For a trading customer, they will price the merchandise, then give the customer 50 percent of the tag price to use within the store.
Crossroads can also choose not to accept the clothing, if they deem it out of style, out of season, or just plain ugly.
And like in any circumstance, customers tend to be biased toward their own belongings, either thinking it should be worth more or that Crossroads should accept their clothing.
I, too, have been at the mercy of these buy-sell-and-trade stores, upset that a sweater I paid an arm and a leg for was priced at pennies or rejected. But my experience with stores such as Crossroads has mainly been beneficial in that I probably buy too many clothes.
Well, I do buy too many clothes.
So Monday afternoon, when the time arose to put my closet on a diet, I snatched what I no longer wore off of its hanger, tossed it in a reusable bag, and moseyed on over to Crossroads.
In hand were two pairs of Levi’s jeans, one black and one blue, one pair of burgundy summer shorts, a sea foam colored American Apparel hoody, two too small tee shirts, two button-up shirts, one short-sleeved and one long-sleeved, two belts, and one blue cardigan sweater with green buttons.
I walked in with 11 and came out with seven.
Well, kind of.
You see, Crossroads turned down five of my 11 items, including the sea foam sweater, the burgundy shorts, one of the tee shirts, and the two belts, which were a stretch in the first place.
But the positive aspect of the trip was that with the six items that were purchased, I was able to afford two items that will make my life much grander: a pair of gym sweatpants, which I desperately needed, and a pair of waxed black leggings for my girlfriend, which I desperately needed.
In total, my trade amount came to just over $36 and my sell amount landed right above $25.
Now, compared to what I paid for the items when I originally bought them, if you added $36 and $25, that would still not measure up. But once you are able to swallow that pill, that the “designer” clothes you laid claim to for so long ago are worth about one gallon of gas, the buy-sell-and-trade business is not that bad.
In college, when I was completely poor, doing away with a few old pairs of jeans was a good way to afford a first and second date, depending on how impressed the girl was with happy hour sushi.
But today, as a recent graduate that refuses to use the term “poor," instead adopting “frugal,” the buy-sell-and-trade has become a joyous practice.
These stores, although not fully stocked with new apparel in every size, are well equipped with barely used clothing in a number of different sizes. One of the shirts I sold Monday I had only worn on one occasion. So that will serve as a large discount to its next buyer.
In addition, these buy-and-trade shops offer a "worn and tattered" look that is quite popular and, something that the new clothing stores cannot offer.
But for me, most importantly, the buy-sell-and-trade angle provides a sense of relief, for those that may be shopping on a budget. Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange offer once expensive items at a cheap rate, and if you are not a clothes hoarder, bringing in your old pieces of clothing is a great way to further that discount, as long as you conveniently forget the original price of the item.
Buying at a discount often seems impossible but is always a positive. And with stores like Crossroads, the often impossible becomes a reality on Ventura Boulevard.