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WINTER Wear: An avocet wades in the Bear River to look for a tasty snack. The bird's black-and-white winter plumage heralds the onset of cold weather. / Photo by Mike Sweeney

Today's word on journalism

Friday, November 11, 2005

On journalists during wartime (for Veterans Day):

"[I]n the news media that covered the war both overseas and domestically, journalists also were willing to cooperate and do their
part. The public did not see journalists (and journalists did not see themselves) as being against the team. Journalists were part of the team. Some, such as roving correspondent Ernie Pyle, repeatedly visited combat zones even though they did not have to do so, and they paid with their lives."

--Michael S. Sweeney, press historian, 2001 (from "Secrets of Victory," about censorship during WWII)


Logan thrift store needs better donations

By Elsa Lee

October 11, 2005 | We could almost imagine a beam of light descending from above, as we caught a glimpse of what lay on the shelf marked "As Is." It was white and fluffy, in almost perfect condition and only marked at the low price of a dollar. It must be the prized item of the Deseret Industries thrift store.

It was a roll of toilet paper! It wasn't even protected with its original plastic wrap. We laughed hysterically. That's disgusting!

What has happened to our thrift stores? A young lady expressed amusement when she picked up the poor pathetic roll and said that she would love a picture of it just for a good hoot. Another shopper next to her said that he would enjoy having a picture of the person who would actually buy it. Eventually the roll ended up back onto the shelf, waiting to be the object of ridicule once again when another shopper would spot it.

We hadn't even been impressed with the morning's event race shopping. Dashing through the yellow caution tape, once it was cut, we raced to grab the price tags dangling from the small selection of bikes. We arrived about an hour early to get a good scope on the new merchandise. Every Saturday, the D.I thrift store puts out all the new arrivals.

The other weeks had seemed better. There were paddle boats, lawn mowers, tire rims, and about twice as many bikes as there were this week. And the prices were four times that of what they normally were. We had complained so much to the workers, as we waited in line, they decided to cut down the prices. But the rusted out Azuki still cost $10. The gears even made a strange noise when the wheels turned.

But we still continued to shop hoping to find a good deal.

There was a broken folding out camping stool that only cost $2 and it was a nice bright blue color. Those cost about $5 at the store. You could save $3 if you didn't mind your bottom falling through. Oh, but then there was the camera tripod with only one leg for $4. Or what about the bike lock for two bucks that had no key.

These deals were absurd!

The clothes deals were not much better. Well -- the used green cotton underwear for 50 cents was a pretty sweet deal. And maybe those Brittania jeans from the eighties or the fake denim jumper. They were both marked for only $6. These prices almost matched prices at Ross or TJ Max. Why shop the sales rack at Old Navy when you could get such awesome deals every day at the D.I.? Just a tip for the D.I. staff: remember when you are pricing the merchandise that it is second hand.

Well, maybe we shouldn't be so harsh on the D.I.. There was a big screen TV for $35. When the two men looking at it plugged it in to see how it worked they couldn't even turn it on. Unfortunately, someone else pointed out to the men, it was already sold. The buyers should have tried it out before they purchased it. They might not be so happy at their great deal when they try to use it at home.

There was one good deal made at the D.I.. There was a green two-burner Coleman stove for eight bucks. It was an older version, but hey if it worked, who cared? Then a man who looked like the fatherly type came up to a younger couple looking at it and offered to give him his stove for free. He had just bought a newer one and didn't need two. What a deal!

Maybe it's just that people are getting lazier. Who donates anyway? No one wants to spend the time to drive all the way to the thrift store. You can find the evidence in the Dumpsters. Wonderful treasures are spotted all the time: working TVs, chairs, metal storage racks, bikes and shelves. Why are we throwing this stuff away? We need to save the D.I. by donating.

The concept of a thrift store is a wonderful idea, but it only works if people donate things that are actually worth buying. A roll of toilet paper doesn't count. We would all hope that you would want to keep that one for yourself. And even if we are shopping at a second hand store that doesn't mean we want your old underwear. We are not that desperate. Come on, donate something worthwhile. The old saying is "one man's garbage is another man's treasure," but some garbage is just garbage.


Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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