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Thrifting and insects cautionary

marc237

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Twice recently while I have been thrifting in NYC, once on 23rd Street and once on lower 2nd Avenue, I have discovered an insect crawling on an item of clothing I was examining. In the most recent incident, it looked an awful lot like a bedbug. Clearly, importing a bedbug into the home would not have been worth it.

Of course, in any environment where clothing I may be interested in will be hung cheek by jowl with other clothing from different homes, there is inevitably this risk. In an era where head lice and bed bugs seem to be on the rise, I ma beginning to question whether I will thrift nearly as much.

Have others had similar experiences and, if so, what have you decided?
 

marc237

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I agree, and that is normally what I do. However, the risk is also that the bug or the eggs would rub off on you while you are browsing.
 

Arethusa

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Ugh. That is creepy. Wear crappy clothes when you go thrifting, and take stuff straight to be thoroughly cleaned.
 

DocHolliday

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I've always been nervous about moth eggs and the like. But I try to be careful, and isolate all thrift/second-hand stuff until it can be cleaned. Beyond that, I remind myself that insects are all around us -- lice, moths, etc. -- and that one can fret about this stuff only so much. Heck, some nasty beastie could come in on my latest eBay purchase, even if it's NWT.
 

Tomasso

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I read that some thrifters immediately place their new clothing finds in a freezer for a few days to kill insects.
 

pejsek

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I think the danger of moth damage from thrifting is generally overstated. From what I believe to be true, ordinary jostling from the thrift store process would likely be enough to dislodge most moth eggs. Still, I'll tumble wool clothes in the dryer for a few minutes (on the air cycle) or hang them out in the sun if I suspect there's a chance of moths.
Bed bugs and lice are a whole different question. Bed bugs are indeed on the rise and they are nasty creatures--long-lived, tenacious, and difficult to eradicate. A tenant of mine (yes, I'm an evil landlord) got bedbugs in his bedroom and even though he caught the problem right at the beginning the extermination process was difficult and time consuming. Still, clothes are much easier to clean thoroughly than a building and I imagine a good wash or dry-cleaning would do the trick. Don't know about the dangers of bugs hopping onto you in the thrift store. Bed bugs do respond to body heat, though I really have no idea if they are good jumpers. I've never had problems thrifting, so I'll probably continue to do so until something bad happens.
 

bengal-stripe

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Just pop any suspicious items into the deep freeze for a day or two.
No insect, larvae or eggs can survive those temperatures.
 

gorgekko

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Originally Posted by Aaron
I read an article recently in the Times that bed bugs were becoming a growing problem in Manhattan.

Growing? The Rolling Stones were singing about Manhattan's bed bugs back in 1978. But that's the Times for you, always late to the reporting party.

At any rate, I had never given this any thought before. I don't thrift but I have occasionally bought clothing off of eBay. I'll have to be more careful in the future.
 

Thomas

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One of the two stores I visit is closing at the end of the month. Both stores are particular about what they take, but still you never know. Disturbing.
 

DocHolliday

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Originally Posted by gorgekko
At any rate, I had never given this any thought before. I don't thrift but I have occasionally bought clothing off of eBay. I'll have to be more careful in the future.

I wonder what percentage of used clothing on eBay was bought at a thrift store. I couldn't begin to guess, but I'd imagine the average is pretty high.
 

Arethusa

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I wouldn't. It's pretty easy to tell when a seller is just flipping thrift store finds, and most often, I've found it looks like people are selling personal stuff. Even with milsurp stuff, which I've been looking at pretty heavily recently (damn you, Augusto, damn you), I wouldn't say most of it's from people who hunt through thrift stores.
 

amerikajinda

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Originally Posted by DocHolliday
I wonder what percentage of used clothing on eBay was bought at a thrift store. I couldn't begin to guess, but I'd imagine the average is pretty high.

This particular eBay seller is trying to hide the fact that his clothes come from thrift stores by conveniently placing the suit sleeve over where the store name is stitched:





http://cgi.ebay.com/Nice-Oxxford-Sui...QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-Oxxford-Cash...QQcmdZViewItem

Another giveaway that these are thrift shop finds is that he's selling suits ranging from size 40 to size 48!

Some used clothing is consigned... but I'd venture that most come from thrift shops. Another way to tell is by looking at the seller's other items for consistency in sizing, but the easiest way is to look at the volume of merchandise a seller has sold or is selling.
 

Arethusa

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For what it's worth, the market may be fairly different with suits (and perhaps more specifically with Oxxford); I don't follow that area.
 

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