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This past Monday, I had a very unique opportunity.  I got to be part of a focus group for... a thrift store!  Unheard of right?  Last week an email was sent out to B-Thrifty's BIP members asking for 15 people to participate.  We would get a $20 giftcard to spend in store then we would be asked to participate in a focus group.  Not only that but it was on Presidents Day which is one of their 50% off days.  I was told that normally they do not allow you to use giftcards on these discount days which I don't understand (I understand not letting you purchase giftcards at 50% off but don't see the harm in using them that day).  However, for this event it was going to work.  So I went in with the mission to spend $40 on whatever I was able to find.  If you have never been there, this is a HUGE thrift store.  It easily ranks in my top 3 thrift stores because of sheer size.  The prices are average for thrift stores (which in the past years have gone up in general) which can mean that they are a bit high for considering I am an avid clearance shopper.  But it's great to check them out on the 50% off days that they have throughout the year.  Earlier in the winter season, I purchased snow boots for both of my boys as well as rain boots for the youngest.  They were name brand and in pretty good shape.

The Monday trip started off a little rocky.  We hit AWFUL traffic on 95 then switched to Jefferson Davis and had just as much traffic.  I was 15 minutes late (20 by the time I got to the right lady) and was panicking the whole time that I was going to get all the way up there only to be turned away for being late.  Luckily, the lady was really nice and gave me my giftcard telling me that I had about 40 minutes before the focus group.  My family and I started browsing.  We didn't have anything in particular that we were looking for.  My husband always looks at the dress shirts and jeans but whenever he has found something in his size that he liked, we have always found something wrong with it upon further inspection (small stain, tear, run, etc).  No luck that day either.  Earlier that day, I decided that my favorite pair of jeans should no longer be in commission so I looked through the ladies jean selection.  They did have some nice jeans in good condition but my biggest problem was that I did not have a lot of time (my fault) and they don't have them arranged by size (I suggested better organization during the group).  There were 0, 4, 14, etc all mixed together.  Finding a specific size was not a quick venture. 

The one area of the store that is lacking is the childrens department.  My boys are always wearing through jeans so we like to check them out every time we go.  This time, they had less than one full side of a rack full of jeans for boys.  Most of them were larger sizes and the few that we did find in the 5,6,7,8 range were very worn out.  If they expanded the children's section it could be really great.  An area that they excel in is furniture and kitchen/home items.  These sections (especially furniture) are quite a bit larger than most other thrift stores.  If you are into DIY projects, this could be your dream place.  I see many things that could be repainted or recovered and would be really cute.  I don't go through here often as my house could not fit anymore furniture in it but some items just pop into sight.  You never know what you will find so if you are in the Woodbridge, VA area, I suggest stopping by and giving it a shot.  If you want to try it out but can't wait until one of the 50% off days, they have discount days every week.  Thursdays are 30% off for BIP members (it is free to sign up), Wednesdays are 35% off for military, police, and firefighters, and Tuesdays are 30% off for seniors.

The best part of B-Thrifty?  They give back.  Once a month they partner with the Salvation Army and a food bank to give out free produce no question asked.  And every Tuesday, they give out up to 2,000 pieces of children's clothing (6 pieces per child) to those who need it.  This makes me more apt to shop here over other thrift stores that might tie them otherwise.
These are a couple of my finds from Monday (not the Darth Vader mask, my boy is just strange). My husband had to buy the Nike Phillies jacket. And my youngest needed another winter coat since any time something happens to one, we end up having to pile on thin jackets. This one is a Children's Place 3-in-1 coat. It has the fleece jacket, windbreaker layer, then both together.


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