BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York I Monday, 16 July 2018
On Thursday I went to visit my local Goodwill.
I go there several times a week, to the point where the employees recognize me! I have a friend who works at a different shop in the same plaza, so when I visit him, I go to Goodwill. This ends up being often.
I see a lot of the same stuff over and over, the stuff no one wants. But this way, I get to see the good stuff, the new stuff, pretty soon after it’s put on the shelves.
Goodwill puts different-colored price stickers on their merchandise, and each week two colors are featured as half-off. I try really hard to buy only items with half-off colors.
Sometimes I find a few things I can’t pass up, but many times I leave empty-handed.
There are times though, when I have to use my best judgment and make exceptions, when I see something I REALLY LOVE. There are those times when I have to strike quickly, whether or not my item has a half-price sticker. But more about that in a minute.
I love silverware. When I lived in Salt Lake City, I often shopped at Deseret Industries, and found some great deals. I liked to look at their silverware, but it bugged me, the way they would put it loose into separate bins for forks, knives, and spoons.
So even if a whole set was donated, it would most likely be separated, and difficult to reunite. It also got to the point where I could never find any really good stuff, just a bunch of crummy, cheapo-quality flatware.
Here in New York, I’ve noticed there never seems to be any silverware at Goodwill. To the point where I didn’t even know where to look for it. One time I asked an employee where it would usually be shelved, and she told me in the black section. (Goodwill shelves items by color.)
So, last Thursday. I was pretty much striking out, not finding anything at all, when I walked into the black aisle. The very last aisle before I would leave, empty-handed.
I have a method of operation. First I look at the books. (Of course! Would you expect any different from me?) While I’m at the end of the book aisle, I glance over at the paintings and wall hangings. Then I look at the endcaps closest to the front of the store. Next I loop down the linens aisle. Then I look at the endcaps at the back of the store. After that, I snake my way up and down the aisles, starting with red, and ending with black. There is never anything good in the red aisle.
Also, I don’t bother with the clothes aisles. IMO, it’s too much trouble to find something I like in my size, and I think their clothes are too expensive. I do look at the jewelry though, but I’ve ever found anything good.
So here I was in the black aisle, about to give up, when I saw a set of silverware down on the bottom shelf.
Now, might I add, Goodwill puts silverware sets into Ziploc bags, and then tapes them firmly shut, so nothing can be removed. This is good, as it keeps sets from getting scattered or purchased by the piece, but it’s also bad, as sometimes it’s hard to see what’s in the bag, even.
So, I saw this set of silverware on the bottom shelf and picked it up, straining to see the pattern.
I let out an audible gasp, I really did! It was a set of Oneida Oceanic stainless steel silverware.
So what, you ask? Well, I’ve had two Oceanic serving spoons for a few years now, and I love them. They’re just the right size, and shallow enough that whatever’s being served doesn’t clump up in the bowl of the spoon. Cuz I hate when that happens, it looks messy, especially at a buffet table.
Maybe about six months ago, I thought it might be nice to have a whole set of Oceanic.
I already have a complete set of Oneida Northland Musette stainless steel, with little flowers on the handles. I love and cherish it, since it was a gift from my parents for college graduation. I keep it separate from my everyday mismatched junk silverware, and count the pieces periodically. Sadly, a few pieces have gone missing in the 28 years since I got it.
But I was thinking it might be nice to have a set of Oceanic, as it’s more contemporary (even though it came out in 1957) and less frilly looking.
First of all, I went to replacements.com to determine the name of the pattern. This was pretty time-intensive, since all I had to go on was the marking on the back of the forks and spoons, which said “Stainless by Oneida Ltd”.
It took a lot of scrolling and eliminating, and “O” isn’t exactly at the beginning of the alphabet…
I was beginning to feel a bit screensick and seasick, before I determined the pattern name. Then I looked at pricing and availability. Sometimes I fall in love with a pattern, only to discover there’s not very much of it out there. (Like Oneida Anastasia. But that’ll be another blog for another day, when I finally get lucky with THAT pattern.)
At replacements.com, a single Oceanic fork was $7.99, which is a pretty normal price for a fork on this site. But I knew I couldn’t afford to buy a whole set, when each piece was so expensive. So promptly, but sadly, I abandoned my plan.
So, back to Thursday at Goodwill…
Once I gasped at seeing the Oceanic pattern through the plastic, I furtively took the bag (still taped shut) and placed it on top of a dresser, trying to move the silverware around a bit within the bag, to determine if most of it was Oceanic.
Indeed, it was. And there was a LOT of it.
Maybe you’re like me? I oftentimes find something kind of interesting at a thrift store, briefly consider how much I like it, factor in the price, and then put it back on the shelf.
If I’m still thinking about it a few days later, I miiight go back and try to find the item again, hoping it’ll still be there.
This was NOT one of those moments.
After determining almost all the silverware in the bag was the Oceanic pattern, I promptly and proudly marched to the registers and bought it. The purple tags were full-price that week, but I couldn’t have cared less.
There was no way I was gonna put it back on the shelf and hope next week the purple tags would be on sale, that it would still be there, and I could locate it again.
The price, you ask? $7.99. For the entire bag.
When I got the silverware home, I spread it out on my kitchen table to separate and count the pieces, like a greedy shopkeeper, gloating over her stacks of money.
Here are the Oceanic pieces from the bag:
8 dinner knives
8 dinner forks
8 salad forks
8 place spoons
1 serving spoon
2 sugar spoons
1 small ladle
1 butter knife
There were also 8 iced tea spoons, in a slightly different pattern, and a funky spoon with a curving handle, thrown in for good measure.
I can’t help but cackle to myself about my good fortune. I got the whole set for $7.99, exactly the online price of one fork. And no shipping cost! Yay!