Only When I Laugh — The Goodwilll Edition

by Katy on March 15, 2011 · 13 comments

My mother and I had what we call one of our Only When I Laugh afternoons yesterday. This refers to a 1981 Neil Simon movie starring Marsha Mason and Kristy McNichol, (the plot of which I’ve completely forgotten,) but in the movie, the mother takes the daughter on a whirlwind shopping spree. We saw this movie together when it first came out, (probably at a second run theater) and it saddened my mother at the time, as she was financially unable to take my sister and me shopping. Ever. Luckily, my mother’s financial situation has bettered, and she’s able to take me shopping every now and again. Luckily for her, my shopping needs are of the Goodwill variety. Come to think of it, so are hers!

Here’s what we bought yesterday:


A $1.99 never opened box of 1974 stationary, a $1.99 early childhood Scrabble game, a 99¢ tempered glass lid for one of my cast iron pans and a $1.99 vintage box of Dominos.

Detail from the stationery box. Isn't it cute? I can't wait to start using it!

I fell in love with the graphics on this box of "Jumbo" brand Dominos. I will give it to my illustrator sister, who collects this kind of thing for reference. It has a tiny scrawled "$50" written in the upper left hand corner. Mysterious.

And didn’t buy:

I didn't buy anything from this like-new stack of Fiesta Ware. I was tempted, but I already have an excessive amount, and the color didn't really float my boat. Instead, I left it for someone else's boat float-age.

My mother and I  may not have been able to afford shopping sprees in the 1980’s, but we’re making up for it now. Take that, Marsha Mason!

Thanks, mom!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather March 15, 2011 at 9:16 am

What fun. I just scored a Pampered Chef stoneware bread pan on half price day. Woo Hooo! My daughter was my shopping pal. She found a big straw hat and then a bag of artificial pink roses. Her 6 yr old self was ecstatic!


Dmarie March 15, 2011 at 9:31 am

I’m surprised you didn’t buy the Fiesta Ware then turn around and sell it on Craig’s List!


Lisa March 15, 2011 at 9:48 am

Great finds!


Linda March 15, 2011 at 10:02 am

My sister had that stationary!!


Mamie March 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I am DYING for that Fiestaware!!! The color most definitely floats my boat, and as we have no Goodwill in my town and the thrift store we do have is… well, UGH, I will never see such a find here.

So. Jealous. And you didn’t even buy it.


Karen March 15, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Oh boy, do I remember that movie fondly. Mason and McNicholl were at the peak of their popularity. There was a scene in the movie where they had a junk food night together, which seemed so un-Momlike that it was intriguing.

I am a die hard Goodwill fan. Our local one has the best stuff, so I go there about once a week to check out the shelves. I always find good kitchen gadgets and wonderful glass containers. Long live GW!


Jennifer March 15, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I love the new curtains! You and your Mom are so lucky to have each other.


Nancy from Mass March 16, 2011 at 4:50 am

You are so lucky…not only that your Mom likes to shop with you (my Mom can’t walk much and she won’t use a wheelchair, so shopping is difficult), but also to have a great Goodwill to shop at. (I never see things like that at mine.)

BTW: I am pretty sure I had that stationery when I was younger. I wrote at least 2 people a week, so I went through stationery like it was sugar!


Melissa March 16, 2011 at 7:52 am

That “float-your-boat” sentiment is exactly what stops me from buying a lot of things. I always think, “Yes, I may like this or think it’s cute or even a great deal, but someone else might LOVE this or think it’s the MOST gorgeous thing and be super excited they can get it at this price.”


Hannelene March 16, 2011 at 8:48 am

Since I started reading your blog (and The Frugal Girl) I have really tried to like shopping at goodwill… I just have never actually found anything I wanted… Do I not go often enough, or do I have a lousy goodwill? I have been twice, and came away pretty discouraged both times. Do you have a running list of things you look for at Goodwill, browse randomly, or have some other method?


Katy March 16, 2011 at 8:52 am


It may be a combination of factors. The Goodwills here in Portland sell their items exactly where they’re donated, which means that you’ll find better stuff in the wealthier neighborhoods. And it’s not uncommon for me to walk out empty handed. I keep a running list of stuff I’m keeping an eye out for in my head, but I also will buy things I hadn’t realized I wanted. It’s all about patience, so don’t let yourself be discouraged, and try to enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

Good luck!



Bree March 25, 2011 at 6:40 am

I want the dishes! Love the color. My daughter and I enjoy our Goodwill shopping sprees too. Both my kids refuse to buy new clothes without much pushing on my part. They believe the Goodwill clothes feel better because they are broken in. LOL cracks me up but I’m so glad they are thrifty like me.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: