In Manhattan we have them all over; in fact, there is one in the building I live. Some are kind of junky looking, with little treasures piled into nooks and crannies, just waiting to be discovered. Others are more fancified, with mannekins sporting yesterday's "latest" looks, (like a gussied up party girl the day after a wild soiree -- rumpled, with makeup down her face, but still traces of pretty), trendy shoes with a bit of fray showing, and the occasional overstuffed chair or lamp. Further up this particular food chain of bargain shopping are the "Vintage Shops" that carry designer labels and charge higher prices. These shops have their caste system, too. Some of them sell items that cost 75% less than the original price of a garment, while others are charging up to 75% and more than what the original price was. These are the items that stylists like Rachel Zoe buy for their clients (or themselves).
I don't love thrift stores; something about them makes me sad. Maybe I feel the energy left behind by former owners when I run my fingers over their chipped cups and old photos, or maybe it's because I'm sad that they have no loved ones to fight over who wants to inherit their things.
But I do love to look through the windows at thrift shops and imagine the lives once lived inside those treasures. Still, I'm hoping my Dave Letterman cup doesn't end up in one someday.