Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The price is right May 20, 2013

I LOVE A GOOD DEAL. Who doesn’t? Even more, I’m especially pleased when I can recycle an item which benefits charity.

Driven by the need to find the 19-year-old son an inexpensive piece of furniture for the living room in his first-ever apartment, we hit the thrift stores in Rochester Saturday afternoon, move-in day.

On the final stop, Caleb found a leather sofa tucked under a merchandise display shelf at the Goodwill store, 239 28th Street Southeast.

Total purchase price for these three items was just over $30, including tax.

Total purchase price for these three items was just over $30, including tax. Additionally, I bought the coasters (about 10 of them) on the table for 25 cents at a garage sale.

His dad and I discouraged shelling out $110 for a sofa he needs for only the three-month duration of his summer internship at IBM. So I suggested he approach a floor clerk and barter. Better a poor college student seek a discount than parents. We temporarily disappeared so he could negotiate.

He and the clerk talked for awhile and then she cut the price to $75. I don’t know what transpired, but in between the time Caleb grabbed the tag and walked up front to pay, she slashed the price even more—to $25.

Hallelujah. A comfortable couch to fit a college student’s budget.

Goodwill had originally priced the sofa at $150.

Scrubbed later with a leather cleaning product, purchased for under $4 on our way back to the apartment, the sofa really shines. Plans to return the couch to Goodwill in August have been scrapped; the son wants to keep this piece of furniture now that it looks so good. That will be open to negotiation.

Prior to the Rochester move, we also secured several other apartment items at thrift stores, including a free end table from All Seasons Thrift Store, 310 Central Avenue, Faribault. The freebie was a $10 reward for spending $50 in the store. I’ll reveal those $50 purchases in a future post.

All Seasons proceeds benefit food shelves in the nearby Kenyon and Wanamingo areas.

Finally, the $3 lamp which now rests on the freebie end table next to the $25 leather couch comes from a New Ulm thrift store, The Treasure Haus, 1209 South Broadway.  As a bonus, the lamp included a three-way light bulb. Sales from the Treasure shop go toward Christian schools, programs and missions.

There you go, readers. It is possible to partially furnish a living room for around $30.

Now, let’s hear about your thrift store bargains.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling