Is it worth the effort?
Let’s face it, getting down on your hands and knees in a dirty thrift shop to dig through bin after bin of vinyl records isn’t the most romantic thing in the world. Spending a Sunday afternoon breaking your back might not be your thing.
There is a lot of grunt work involved with digging in those stores: Lots of water damaged garbage you have to wade through, a lot of records that should have seen the dumpster instead of the donation box.
When you find that occasional gem, or that very rare run of consecutive keepers, it can be a thrilling experience, that’s why we do it.
Actually Goodwill has done a wonderful job in the Dayton Ohio Area remodeling older locations, and opening up newer cookie cutter locations that are very clean, and not nearly as cluttered as they used to be.
I have also noticed this in Columbus Ohio and Indianapolis Indiana as well, so I will assume this is something that Goodwill focused on at a national level?
Though Goodwill and other thrift shops just stack em’ up, no real rhyme or reason to how they do it. At least with the record shops you’re dealing with some sort of organization. Though, most record store bargain bins don’t exactly alphabetize the selections for you.
I have found some really nice surprises in the record shops; and I like, that most time the record will be in good to great playing shape. The shops tend to be much pickier about what they even bring in.
Thrift stores like Goodwill or the Salvation Army Thrift stores are notorious for putting unplayable junk out on the floor. But don’t get me wrong, that’s part of the fun of it, the thrill of the hunt. You never know what you’re gonna get.
Here’s a more detailed run down of my Goodwill experience
I found a $400 Original Art Blakey Blue Note 4003 LP at a local record shop for $30, just pure luck that the shop didn’t care about jazz much and didn’t bother to dig into the minutia of Blue Note record label identification. This is info that does a seller and collector good, the more you know huh?
You’ll find Pink Floyd records, Beatles Records, Kiss, and Rolling Stones records, lots of classic rock and easy listening of course, country music is another one I see all the time. If I see a 60’s or 70’s Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard records I grab them, they are sellers.
These records will bring you 5-10 dollars easy if they are in good playing shape. The Johnny Cash records like At Folsom Prison can bring 20 dollars or more easily.
Jazz and progressive rock is harder to come by, I think you just quite simply don’t have as many records out there, as pressing runs were so stingy to begin with.
Jazz and prog lovers tend to hang on to their stuff too, and perhaps are savvy enough to get top dollar out of them rather than give to a thrift store? Most every record cover on this page was found in thrift stores or the bargain bins of record shops in the Cincinnati or Dayton Ohio Area.
You can get a much more detailed run down of all the places I find cheap vinyl records for my eBay business and my personal collection by visiting this page.
Examples of what you can find digging the record shop and thrift store record bins
It’s Not Just the Baby Boomer Reliving the Past
It’s definitely not just “old guy” buying vinyl on eBay, or on their knees at the thrift stores. I see teenagers digging through the crates at the local Dayton Ohio shops.
Half Price Books is another popular destination for record collectors, I see an equal mix of older “over 40” and younger, “16-40” in there.
I see mostly men, but some woman too, maybe 4 to 1 male to female would be a good estimate. Most of the females I see are very young, perhaps college age? OK, enough about them, huh?
I think in a way the record shop or thrift store is like the iPod shuffle brought to real life. Think about it: The iPod really was the greatest invention since sliced bread.
I know when I came to understand the storage capacity of the iPod I was blown away. The iPod Classic in my opinion is still the best iPod ever made.
People’s musical tastes have grown too as a result of so much music at your disposal. I personally can listen to Metallica’s Ride The Lightning, and then consecutively Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison, James Brown the Payback, and Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way.
The internet age has definitely expanded people’s musical pallets, so it’s natural for the frugally minded to hunt for music at the same place they hunt vintage cloths or furniture.
Point is you never know what you might find in those record bins, I know that the days of the neo conservative music listener are just about over.
The mocking of ones listening habits is an outdated thing to do. So many diverse people and musics to discover…. and the records are right there in those crates waiting for YOU to spin them on your new record player.
All photos are my own
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Jason Sositko, a freelance writer and entrepreneur is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I also use services such as Viglink and Skimlinks to earn income via links placed inside articles.