Music to the Ears with Thrift Store CDs

Interested in trying a particular musical group, but don't want to pay much to take a risk? Looking to expand your music collection, but don't think $1 an MP3 download is very thrifty-minded? Like having a tangible CD in your possession, just in case you PC hard drive goes soft?

There are plenty of great reasons to scour thrift stores and other resale stores for used CDs!

With the introduction of MP3 players, increasingly CDs are showing up at the thrift stores. And while they aren't always today's most recent gotta-have chart-topper, a thrifter willing to take the time and go through the CD shelves might just find a hit or two, anyway.

Chalk it up to the fleeting music passions of youth, or changes in technology, but peer through those music racks and you'll find everything from 90s boy bands and music icons, to easy listening, new age relaxation albums, classic rock, country favorites and Christmas staples.

And the prices can be very affordable. Typically at thrift stores, the CDs range between $1-$3, and $3 can mean a double-CD album. So when you compare it to some downloading prices, where you can pay $1 a song, well... just do the math and you'll see how much you could save.

But if you find a CD that catches your fancy-- there are a couple quick-and-dirty points I want to share with you, so you make sure you're happy with your purchase:

  • Open the CD and check to see if there really is a disc inside. It's a recent trend that people have been stealing the CDs and DVDs out of their cases at thrift stores. St. Vincent de Paul has rectified this problem by holding all CDs and DVDs up at the front cash register, and they'll give them to you when you bring the empty case up to purchase. Goodwill and Salvation Army, in my area at least, have not started doing this. Yesterday, I spied a Cheryl Crow and an Alanis Morrissette that were completely empty-- their discs having long gone in the pocket of some thoughtless thief. So don't buy a CD only to find the critical disc is missing. Check 'em out before you buy! (And bring the empty cases to the attention to the cashier, if you would. It will prevent someone else from suffering the same fate!)
  • Hold the disc up to the light to check condition. I've had very good luck with the condition of my thrifted CDs. So far everything from No Doubt to Phish to Paul Simon have been pristine. But that doesn't mean all thrifted CDs have been treated so well. Just check to see how scratched a CD might be before purchasing. There's no telling whether the CD sat happily in its case between playings, or was used as a drink coaster. Better safe than sorry!

And happy listening!

Also, happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!

Until we meet again this Wednesday, folks... Have a great one!


Padfoot and Prongs - Good Books Inc. said...

Great advice! Interesting post.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Good advice; I've been the unhappy recipient of an empty case -- twice. You think I'd a learned the first time!

chyna said...

My advice would be to make sure the disc inside is what the case says it is. I picked up what looked to be a great collection only to find out once I got home that it wasn't the same thing. :(

Not So Glamorous Housewife said...

What a good thought. I had never really stopped to look but it's such a good idea.

babs said...

Or you are replacing something you had on tape or lp and don't want to play ten bucks for.

Wow, you found Phish? Usually, when I check Salvation Army near me, it tends to be random stuff I am amused someone bought. They also have tapes and vhs and some dvds. I got tapes of Yaz and Breathe to listen in my car since I still have a cassette deck. Amusing enough, but not worth full price.

Shirley said...

Little tip for scratched up cds: Rub some toothpaste on it in small circles all around the disc and it will get up some of those scratches. If the scratch is deep there's no hope for it.

My husband just bought turntables and it's a great place for old records too.

Jenn Thorson said...

Padfoot- Hey, thanks for stopping by. (Love the username!-- it took me a minute.)

Sandy- Well, it's easy to forget when you're caught up in the moment of a good find.

Chyna- That's a good one, too. I've seen them switched around more than once and you can end up with some, um, interesting substitutions. :)

NotSoGloriousHousewife- Yup, it's worth looking. And the selection seems to be getting better all the time.

Babs- That's true, too... Sound quality upgrades. Yup, Phish was a surprise-- it's a two-disc set, too. Was pretty exciting.

Shirley- I hadn't heard of that trick. I've just used a bit of Windex to clean 'em.

Yes, you can get some great old records-- or just interesting cover art if you're looking to decorate something cheaply.

Robert Almares said...

I got excited one time when I found a vinyl copy of U2's "Joshua Tree" only to discover it was all scratched up. Elation turned to immediate deflation.