Field Trip! The Fruits of Outlet Shopping at Grove City Outlets

Off a stretch of 79, North of Pittsburgh, where the spring air still holds a winter chill and humans share space with livestock, there is settled a center of discount shopping possibility. What golden nugget of commerce requires is a little time and a good pair of walking shoes. But what it offers is fun and the chance a savvy shopper can get some decent bargains.

You'll see it here...

Oops! No, wait, not there. Here, right across the street...

Yep, now you've found the Grove City Premium Outlets, and that's where my friend Scoobie and I went treasure hunting last weekend!

Now, if you've never been outlet shopping before, I have some advice for you. When outlet shopping, I recommend the following tips:

  • If you can, park somewhere central enough that you can return packages to the car. Don't do like I did once and buy something large, and have to carry it half a mile back to your vehicle. Trust me-- your arms and back will thank you for it!
  • Wear shoes you know are comfortable; this is not the time to break in that cute pair of new heels. You lose points for your stylishness if you're bloody and limping.
  • Make sure you eat. Smart shoppers are not hungry, cranky shoppers. Plus, it will help you avoid buying everything the chocolate shops have to offer. Restraint comes with a full stomach.
  • Know what you're looking for and what you're willing to pay. Like thrift stores, prices at outlet malls are not always bargains. So it's really important to know what the prices are on the things you're interesting in buying. Some outlet stores offer some real sales, but others are just branches of regular mall stores at regular mall store prices. It's important to know what's what to really enjoy savings.
My friend Scoobie found herself a good price on a griddle. She'd been comparing prices for months now and the Corelle Outlet had a quality Revereware griddle for a price she wanted to pay.

Me, I was looking for some new jeans. So, I got the chance to shop at the White House/Black Market store and snag myself some formerly $90 jeans for $20. I love the style of the clothes there-- very vintage-inspired-- so this was a real treat for me.

I also netted myself a couple of paua shell necklaces from the New York & Company outlet....

Their prices were comparable to what you pay in the stores on-sale, but I was happy with the purchases because I hadn't spied these particular pieces directly in their stores.

And you know what I was saying about making sure you eat? After a couple of rows of shopping, Scoobie and I took an intermission at a nearby Pub/Restaurant, the Elephant & Castle.
They have everything from sandwiches to salads to traditional British pub dishes. I had a burger with a Guinness Barbecue sauce on it... YUM!

And my friend Scoobie, well, she found her leftovers required a doggie, er, rather an elephant bag...
There was dessert in there and Scoobie loves sweets; I kinda have a suspicion she didn't share with the elephant at all.

But if pub food isn't your favorite, the outlet mall also offers a food court, and nearby off-outlet restaurants like Eat & Park, Primanti Brothers, and Wendy's.

So for a fun day out foraging for bargains, you can have your pick of purchase potential at the Grove City outlets.

Have a great week, folks!

Dad and Thrifty Genetics

My dad passed away on March 4, and as one tends to do during this kind of time in life, I've found myself doing a lot of thinking. And when I think of Dad, those thoughts are almost inseparable from the one thing he enjoyed more than almost anything else-- second-hand treasure hunting.

In his hale and hearty days, there was nothing that would stop him on a Saturday morning from scouring all the yard sales the upper Florida Keys had to offer. Our weekly phone call would be filled with tales and tallies-- how many yard sales he hit, how many things he found, who he ran into during his adventures and what he ultimately paid for his pirate booty.
(He did not hit any sales on his archaeological tour of Easter Island, but I hear they're pretty strict about letting you take the old, unusual things home. Also, I think the moai statuary wouldn't fit in his carry-on.)

During the week, he was led to his local thrift store, where he'd come back with whatever caught his eye-- from antique engravings to Star Wars character cups from Pizza Hut and items even he admitted he bought because he had absolutely no idea what they were.

Those items were apparently the best. Because they afforded hours and hours of detective-work fun.

Sundays, then, were devoted to the Upper Keys' flea market, rows of storage units opened up for business. Dad's favorite haunts were the Fifty Cent Bins, which he would dig through with relish to find his latest electronic gadget, kitschy collectible, or hidden bauble...

It was compulsion, entertainment, and history wrapped up in one fascinating, musty package.

So I learned my love of the thrift at the second-hand deck shoes of the master.
While I never gained the patience my dad did to weed elbow-deep in boxes of questionable origin, I do think fondly on my own childhood garage saling adventures with Dad. The 50 cents a week I earned from chores, I had learned, stretched far toward dollies and clothes, art supplies and Wonder Woman comic books.

And when it came to books, Dad was usually happy to kick in an extra buck or two for me. I recall more than once walking away with a giant grocery bag full of Nancy Drews for only a few dollars. Dad was proud to say he had a reader. And I was trembling with anticipation for stories not yet read.

As regular readers know, Dad and I got to a number of weekend thrifting forays while he was up here in Pittsburgh getting cancer treatment. He would come back with this trinket or that bit of "guy stuff" as he called it, a souvenir of his day out and a conversation piece for him back at assisted living.

This weekend, I donated some of his things back from whence they came-- the thrifts. It wasn't easy exactly, but it had to be done-- and the nice thing about thrifts stores is, now the ever-spinning cycle of ownership continues on.

Treasure Box, or, um, maybe Litterbox Thursday

With my dad now in hospice for his cancer, needless to say, I have not really been thrifting much lately. I've been playing a lot of Scrabble with him-- (we experienced our very first Scrabble draw, where I was left with a Q and he, a U, and we finally had to use teamwork to finish the game)-- and other general visitation.

So I regret I have no treasures for you this week. I can only offer you a couple of shots of Harry-- the furry little bugger who is a treasure to me, and who surprised me this last week with his antics on top of my refrigerator where he is so not supposed to be.

I figure with whole web sites like the marvelous dedicated to the kind of cheerful pet shots that merrily lower your IQ just by looking at them, you might forgive me this week for including these.

I'd caption this one: "If I hold really, REALLY still maybe she will think I'm a fridge magnet."

And this one: "Oh no.... Busted!"

I hope you all have a furry nice rest of your week!