Monday, July 19, 2010

Friends don't let friends hoard ironic woodland creatures.

So, I've been getting a lot of thrift store shopping-related questions on these here internets lately, especially through my Flickr. I started to make a little list of friendly pointers for thrift success, but one of them felt so important that it warrants its own post: Friends don't let friends hoard ironic woodland creatures.

Moderation in all things, my friend, owls being no exception. Actually, I think Aristotle may have been specifically referring to tacky owls when alluding to this in his Doctrine of Man. I know, they're owls. They're, uh, smart, and, er, they do that thing with their heads, and they make cool sounds.

But lamps, cookie jars, fifty different figurines, bad earthenware mugs, wood plaques, kindergarten craft projects, owls in the oven, owls comically falling out of the closet every time you open it up like an under-budget informercial... It's too much.

I'm not quite sure when owls seemingly instantaneously became everyone's favorite nocturnal bird of prey. My understanding is that one day, the cool police called and said, "Hey guys, you know those owls made out of tiny seashells that have been gathering dust on your grandma's shelf because they are hideous? Well, enough time has passed where you can effectively put these in your apartment and people won't think you're a 90-year-old with prosthetic limbs, they'll think you're ironic and cool!"

Unlike real owls, though, this isn't one of those things that is going away (oooh, Endangered Species joke, what up!) It almost seems like an young adult rite of passage: The awkward kitschy owl housewares phase (AKOHP).

As much as I'd like to be holier-than-thowl (yeah, I said it), I am not immune to this phenom. However, I have a rule: One owl. That's all I get.

Find one really great owl-something and love it. Or don't. But should you want to, search high and low. Be picky. Don't buy the first thing you see, because I guarantee you it will not be the last one you see. And when you find that one very special owl, you'll know it, because it will be hooting and hollering all over you.

My owl of choice is a clock. The details, the shifting eyes, the lack of a putrid 1970's color palette, I like things made out of wood, I needed a clock, it was $4.00... It had a lot of things going for it.


This being said, however, if you ARE going to take the plunge into your own AKOHP, for the love of all that is good, please do not buy your owls new. This is a crime against humanity and all better judgment. I know it's difficult to enter a thrift store and take one short walk down the knick-knack aisle, but spending twenty times as much money to buy something that LOOKS like you found it in a thrift store knick-knack aisle is ridiculous.

Someone on this planet spent twenty-five-freaking-dollars on this owl cross-stitch at ModCloth, and while it's not my money, someone working for minimum wage is Wyoming would have to work nearly five-freaking-hours to earn enough to buy this freaking thing. And this freaking napkin holder is out of stock. This freaking eyesore of a wicker mail-holding owl is back in stock (finally! There IS a freaking God!)

Okay. I'm done. Bottom line: Buy owls wisely.

"Freaking" count: 6.


  1. That's not a bad idea, either! As long as each one is very special.

  2. Susanna, you are hilarious and so very right. (forwards this blog link to her owl-obsessed other half)