03 June 2011

Plato's Closet Review

As I mentioned before I am moving in the fall so I have decided to reduce my load. On Tuesday afternoon I stopped at Plato's Closet in East Lansing to sell my unworn clothing.

I first learned of Plato's Closet five years ago. My college roommate had heard about the Utica store from a co-worker. Although we talked about visiting the store, we never made it. Ironically, in researching for this blog post I have found there is now a Rochester Hills Plato's Closet close to where we lived. When my fiance transfered to Michigan State University he moved into an apartment complex within walking distance of the East Lansing store, so I became familiar with that location.

According to their website, Plato's Closet "buys and sells the latest looks in brand name gently used clothing and accessories for teen and twenty something guys and girls." They buy gently worn clothing from the past 18 months and resell it. For a girl who is about to embark on her 30s, some of the clothing is meant for someone half my age. But I have an eclectic style, and I am willing to search through unappealing trends to find quality clothes. I prefer to shop for style over name brands; fashion is fleeting but style can be shaped and nurtured.

The East Lansing Location has expanded since my last visit. Although the expansion doubled the size of the store, they still have a limited men's section. According to my fiance, this is the case at many clothing stores, and I believe him.

When I went to the counter the clerk asked me to fill out my information and drop off my bag. She requested I stay in the store while she looked at the clothing. This is a sales tactic; they obviously want you to browse and buy something. Last week I had stopped on my lunch last hoping to sell clothing and they told me the wait was forty-five minutes. This time I stopped after work.

Plato's Closet, like many thrift shops, is hit and miss. You have to search through the clothing. I keep a mental list of the items, colors and brands I want to add to my wardrobe. I needed summer dresses so I did not mind waiting.

Perhaps the one complaint I have about this visit to Plato's Closet is the service. The staff is young; the minimum age to work at the store is 16. Some of the clerks are gossipy; they are preoccupied with their lives and what they do outside of work. As a retail worker I find this completely unprofessional. To be fair, I have had better service in the past, and I was not treated rudely.

When the clerk finished she forgot to tell me. I waited about thirty minutes before I approached the counter. Out of the seven items I brought, Plato's Closet bought three dresses, two from Target and one from Meijer, a pair of leggings (from Walmart, they passed on the pair from Deb) and a pair of lace-up boots from Kohls. I received $14.98, or an average of about $3 for each item. In my circumstance this is fine; I will never wear the clothing. I will donate the rest of the clothing to Goodwill or Salvation Army.

Although I did not find a dress I did buy two large tank tops (American Eagle and Banana Republic) that I plan to reconstruct. I also bought over 30 bangles which I plan to use to make jewelry.

Even with the poor service on this visit, I recommend shopping at Plato's Closet. It is thrifting for those who do not like to thrift. You can find lightly-worn, name brand clothing at great prices. If you want to sell your clothing, do not expect to get a lot of money back unless you sell them fashionable clothing. 

I love thrift shopping. You never know what you will find.

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