Volunteers help at a Habitat for Humanity home


A Splurge at the ReStore With My $50 Gift Card

Guest Column from ReStore Shopper Vicki L. Friedman

With a $50 gift card in hand, I headed to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Williamsburg with no specific needs in mind. Because truth is, I’m downsizing these days, purging excess stuff by donating to the ReStore instead of moving piles from drawer to drawer, closet to closet. At the same time, I enjoy browsing and shopping, especially in a place that doesn’t have the typical stock of a mall or name brand store.

I wasn’t inside for a minute when I spotted batteries. They sell batteries here? Yep, brand new batteries. Who doesn’t need batteries, especially the D ones that every store seems to run out of should a hurricane be spotted 500 miles from the Bahamas and projected to reach Hampton Roads? Two batteries cost $1.50. A handful were my first items in my cart.

Even though I didn’t need furniture, I traipsed through the massive inventory and admittedly eyed the $75 piano up front. I can’t play the piano; I have no room for a piano and yet it’s nice to think about for a moment. I walked past the lighting and snagged a few new lightbulbs for $2.

Into the store’s Jamestown section I took my time admiring the glassware and gadgets. This lovely square dish with a price tag of $5 matched the new pastel backsplash in my kitchen. I kept walking — for now. I stopped to study a shelf of Norman Rockwell collectible plates. A few of them were images of framed pictures on the walls of the house I grew up in. They were in perfect condition for $10. I settled on something far less beautiful but functional — an As Seen on TV grapefruit slicer. I’ve become addicted to those oversized jars of already sliced grapefruit in the store for $9.99 and upward, depending on where you shop. The Citrus Express at a cost of $2 means I can section off my grapefruit easily and far more economically.

I wouldn’t let myself look at the spinning jewelry case.

But I did stop at the display of new Bamboo Pillows and thought of my husband and his lumpy pillows. I picked up a Bamboo Pillow for Father’s Day for $18. A Google search confirmed they retail at $32.

I saw a bunch of still-in-the-box sheets, but they were for a king-sized bed. They were 600 thread count for $29. But no king bed in my life — yet.

Gallon cans of ReColor paint made me kick myself. The recycled paint comes in several shades, including the one I painted a guest bedroom with a few weeks ago. I hadn’t thought to buy it at the ReStore, where it sells for $11. I paid four times that much by buying at it from a retail chain. I made a mental note. Next time, ReStore!

A walk up and down the aisles of the section called The Colony produced some finds. Magnet frames for the fridge were 50 cents. I wandered into the book aisle, and a coffee table book from Tiger Woods on how to play golf that looked like it came from Barnes & Noble spoke to me. I snagged it for my youngest son who rarely leaves the links on weekends. Another book for 50 cents had a collection of drink recipes from food writers. Fiddle-De-Dee! I can’t wait to make the Scarlett O’Hara Punch.

I avoided the DVDs and thought how glad I was my husband wasn’t here because his cart would be all DVDs and books. I picked up “Hangover,” once the favorite movie of my eldest son. The movies will get better, Son, I remember telling him.

A car duster? I’m persnickety about my new RAV4, so a $3 duster to tidy up the dash seemed reasonable.

Taking a final spin, I spotted 101 Stitches to Knit for 50 cents. Why not? I can only knit and purl – had no idea there were 99 other options.

The jewelry display got me before I realized it. More jewelry is the last thing I need, but I’ll just peek, I promised. I eyed some dangling balls – each had intricate blue designs on them. I liked them so much that I put them on before I left the store. Happy to report that they don’t irritate my ears as most earrings do. I call that $9 well spent.

Anything else, I asked myself? That square plate that I passed on the first time was irresistible the second. Did I mention it was $5 and in perfect shape?

I headed to the register with a cart that added up to $51.36. Round up I did as all proceeds from ReStore sales go to Habitat’s mission of building homes, communities and hope. It felt good to donate to such a worthy cause. As I stepped outside, I gazed at the patio furniture and made a plan. The first step of that plan?

A return visit to the ReStore.


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We help as many families as we can, but the lack of decent and affordable housing remains a critical problem in our area. By donating, you will provide upfront funding for building materials and services that makes interest-free loans to Habitat partner families possible. Habitat partner families help to build their own homes - alongside volunteers - and pay an affordable mortgage. Your monetary donations enable us to continue building strength, stability and independence for future local families.