If you head east from campus on Prices Fork and take a left where the roundabout meets North Main St, you’ll find on the right side of the road what is perhaps the best way to get pretty much anything you need on the cheap. In the Y Thrift Store you’ll find used clothes, furniture ranging from lounge chairs to mattresses, all the obsolete electronic equipment you could ask for, a variety of novelty coffee mugs and a wide selection of used books sold for next to nothing.
And, in all likelihood, you’ll find me.
There’s a lot of things that make this place the perfect stop for all of your budget-related needs. For one thing, it’s a typical drop off for students to get rid of their textbooks without going through the rigamarole of selling them to anyone. For another, it’s pretty much a swap meet for apartment furniture, where pieces are dropped off and sold to a new home. And don’t worry, they sanitize everything they get. I’m moving into a new place this summer, and almost everything I got came from the Y. I managed to get a bed frame, a box spring and a full size mattress for a fraction of the cost of just the mattress anywhere else.
One of the best parts of the Y experience is the yearly book sale held early in October. Ever since a professor told me about it when I was a freshman, the three-day event has become a yearly pilgrimage for me along with other bookworms of all stripes; everything from the headiest of speculative fiction to the steamiest of romance, with more than a few atlases, dictionaries and coffee table books thrown in for good measure. And the deals on these books border on ridiculous. You can fill a decent sized reusable grocery bag of books for less than it takes to fill up a tank of gas. It’s a shame this only comes three days out of the year. For those of you who prefer to get your books in periodic hauls, there are few opportunities as good as this one.
Some of the other things that the Y Thrift Store has on display include used bicycles, books on tape, old CDs (for those of you that still use them) and more lamps than you can swing a lamp at. The Y is one of the best places in Blacksburg to get what you need, and I am stunned when I notice how few people know about it.
College is a time of tight budgeting and bargain hunting, and there ever was such a thing as a silver bullet of frugality, the Y Thrift Store comes pretty darn close to fitting that description. I guess the Village People were right: it is fun to stay at the YMCA.