Some days, luck is just on your side. (Tomorrow: testing my luck on public transport)
(Mom & Dad: Do not read the following post as it pertains to me obtaining more stuff--yes dad, a pair of shoes--but at least I didn't spend a lot of money!)
I've lamented on the prices of just about everything in Switzerland and clothes are, or were, no exception until the day my friend introduced me to The Bröckenhaus. The Bröckenhaus, or Bröcki, is a place where home goods, furniture, clothing, records, and just about go to die. It cannot be called a thrift store because they are more warehouse than store, and houses more junk than the Mall of America (seriously, Minnesotans don't hate me but I really don't like the Mall of America). But, I love the Bröcki. There are tons of them scattered all over the Zürich area but it took an experienced shopper to open my eyes to the joys of thrift store shopping. (I can hear Molly making the gagging sounds from across the Atlantic.) I always envied the girls who could buy all their clothes second hand and look like they stepped out of Vogue, I usually look like I've stepped out of a J.Crew catalogue (don't worry, I haven't forgotten my J.Crew roots!) so I wanted to test the waters and see if I could pull of a thrifted item or two.
My first trip was to this enormous Bröcki a couple weeks ago and it was totally overwhelming--you need to be in the right mood and full of energy to tackle these places, much like Nordstrom's Rack--sifting through rows and rows of coats, dresses, ugly sweaters (ugly sweater party happening soon) was daunting. Especially when there wasn't a dressing room--everything you bought was a guessing game of "will it or won't it fit?" I came out of the store 15 CHF lighter having purchased two scarves, a skirt and a leather bag (yes a leather bag). Not bad I thought! I did a little research and found out that there were not one, but two Bröcki's in my town. I went to the first one today and from what I could gather from the sign they were robbed. Now who would rob, no wait, who could rob a Bröcki--there's more than one moving van's worth of stuff in even the smallest Bröckenhaus!
The second Bröcki was in my town and the first thing I saw made the trip worthwhile: a Washington Redskins pin!
Who knows how this tiny pin got into my little Swiss town but I couldn't help but laugh when I saw it and I knew it had to come home with me. I found a pair of sunglasses that I liked (I'm always breaking and/or losing mine) and two cool belts, one grey with a neat gold clasp and a braided gold one.
Total cost for Bröcki
#1: 5 CHF.
The next Bröcki was one I have driven by every Tuesday on the way to swim lessons with Stephanie. It looks like a junkyard (I think the front of it may even be a junkyard) but I went in undaunted (and excited about my previous purchases). I sifted through the clothes--nothing too exciting but I did buy a vest semi-ugly but I'll see if I can pull it off. (This is when I'm thankful for my anonymity, so I can test out outfits without too much embarrassment). But the real pride & joy purchase at this Bröcki came when I was leaving: the series finale of Dawson's Creek. In English. This is when my parents smack their heads and say, "She already has too much stuff!" but how could I pass up the series finale of one of my favorite shows for 3 CHF?
Total cost at Bröcki #3: 7CHF.
The final Bröcki happened on accident. I was driving (perhaps part of my good mood, I love driving and singing aloud in the car) to pick up the kids from their after school French class and I was going to be really early, so I took the long way to school. The road parallels lake Zürich and as it was a clear day I had a great view of the lake and the mountains on my leisurely drive. (I've gotten over my terror of driving, but I rarely go over the speed limit. Actually I rarely know the speed limit, so I'm always going slow!) Anyway I saw a sign for a Bröcki and I thought: well I've got time so I'll just stop in. I found this cool green organizer labeled "Documents," which is great because I keep getting papers about my visa, health insurance, bank account (which I have now f.y.i.--more on that later) and I want to keep them together and neat. I've already put them in, labeled them and feel much better about my previous lack of organization! But the real find of the day (better than the Redskins pin and Dawson's Creek, combined!): black leather boots. My size. Made in Italy. Twenty CHF. Hallelujah!!!! Total cost for wonderful Bröcki (who thankfully took credit cards, which just proves that I was meant to have these boots)#3: 23 CHF.
So today I spent 35 CHF but I consider it money very well spent.
Next Bröcki trip: Halloween costumes!