By Anya Volz, Contributor
Listen! I’ve got good taste, always have (apart from a brief run-in with what could be generously referred to as my “scene phase,” but we all make mistakes), always will. It is something I take pride in and I do not take the responsibility lightly. I get up each morning (ok, sometimes afternoon but hear me out) and I put on a damn good outfit 6/7 days a week. The seventh day is reserved for, as we all know, my Birkenstocks & socks (a.k.a. #Birkensocks) outfit because I’m only human and GUESS WHAT!! In some circles, that’s still considered trendy. I’m not saying I deserve a Lookbook.nu dedicated to me, but what I am saying is that when I decide to evacuate 3/4 of my wardrobe’s inventory, whoever gets first dibs is a very fortunate entity. I know moving season is a very saturated market for consignment stores, and I know that living in a fashionable city makes me susceptible for being taken for granted, but none of that knowledge will stop me from taking my Plato’s Closet experience today personally. Because what is left to take in this material world, if not experiences personally?
I realize that showing you a photo of my low point in personal fashion history is not illustrative of the point I am trying to make. But I also realize that if I don’t find a way to incorporate these photos into my “art,” then they will continue to eat me alive, so here we are.
The following is not a review of Plato’s Closet, it’s a review of consignment store culture at large and my experience living as nothing more than a pawn in their scheme to turn us all against each other. But it will read very similarly to a review of Plato’s Closet, I’m not denying that.
I could do without the false sense of security created by the friendly, outgoing staff
Was this my first time selling at Plato’s Closet? No. Has it gone well in the past? Enough so that if a friend asks, I can say honestly that yes, I have sold my clothes there before. But never well enough that I think to myself in the moment that I will ever put myself through it again. Yet I always do. Six months roll around, I get the itch to purge my physical belongings and I think: Hey! I’ll just sell my clothes! But where? And there I find myself, standing in line with four industrial-sized garbage bags stuffed with clothes made from fabric, but stitched with memories. A looming feeling hangs over me, telling me you’re gonna have to fucking carry all four of these bags back out that door in less than twenty minutes, you naive, pitiful fool. And then you, let’s call you Becky (no, not because of Lemonade, but because I am pretty sure that was actually your name), have the AUDACITY to treat me with hospitable regard as you take my bags and have me sign my name on the dotted line to pledge allegiance to Plato’s Closet and its destruction of my sense of self. You wrap me in a warm, comfortable blanket of pleasantries and smiles only to RIP IT AWAY and splash the icy, cold truth in my face: my clothes suck and so do I. Well “Becky,” has it ever occurred to you that I don’t want to fit into this shitty store’s standards? Probably not, because I desperately do. You know, at least at Urban Outfitters and American Apparel, we know what we sign up for when the staff all but spits in our faces. Just because this is a consignment store doesn’t mean you don’t get to treat your customers like the garbage that they are.
Fine, you’re picky… but, really? That’s the dress you want?
Okay! I get it! You only want four out of the one hundred and fifty-six items I brought today. Cool, whatever. But seriously? You listed “out of date trend” as one of the reasons for not taking a PacSun crop top I purchased four months ago, but the shoes I borrowed from my friend for eighth grade winter formal, forgot to give back and due to the shoe-borrowing statute of limitations have been technically mine for the better part of a decade, they made the cut? You can’t take my worn-once graduation dress because of “wear and tear,” but you’re willing to take a pair of earrings that have turned my earlobes green so many times that the earrings themselves have turned a bizarre hue of green? How dare you indoctrinate honest, hardworking citizens into your fashion fallacy, leading us to certain failure and tragedy. You have real chutzpah to attach a name synonymous with the search of meaning to a place where all law and reason goes to perish. Your rules are arbitrary, yet their casualties are absolute. Plato would not stand for this.
Oh, is now the part where I’m expected to be grateful?
As Becky produces the receipt declaring what of my swill is worthy of this fine establishment, she reaches into the cash register and announces the proposed monetary value for said swill. “If that sounds good to you, just sign the bottom!” She says cheerfully, as if the whopping $28.60 she holds in anticipation of my consent is at all what I would consider worth the time, gas and emotional turmoil I sacrificed to get to this point. I sign the receipt, take the money (by the way, thanks for the change! I was wondering when an auditory reminder of this fresh hell of a trip would present itself!), take my four garbage bags and leave. But before I exit, my manners tug on my sleeve and remind me to say “Thank you!” Yes, thank you, Plato’s Closet. Thanks for nothing. — No for real, thank you for the $28.60, your girl is broke AF and I’d rather be underpaid for my most prized possessions than come crawling back to mom and pop to pay for this high-speed internet that I “need.” See you in six months.
OMG OKAY FIIIINE, I WILL SHOW YOU ONE MORE GORGEOUS PHOTO FROM MY YOUTH, STOP ASKING ALREADY!!!
Anya Volz is a Vermont standup and sketch comic, now based out of New York City. She has performed in the Green Mountain Comedy Festival, Gilda’s LaughFest, Bird City Comedy Festival, Women in Comedy Festival, Cape Fear Comedy Festival and has featured for several national headliners. She co-wrote, directed and starred in the sketch web series YONIC TONIC and is involved in various other sketch collaborations in New York. She is currently a co-host of the podcast In the Shwick of It on Kpiss.fm and is a contributing writer for the popular punk satire site The Hard Times. @AnyaVolz