Saturday, April 23, 2011

Our Saturday Afternoon: An Epic Walk, Amvets, and Scooby-Doo

We love Amvets!
My family and I just returned from one of our favorite weekend activities that we call Epic Walks. On our Epic Walks, we buckle both of our kids in strollers and head out on an urban hike, stopping to run errands and window shop in stores along the way. We have several different routes that we usually take, and today's chosen path happened to include an especially fun destination: Amvets Thrift Store on El Cajon's Main Street.

En route to Amvets, we were very conscious of other pedestrians sharing the sidewalks with us. The one who stood out the most was a particularly scary-looking man we got stuck behind for a few blocks. He had a hardened gait, was covered with skull tattooes, and walked with an appropriately intimidating pit bull. Even other tough-looking people seemed wary of this fellow and kept a careful eye on him as they walked past. We were glad when he finally turned down a different direction, and before we knew it, we had arrived at Amvets.

If you've never been to Amvets before, just know to pay attention to the sign when you walk in that advertises the specials of the day. (Once inside, you can also see the specials posted above the cash registers.) The regularly marked prices on items can be hit or miss, but if you're able to cash in on the extra savings, you can score some really super deals. As you can see in the image on the right, today's deal was for 50% off of all departments, except for items with red tags. What you'll find is that a large amount of the merchandise inside will have red tags. Just look below at the Flowbee for sale, complete with its original box. It is selling for $14.95, and since it has a red tag, there is no discount. Maybe later, when red tags are on sale, someone might spring for it at less than eight dollars. But, even in all of its kitschy glory, who is going to buy it today?

Flowbee aside, all that you need on a trip to Amvets is an ability to dodge the crowds that block the aisles, a discerning eye to pick out hidden treasures amidst the over-packed and picked-through shelves, and a little bit of luck. Today, by the time we had arrived, our son had fallen asleep in his stroller. He's usually eager to check out the toy section, and so although he wasn't awake, we still made our customary stop by that area.

Hidden in a far corner, I spotted a humongous Scooby-Doo stuffed animal. I gave it a once over and determined that it was a fine specimen, very clean and well-manufactured. To sweeten the deal, the $7.95 priced Scooby had a yellow tag, which meant we could bring him home for less than four dollars. My only concern is that Scooby was so big that 1) we would still have to walk all the way home with him, and 2) he would take up a lot of space in our small home. But, my husband said we should go for it since my son happens to be a big Doo fan right now.

I managed to balance Scooby on the sun shade of my son's stroller and before checking out, I also found a cute, like-new Gap messenger bag that, while red-tagged, was only $3.95. With our new treasures secured, we continued on our Epic Walk. Now, however, as we passed other pedestrians along the way, I could see their eyes being drawn to the giant Scooby atop the stroller. There were still plenty of "hardened" looking folks that we passed, but the sight of Scooby seemed to soften them just a bit. It makes me wonder if the pit bull man we had seen earlier would have even walked a little less aggressively had he seen us with Scooby in tote.

Our son clutching Scooby tightly
My husband and I have realized as we've gotten older that, in many ways, adults are still little kids inside. I think that people build up shells around themselves as they age, but every once in a while, something will speak to their vulnerable kid self. Maybe the homeless guy who seemed to give us a longer than normal glance was once able to live in a home where he got to watch Scooby-Doo on Saturday mornings. Perhaps seeing Scooby out on a walk took him momentarily back to a safe feeling he may have had all of those years ago.

The icing on the cake was when our son woke up, and we saw his eyes light up at the sight of Scooby. I think it took him a little while to realize he wasn't dreaming. Maybe someday when he is all grown up, Scooby-Doo will be a trigger that is able to speak to his tender child's heart. I know it is something that will always remind me of this young, innocent-version of him. I can hear his voice in my head asking, "Scooby-Doo, where are you?" He always answers himself in his best Scooby voice, "I'm here!" Tonight that'll be more true than ever. Scooby's here. He's officially home.


  1. i love this. Adults ARE big kids. All the time, but some hide it better than others. And really, i think that may have been my Scooby-Doo... i had it for years and kept it in my storage unit (with so many other items that i haven't been able to let go of, but i am slowly now giving things away...) and not long ago gave it away (along with a huge Astro from The Jetsons stuffed animal)! Good times for Scooby! Happy days ahead for your son. And the rest of your family. i love it.

  2. What a cool way for our worlds to collide if the Scooby is in fact yours. Talk about kismet! The odds would be crazy because as much as we love Amvets, we haven't been there in a while. Plus, the inventory there goes super fast. Even as we walked around with Scooby, we had people eyeing it, as if they were sad they hadn't spotted him first. This is why we love giving and buying second-hand. You can see one of my other blog entries on this (it's a blog I haven't been so good about keeping up on for a while):

  3. Hi, if u do not want scooby any more I will be glad to buy it from you! Please let me know! Thank you!!!

    1. @purepolaris1992 - I wish I had seen your comment sooner! We donated it recently :( I would have totally given it to you!

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