I Went Thrift Shopping but All I Got Was Scabies


Sure, I’ve survived the Commons cold. My body has even braved the drippy, hot, Rand tenders that run through your intestines like a bat out of hell. Yet all throughout Nashville, what poses the greatest threat to my health are these cursed thrift stores. Every weekend, I think that the past is the past and my thrifting experience will be better. One day I’ll find a pair of size 6 Crocs (don’t laugh, I’m sensitive about my small feet). Or that howling wolf shirt to scare away the freshmen who steal my lunch money at Rand. Or a pair of spontaneous, wacky watermelon socks that will fill the empty void of my life aspirations and end the incessant voices begging for substance.

But it’s Sunday evening and I’m itching for another trip to the thrift store. Literally itching. This cashmere turtleneck has become the instrument of my own demise. Was it two sizes too small? Yes. Did it seem like it hadn’t been washed in years? Also yes. Is it responsible for the mites that have now burrowed their way into my skin, gentrifying my epidermis? Probably. But at least I can go to class on Monday and nonchalantly bring up my thrifting experience in every casual conversation as I profusely scratch my rash. 

One minute I’m thrashing around in the changing room trying to squeeze into a youth small sweater. The next, I’m itching like a crazy person as I run into my cashier crush. I don’t know if it’s the five nose rings or the arm tattoo of Steve Buscemi, but I always turn beet red when I try to pay. But this time, the red is due to the spreading rash across my neck. What’s even more tragic is that our star signs were aligned today, which means that we would feel gravitationally drawn to each other. I even bought some rose quartz. Fuck you, Big Crystal. 

If anyone knows a good dermatologist, I’ve given up on natural remedies. Essential oils, Altoids and copper pennies have all failed to cure these scabies. I even saw a shaman on Facebook marketplace but she refused to barter over payment. At this point, I’ve embraced my vengeful fate. I’ve amassed a collection of infected clothes to trade in. I’m talking Doc Martens, bucket hats, pastel corduroy socks and a tube top with Barbara Streisand’s face on it. They’ll be chomping at the bit to buy my clothes. Just like these bugs won’t stop gnawing at my flesh. I’ll walk out of the store with $20 in-store credit as the entirety of Belmont’s campus enjoys the fruits (mites) of my labor. 


It’s been three weeks since my scabies infection. The bugs have begun to talk to me, negotiate with me. They want power, riches, respect. Sometimes, I’ll wake in the middle of the night to the sound of John Mayer playing on my nightstand. The mites have gained a taste for smooth guitar. At this point, I have no clue what to do. I find myself trying on clothes for no reason then putting them back on the rack. The bugs refuse to sleep. Their whispers command me to try on the next turtleneck from my local department store in an effort to spread their empire. I am merely a host, a conduit for their satanic conquest across the strip mall.

This is no longer an empty attempt at pity. I dared to go thrifting for some basic self-validation, but at the cost of my sanity? I have become scabies. My waking life is scratch, try on shirt, leave store, cry. The bugs have become one with my consciousness. What was once a two-dimensional thrifting personality is now but an empty shell of its former self. Existence is pain, resistance is futile, may the primordial beings soon swallow our world. Thanks, you stupid, quirky thrift store.

  • October 26, 2021