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A Life’s Ambition Achieved: Uni Watch Shirt Spotted in Ohio Thrift Store

Aside from socks and underwear, the vast majority of my clothing is second-hand, picked up at thrift stores, vintage shops, and the like. At this point in my life, I have more shirts, sweaters, jackets, jeans, and jerseys than I could possibly need for the foreseeable future, but I keep visiting thrift stores anyway because I enjoy spending time in them. It’s fun to see the things that other people choose to discard, each of them simultaneously mass-produced (at one point) and one-of-a-kind (at the thrift shop). It’s like a museum of cultural rejects. Whenever Mary and I visit a thrift shop, there’s almost always a moment when one of us grabs something off the rack and says to the other, “Hey, look at this— not necessarily because it’s beautiful or desirable, but just because it’s interesting.

So I was amused and kind of thrilled when reader Kenneth Crookston got in touch on Saturday to show me what he’d discovered at a thrift shop in Akron, Ohio:

That, of course, is a Uni Watch Tequila Sunrise Deluxe shirt, currently available in our online shop for $35.99 — but only five bucks at that Akron thrift shop! “And the blue tag was the half-off color today,” says Kenneth, so he could have scored the shirt for only $2.50. “But I left it for someone else to find,” he says.

Now, you might be thinking that I should be pissed off, or at least disappointed, to know that someone bought one of my shirts and then decided not to keep it. But I know the feeling of having too much stuff and periodically weeding things out. Sometimes I look at something and say to myself, “I’ve really enjoyed this — and now it’s time to let someone else enjoy it.” And as things cycle out of my closet and my life, that makes room for new things to cycle in. That’s one thing I love about thrifting — you never really own something, you’re just its current steward, one chapter in the object’s life story.

More to the point, though, after all the fun times I’ve spent in thrift stores, and all the fun things I’ve found in them, it actually feels like an achievement for a Uni Watch shirt to end up in one of these spaces. Uni Watch is now part of the museum! I’d never really thought about it before, but now that it’s happened, it feels like checking off an important box in my list of personal ambitions.

This reminds me of something I once wrote about on the Permanent Record blog, where an old art-school painting by friend Shane (who, like me, is a big thrifter) ended up in a thrift shop 30 years later.

Anyway: If the Ohio Uni Watch reader who originally bought this shirt wants to speak up, I’m all ears. If not, that’s fine too. Either way, this kind of made my weekend. Big thanks to Kenneth Crookston for letting me know!

Comments (22)

    That’s exactly what I was thinking. A deceased person’s clothes very often end up being donated to thrift stores. I always like to think of it as a way for a small part of that person to live on.

    IIRC I got 2 of the tequila sunrise shirts for the price of one because of a printer error. Something to do with the sublimation being off centered on the sleeve? I donated one of them to Goodwill (but not in Ohio) eventually just to pare down my collection.

    Exactly this. I couldn’t tell the difference between the two but I got two for the price of one. I suspect there are more extras of this one floating around.

    Congrats on the Thrift Store experience!

    My story – a couple of years after donating an ill-fitting and out of style (and gaudy) sport coat, I saw it in a downtown city park, being used as a blanket, by a homeless person. There was no doubt in my mind that it had been mine.

    Imagine the range of emotions as I walked past it, then took the elevator to my morning meeting!

    Every so often, I run across a Uni Watch item on eBay and am tempted to submit it for Brinke’s “Collector’s Corner” feature ; )
    Full Disclosure: I’m searching for the elusive 2018 Purp Walk cap…still kick myself for not purchasing that when it was originally offered.

    I used to donate framed original art of my cartoons to silent auctions and such for fundraisers, also gave them out as gifts to friends. Several years ago I got an email from someone who found one of them in a thrift shop in Tennessee and wrote to me. I was mildly insulted but ended up with a new fan and internet friend.

    I had to donate a whole slew of stuff after I…. ummmm…. moved up a size or so during the lockdown, not every addition to the donation pile has nefarious intentions

    Thrift stores! A great place to find Tequila Sunrise jerseys — especially from companies like Wooter who make rec baseball and softball jerseys and have to get rid of their demos.

    At the OKC Craft Beer Festival in May, I saw a man wearing the same shirt. I told him I was a fellow Uniwatcher, and he looked confused. I pointed to the shirt, and he told me in heavily-accented English that he got it at a thrift store.

    I moved to Ohio in February of 2022 and donated my green tequila sunrise uni watch shirt very soon thereafter, a side effect of no longer being able to fit into it, having gained a lot of weight during the pandemic. That being said, I donated it to a Goodwill in Columbus, not a Salvation Army in Akron.

    Just to clarify: The Salvo photo at the top of the post is just a generic thrift store photo. The link at the end of the 2nd graf shows the actual shop where the shirt was spotted.

    My friend Kari has a clothing business, I texted her this article & she replied with a funny/odd take: “Its a badge of honor when your apparel finds its way to thrift shops. Kind of like how a musician might feel when Weird Al parodies their song.”
    Um….ooookay.

    I felt the same way when the recording my band made in 2004 showed up in the used section of the Seattle record store I would frequent. A little proud, and a little ‘Hey! We worked hard to make this record!’

    Interestingly, there is no ‘thrifting’ in Italy. No real used stores of any kind. There is the rare antique store but nothing like the US. I will never forget the day I bought a good Guild guitar for $100 at the local Children’s Hospital thrift store. Score!!

    My wife and I regularly donate to our local Goodwill store. We both lost a good deal of weight and a lot of my bigger clothes don’t fit anymore. If someone can get use out of them, I could not be happier. Especially during these tough times, if we can help someone, I am all for it.

    A good deal of my clothes come from thrift stores as well. I’m always on the lookout for bobbleheads as well. Found some great shirts donated by Braves employees: ushers, scoreboard operators, operations, etc. Like you Paul, it’s fun to browse. I too have more clothes than I need. Seems like the finds can be fewer and far between these days. My son says TikTokkers hit thift stores early and often to resale, and brag about their finds.

    Is anyone selling the purple version of this jersey by chance. I missed my opportunity. We could use it for future Uni Watch shows

    Thank you All

    link

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