The thrift stores in my area have noticeably less inventory, and a lot more customers. The stores are starting to look empty! Quite a difference from last year where good items were loaded into the dumpster out back every day.
In talking with some of the local T.S. management, they tell me donations are down, and business is up, way up (like 30% or more). Seems to reflect the economy. I am seeing more and more swap meet sellers (professional pickers if you will) on a daily basis waiting to get in and snarfing up anything they think they can resell.
Sure hope the economy turns around soon so we can get back to normal! My inventory of flippable bikes is down significantly, as I have sold several in 2009 already.
My last thrift store catch was a month ago. I did get a sweet C/L catch and got screwed out of a second one (called the guy who lives an hour away, agreed to buy the bike, headed out to his house, got there and he told me, "oh I just sold it.").
I am seeing more garage sales. Usually around here, there would not be any garage sales this time of year. I went to a sad one last weekend, family was selling everything as they are losing their home. Tough, really tough situation.
I have found 20 good bikes in thrift stores in the last year. But nothing in the last month.