From haggling to reselling, the manager of Room Service Vintage offers her best vintage-shopping tips.
By Alexis Green, Illustration by Madison Weakley
With its walls adorned in everything from a vintage Bonnie and Clyde poster to African masks, walking through Room Service Vintage feels like a trip down memory lane. Since 1981, the boutique has worked to provide shoppers with new finds that store vendors scour the country for.
Nestled among these trinkets is Lori Goodpasture, who found a love for vintage while renovating her home. What started as a side hustle at city-wide garage sales eventually landed her at Room Service, where she’s held the position of manager for the past decade.
Shopping vintage stores—especially one like Room Service, which features an abundance of home-décor items, clothing and curios—can be intimidating, but Goodpasture explains it should not be an overwhelming experience, but a fun one. Little treasures of the past can provide beautiful additions to homes—if you know where to start. Goodpasture shares her tips for making sure your vintage shopping experience goes smoothly and that you score some exceptional treasures.
DON’T GO OVERBOARD.
“Stuff comes in here every day that I envy people for, but you can appreciate stuff without owning it. Find those pieces that speak to you as you walk through the store. You don’t need to own a whole shelf of stuff; you just need that piece that stands out on that shelf.”
WHEN HAGGLING, BE CONSIDERATE.
“It never hurts to ask, but be OK if they say no. Also, it’s asking, so there’s a big difference between when people are like, ‘I’ll give you,’ as opposed to saying, ‘Is there any way you can do a little better on this?’ Those are the words you say. Be nice to us. We are not evil or mean. We just either can or can’t [change the price].”
FIND BEAUTY IN IMPERFECTIONS.
“Stuff is going to have flaws. It’s going to have a nick or a drink ring. Managing your expectations is a huge part of whether or not vintage is for you because things do have issues. It all goes back to wanting things to be perfect or flawless, and it’s just not, but that gives it character.”
CASH IN ON PURCHASE REGRETS.
“Everything is ‘no returns’ here, and most stores are like that. One of the things we find that people have a hard time with is that an item is yours to deal with if it doesn’t work. Our stuff is so cheap that most people who are upset they can’t bring it back end up selling it for more online than what they paid in here. You can always sell it and make some money.”
DON’T WALK AWAY FROM A ONE-OF-A-KIND PIECE.
“This isn’t mass-produced, so the odds of us having [a piece] again immediately are slim. Be patient and the perfect piece will come along, but if you see something you like, buy it because it may be gone tomorrow. Also, vocalize with us what you are looking at. Communication is key in these stores because people will walk up right behind you [and take something you want]. We do holds, and if someone is walking around the store looking at something, we’ll take the tag off of that item.”