“Our readers must often have observed in some by-street, in a poor neighborhood, a small dirty shop, exposing for sale the most extraordinary and confused jumble of old, worn-out, wretched articles, that can well be imagined. Our wonder at their ever having been bought is only to be equaled by our astonishment at the idea of their ever being sold again. On a board, at the side of the door, are placed about twenty books – all odd volumes; and as many wine-glasses – all different patterns; several locks, an old earthenware pan, full of rusty keys; two or three gaudy chimney-ornaments – cracked, of course; the remains of a lustre, without any drops; a round frame like a capital O, which has once held a mirror; a flute, complete with the exception of the middle joint; a pair of curling-irons; and a tinder-box. In front of the shop-window are ranged some half-dozen high-backed chairs, with spinal complaints and wasted legs; a corner cupboard; two or three very dark mahagony tables .... an unframed portrait of some lady who flourished about the beginning of the thirteenth century, by an artist who never flourished at all; ... fenders and street-door knockers, fire-irons, wearing apparel and bedding, a hall-lamp, and a room-door. ”
As any habitué of thrift shops will recognize, some things never change.