Things come to thrift stores in Bluefields compressed into very large bales; and during my years of haunting these stores there, most everything I've found has come with a tag from another thrift store...all from the United States.
Stores of this ilk have been my metier in the U.S. for decades, with thrift store visits being more like treasure hunts than shopping. And I've learned over the years that items in thrift stores have a 'shelf life:'
when first presented an item has one price; and two weeks (or more) later it has a lower price; and two weeks (or more) later it has an even lower price. Then it just simply disappears.
There must be some central place where the unsold items go. I never really thought about it until shopping in Bluefields, but I've learned that when most things in a thrift store in the U.S. don't sell, they end up in another country. And sometimes that country is Nicaragua and some of what ends up in Nicaragua goes to Bluefields.
Serendipity for me and T.S. Eliot.
Again, I never really thought about where unsold thrift store stuff goes and won't do any research; but it all seems to be about recycling and the market. I've benefited from the arrival in Bluefields of unsold stuff from Idaho - or wherever. An extant tag might read 'Salvation Army' but I've never seen one that reads 'Salvation Army of Boise Idaho.'
Sheets and towels and T-shirts and socks and plates and other useful items have all made their way from U.S. to False Bluff where they continue to give good service.
And then there was T.S. Eliot sitting in the window of a Bluefields thrift store. Nearly thirty inches from ear to toe, to say the least he's eye catching. That might be the reason nobody in the U.S. wanted him, since it's apparent he sat through numerous price reductions before being compressed. And his looks might also be why nobody in Bluefields seemed to want him either.
Whatever it might have been at his beginning, his name now is T.S. Eliot - Thrift Store Eliot rather than Thomas Stearns Eliot - and his journey is poetic in its own way.
Compressed, again, but this time into my suitcase, he's back in the U.S. - still looking a bit surprised about it all.
" Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
Thomas Stearns Eliot