It’s that time of year when award shows are in full swing, full bling, full-on vogue. And while I must admit to enjoying a good Oscar acceptance speech, today’s Budget Vogue is focused on those unsung heroes who really deserve gold statuettes, paparazzi attention and gift bags worth more than a car: Superstar Thrift Shop Workers.

Susan Dromey Heeter's Budget Vogue column sig

“Workers” is too dull a word for those who create environments of secondhand glory. So, here at my Budget Vogue desk, I refer to those who sort, organize, toss, label and price as TSRers, or Thrift Shop Royalty.

These are the true heroes who never seem to stop, never seem to pause and who truly deserve Vanity Fair-style galas, red carpets and dazzle up the wazoo.

If I had my way, TSRers would have their own parking spaces EVERYWHERE and catered lunches every day.

They would be driven to and from their places of employment by chauffeurs who would ask, “Is it too warm in here for you? Would you like an herbal tea before your massage? Is there enough ice for your drink?”

TSRers would stretch out in the back of their Cadillac Escalades and bask in jobs well done, recalling the endless numbers of pockets gone through, bags emptied, shoes paired.

As a Budget Vogue fashionista, I’m around many a TSRer and I watch what they do, how hard they work, how rarely they seem to stop. I witness them interact with customers who haggle, customers who can be rude, customers who are not always their best selves.

I truly hope I am not among those heathens who lack respect for the TSRers.

I like to bring my favorite TSRers homemade popcorn on occasion, and while it’s not a facial or four-course meal, it is a token of my appreciation.

So, today, dear Budget Voguers, perhaps there is a TSRer you know and love who could use as much adulation as an Oscar nominee, as much adoration as a Nicole Kidman or George Clooney. Perhaps nominate her or him for a Best Sorter of Goods or a Best Deal Provider.

Perhaps provide a copy of this column as a reminder that their work does not go unnoticed — and include a box of Godivas.

(And if you’re reading this in Canada, perhaps you could even encourage Prince Harry and Megan Markle to donate some of their spare time to your local thrift emporium. Megan and Harry would be uber TSRRers: Thrift Shop Royalty Royals.)

Finally, to all of you TSRers: We like you. We really, really like you. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts as well as from those bags we bring for you to sort. And we promise to treat you even better during this awards season.

Susan Dromey Heeter writes and teaches on the Seacoast. Contact her at

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