Second-Hand Stores Reveal the Strangest Thrift Store Finds

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My very first job was at a thrift store. It was…interesting, to say the least. Nearly every day, you’d find something surprising in the donation box. Sometimes it was a priceless item that had been donated by someone who clearly had no idea of its value. More often, though, it was something so weird and/or gross that you couldn’t believe anyone had ever bought it in the first place. Still, I’ll never forget the time I found three N64 controllers on the floor for 3 bucks apiece. You better believe I hid those in the back so I could buy them at the end of my shift.

A recent AskReddit thread asked people who have worked at thrift stores to share the strangest objects ever found in the donation box. I knew that going into the thread that there would be some amazing answers, but I don’t think I could have guessed just how amazing they would be. Here are some of my favorites.

Who donated Uncle Bob?

I was a receiving and loading lead at a thrift store for a few years. We had this guy that cleaned out storage units for a living and then he’d dump whatever he couldn’t flip with us for a tax slip. He pulls up and we’re going through it all. Pretty nice stuff, looked like it was an estate sale. We get it all unloaded and then we start snooping through to see what needs to get brought to where and we find this green glass vase filled with sand. I started pouring the sand out into the trash so we could figure if the vase was worth using “That’s not sand” Somehow we ended up with an unmarked, full urn.I3esitos

Check out my mixtape.

Every month and a half or so, a man would come by right before we closed and would donate a single blank cd. Every single time. My coworkers and I would always put it in and see if anything was on it. There never was.sadwaves


When I was about 16, I worked at Goodwill for about 6 months. There was this old homeless man who used to try and sneak inside to sleep and stuff like that. Every day, he’d get kicked out pretty quick by one of my female coworkers. After about a month of working there with her, the homeless man came up to the counter she was working at, gave her a Target bag filled with rocks, and left. We open the bag and find a doll underneath about a layer of rocks. It was so friggin creepy. The doll looked exactly like her. We flipped it over and the back had her FULL NAME sewn into it. She quit a couple days later because she was worried about that homeless man coming back to the store.McNifficence

“The extra stuff.”

A grinder with weed still in it. Also, somehow a suitcase full of dildos made it onto the floor and was brought to our attention by an elderly lady who was wanting to purchase the suitcase but didn’t want “the extra stuff inside.”ashbertollini

Here’s a long list.

Someone donated an entire trash bag full of dirty diapers. Sex toys. Lots of sex toys. Some older, and more naive, workers actually priced them and put them in the sales floor. An old electronic chessboard that was somehow worth $2000+ Some rich old lady came in and donated a ziplock bag full of gold and platinum jewelry — it was real. Huge Beanie Baby collections. Guess someone finally figured out after 20 years that they weren’t a solid investment. Brother-son

What a pair!

I worked in donations. In the same day, we got a pickled baby tiger shark and a coin purse made from a kangaroo scrotum.2nm_punisher

Dear diary…

Used journals… Highlights include someone recounting the time they bit someone, and a tale of an explosive funeral. They make for a good read, but why wouldn’t you throw them out?NoReach9

Alas, poor Billy. I knew him well.

A human skull. We named him Billy. Of course the police were called and they came and picked him up.tootsmcguire


I was sorting out some donated items and come across an unusual set of tools. Through some research, we discovered that it was a full transorbital lobotomy toolset. It got donated to a local university for display. Apparently, a vintage set in good condition can sell for around $1,000.JimmyL2014

Two very different objects.

A high school diploma still in its leather case. We were selling it for $1.39. Also a porn movie inside a Clifford the Big Red Dog DVD case.Marieisbestsquid


I did find a shirt with a huge picture of a dead fly on it.optimists_unite

So gross!

Dirty laundry. It happened so often that we had to wear gloves to go through clothing. Washed everything at least once to be safe. Who gets done wearing their underwear and is like, meh I’ll donate it and not wash it?!?NixonGottaRawDeal

That is literally worth thousands.

I once found a signed first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, strange in why would anyone give it away!? Managed to buy it for 50p and it’s honestly my prized possession today.MWil2000

A breakup gone bad.

My manager said she came to the shop once and there were bin bags waiting at the front of the store. It was obvious to her going through the bag that a guy had just tipped all of his (ex-)girlfriend’s possessions into bin bags and had donated them to us. All of her possessions. Vibrators included.OrangeBiologist


I was doing community service at a Goodwill. A Vietnamese guy pulls up drops off a couple of trash bags and dips. We start looking through it all and I find a full 90-ct bottle of 10 mg oxycodone pills.j0hnnysketch

One man’s trash…

Found a cup shaped like a man with a giant erect penis. Snickered at it and pointed it out to my coworkers while we were clocking out. My manager freaked out and took it off the shelf. I feel bad that I got penis man cup taken off the market. I’m sure somebody would have treasured him.Grave_diggress

Oops indeed.

I was 16 and in charge of going through donations, pricing them, and putting them out for sale. I came across something I didn’t recognize so I did what I always did and slapped $0.25 on it and put it out. A few hours later, a lady brought it back to my boss in the donation room and told her we shouldn’t be selling crack pipes. Oops.copperboomm

This is so wholesome.

I came across a 1906 sewing machine made in my hometown in the UK in a thrift store in my now hometown 2000 miles away. It’s not strange or weird but was kind of thrilling to find a remnant of another time from my homeland in my now adopted country.fsanotherone

Uh, gross.

Not a worker, but at the local Salvation Army, I opened a drawer and found a used tampon.QuantemCipher

A piece of history.

People used to illegally dump in front of the local Salvation Army, and one time I found an antique vibrator from the 1950s. It was in the box and everything. Not sure what happened to it but they were selling on eBay for $1000 last I checked.redheaded999

Cheers to that!

My boyfriend volunteered at a local thrift shop for a little while. One day he was going through donation boxes and found a peculiar ceramic mission with liquid in it. After a little research, it turned out to be 30-year-old Christian Brothers brandy. Only 100 bottles were made in celebration for their anniversary. Since the thrift store can’t sell liquor, he was able to snag it. The brandy was soooo gooood.eesaray

Hey, little buddy!

Finally, my time has come. So many weird donations that I won’t even get into because y’all won’t believe me but the strangest time was when a young man donated a bag of clothes and then a small gecko hops out. We were honestly all lost at what to do about the little guy until the donor swings back about 1 hour later looking kinda frantic asking if we had seen his lizard. We kindly showed him where it took up residence under the porch used for smoking and we never saw either of them again.GeniusToker

What a great find!

I didn’t work at a thrift store, but one of my Dad’s friends did. One day a large instrument case came in. Inside of it was a Breedlove Black Magic acoustic bass guitar which, when the thing was released, retailed for over a grand. We snagged the thing for a cool $300.JoakimSpinglefarb

Pretty sure you met Anastasia.

One day a Russian lady came in with about 6 gorgeous evening gowns. She kept saying to us that she’d had them since she was young, when she lived in Russia, that they were high-end/designer dresses (we couldn’t read the tag). From my own knowledge of sewing/dressmaking, I can tell you these things were exquisite. I was working with the books, but I managed to get a good look at them and the seams were breathtakingly neat. Hand-embellished with beads, crystals, hand-embroidered details on some, they’d clearly been taken well care of too as the colors weren’t faded or discolored, and she’d even brought them to the shop in garment bags. She said she’d brought them in because she was well past wearing them (I think she was in her 60s), they certainly wouldn’t fit her, and she wanted some young woman to get to “experience the joy of wearing them.” These dresses were flipping GORGEOUS, y’all.apkmIRE


My mom used to work for Goodwill and she’s found rather neat items. One time she found $5,000 in someone’s old jeans. She was kind enough to return it to its rightful owner by looking into who donated the items.madmarvs

That’s the bottom line!

I worked at Goodwill at donations and maybe the most unique thing I found was a framed photo autographed by Stone Cold Steve Austin.senpai_rodriguez

Very cool!

I found a love letter in a coat pocket from the late ’80s. That was cool.bunnyxjam

This is the kind of prank I would play.

I worked at Goodwill for a short time. One of my fellow employees was telling me about how someone donated a piece of wood (or I should say LEFT a piece of wood). As a joke, she put a price tag on it for $10,000 and said it was a piece from Noah’s Ark. Strangely enough, someone seriously believed it and wanted to buy it. Needless to say, management wasn’t happy and quickly removed it and threw it away._Twas_Ere_

Well, that’s horrifying.

I worked at a new and used book store in Memphis. Sometimes people would just donate loads of books. A Bible came in one day which looked like it was a few hundred years old. An expert looked at it and turned out it was bound in human skin. Bookstore donated it to the library.RobBoblobula

Quite the collection!

I managed one for three years: Paddle boat Aquarium WITH WATER AND FISH IN IT 100s of pounds of birdseed. 1000s of packets of assorted flower and vegetable seeds. 365 copies of “Return from Witch Mountain.”quitepossiblylying Share this with someone who loves thrifting!