UNIQUE thrift store

People skip class to go. Others say they went before anyone else did.

No, this isn’t Chipotle. It’s Unique. The massive store located in Merrifield is a mecca for serious thrifters, but students are increasingly going to find their own clothes.

However, the store still elicits mixed reactions because of varying responses to buying secondhand clothes.

Talk of Unique has increased in recent years, especially with the new emphasis on authenticity in the fashion world. It is a great source for truly distressed articles, flannel shirts and vintage styles. Unique is a positive treasure trove for those looking for unusual pieces.

“I’d much rather buy something used and unique,” senior Hannah Greene said. “[But] if you’re looking for something you’ll never find it.”

However, it goes without saying that there is a lot of stuff, much of which is undesirable, to sift through.

Going to Unique is no small endeavor. You should expect to spend at least two hours inside the warehouse-like store, and emerge tired. Remember, Unique is the Walmart of thrift stores and not the Lord & Taylor.

As such, you can expect incredible value.

Clothes come at a fraction of their original prices. Expect to spend about four dollars on a shirt, five to seven on a sweater and about the same for pants or shoes. Some articles drop to three dollars or lower.

Plus, on Mondays, everything is 25 percent off. Other days sport 50 percent markdowns on specific types of articles, like women’s shoes or handbags. Beware of going on days when everything is half off. The crowds get excessive and the parking lot and aisles teem with people.

Both the parking lot and the aisles teem with people and it can become an entirely unpleasant experience.

The store, which can already be overstimulating, descends into anarchy.

“It was like chaos,” sophomore Jianna Torre said. “It was nuts.”

However, on a normal day, the strong organization makes it easy to navigate.

The reality of the thrift store, too, is the clientele. Unique is not a place to go alone or at night. Its reputation and the reality of being a secondhand store means that it is not a glitzy experience.

That size, which can be overwhelming at times, means that if you look long enough, there will be something for you.