A Week in the Second-Hand Shoppe
As anyone who has read my articles before knows, I spend a fair amount of my time digging through wearables looking for a bargain. It occurred to me that rather than simply looking for cheaper alternatives to clothing articles I wanted, I could spend some of my time in the Second-Hand Shoppe in Neopia Central. It sits in the Neopian Plaza, between the modern Defenders HQ and the Welcome Center, oft overlooked by those seeking only to go to the Kadoatery or the Wishing Well. It’s rather unassuming - it is, after all, modeled after a cardboard box. But I was sure it had something to offer me, both in terms of knowledge and cheap (read: free) wearables. So I decided I would devote a week of my time to scouring the Second-Hand Shoppe for items of interest.
Day One: Dung
Before even beginning my journey into the Shoppe, I knew it would be kind of me to contribute. After several hours of playing Key Quest, I had a few backgrounds that were swiftly and surely donated (they were duplicates anyway). With a light heart, I set off toward the Second-Hand Shoppe, ready to do my best to snag choice items quickly - all the Key Quest had allowed me to practice my clicking, as the screen before minigames suggests as an option for killing time. I was less joyful when I entered the store - though I had expected it, I had not anticipated the degree to which Piles of Dung are a problem in the Shoppe. Dung was the only thing there, and its scent filled the store, my nose, and saturated every particle of the few pieces of clothing that would ever pass through its walls, as I would later learn. In the meantime, though, I put it out of my mind. The Shoppe, surprisingly, has a high turnover rate considering how much of the store is dung. I checked back not long after to find several non-dung items, though most were gone when I attempted to get them. I was tickled to discover, too, that many of the nicer items were donated by famous Neopians - Jerdana, Vanity, Princess Amira, Prince Jazan, and Lucie were all among the sources of the clothing I sought. By the end of the day, and after accidentally clicking on several unwanted pieces of dung that I, regrettably, donated back to the store, I left clutching a Checkered Flag and Torn White Gym Socks, which not-so-pleasantly reminded me of the Shoppe I had just left.
Day Two: Mostly More Dung
Apprehensive after the results of day one, I journeyed again into the Neopian Plaza to see what was in store for me today. As soon as I entered, the same awful smell filled my nose. I wasn’t looking forward to this. Once my eyes adjusted a bit, though, I could see that it wasn’t quite as bad as I’d thought. The dung smell seemed to be embedded in the walls, because the store wasn’t even full. Only three aisles of clothing greeted me today, rather than the usual four. Of course, of these three aisles, all but one item was a Pile of Dung, but that’s hardly surprising by this point. It’s nice, on occasion, to see the monotony broken up by an Ultra Fashionable Potato Sack. At least, that’s what I’ll tell myself to get through the day. After spending about an hour in the shop, it didn’t appear that anything that wasn’t dung was going to come my way. I left in peace, desperate to go back to my Neohome for a long bath.
Day Three: "Maybe there are dung collectors..."
When I first entered the shop on day three, my jaw nearly hit the floor. There was only one single pile of dung in the entire Shoppe (of course, it was also the only item there, but that’s beside the point). I spent a few short minutes there and it vanished, scooped up by some anonymous person with an apparent desire for dung. I’d heard rumors before in my life that there were people who wanted dung, who collected dung, but I’d laughed. If they’d spent even a minute anywhere in the immediate vicinity of the Second-Hand Shoppe, they would understand - it’s a smell that just doesn’t quit. Why would you want that near you? But I guess they exist, because the shop was cleared not only of dung, for once, but of everything else as well. After waiting for some time, it appeared that my search was once again not going to be fruitful, and I turned and left with little but confusion on my mind.
Day Four: Missing
Today I was definitely not on top of my game. I allowed a great many items I dearly desired to slip through my fingertips. First of these was a Sketch Painted Background. The Sketch Painted Background was a real shame to miss - I didn’t already own one, but I do own several wearable items that would have looked lovely with it. This was shortly followed by a Bear, which I had not known had been made wearable until day four of this challenge. Other items missed today included a Grassy Meadow Background, a Black Jewelled Collar, a Rubbish Dump Background, Heart Shaped Sunglasses, a Faerie Painted Background, , a Pink Sun Hat and a Basic White Shirt. Yes, it was definitely a bad day. Items that I did manage to take into my possession today were a Courgette Field Background that I didn’t really want, in the end (it was promptly donated back to the shop, which I’m sure was pleased to receive something other than dung) and a Blue Fishing Hat. It wasn’t a total loss, but it didn’t go especially well.
Day Five: No One Wants Your Veiled Autumn Hats
Today I entered the shop anticipating dung, as I learned I must, but instead was floored to see a wall-to-wall selection of Veiled Autumn Hats. Make no mistake, I was only barely more excited for these than I was for the dung. The one benefit of these hats over Piles of Dung is that these smell far better. That said, I already own a Veiled Autumn Hat, and I will be the first to say they don’t look all that much nicer on my pets than they do in the preview picture. I cannot think of a single species of pet that the Veiled Autumn Hat flatters, as far as my personal fashion sense is concerned. Rolling my eyes the entire time, I refreshed until other items came into view, but as soon as the Shoppe began to clear of the dreaded Veiled Autumn Hats, the equally dreaded Ghostkerscarves began to pour in. Hideous. I shielded my eyes as I left. Eventually I was able to snag both a Novelty Glasses (highly amusing) and a Doodle Graphing Paper Background, neither of which were a part of my collection before I started.
Day Six: Best day of the week
Dung is apparently the smell of success. Well, no, that might be too broad a statement, but I might be growing rather used to the smell, and I have won quite a bit from the Shoppe today. By far my favorite item today is a Stately Tree Foreground, donated by Prince Jazan. It’s one of the prettier wearables on the site, in my opinion, and one I did not already have. I was also pleased to get a Grassy Meadow Background to replace one I gave away when transferring a pet a long time ago, and because it’s one of the things I missed on day four. I also obtained a Jewelled Collar, a Skeith Hair Stylist Comb (species specific, though not a species I own), a Khaki Skirt, and all while the shelves were full of nothing else but Piles of Dung.
Day Seven: The End
Today I saw something that shook me to my very core. I will not be going back to the Second-Hand Shoppe, for reasons far greater than any silly article. I couldn’t go back again if I wanted to. Brace yourselves: the Second-Hand Shoppe is haunted. Though, of course, the store was mainly filled with dung again, one place in the store had a Cheese Shop Background on display which I promptly claimed. When I went back to look, though, I was horrified to discover that my nice new background had been donated by Hubrid. While this on its own would normally not be enough to make me cringe - Hubrid was a citizen of my home region, the Haunted Woods - the observant reader will note, as I did, that Hubrid Nox, in fact, was killed by Xandra during the Faeries' Ruin plot not long ago. There is no Hubrid left in Neopia to donate backgrounds to the budget-challenged citizens of Neopia, or so I thought. But somehow, the items are still pouring in, and I am no longer interested in browsing a shop in which stock is donated by those who are no longer living. Perhaps I scare too easily, but the risk of ghosts is far too great to justify spending any more time in a store populated mainly by Piles of Dung, Ghostkerscarves, Veiled Autumn Hats, and Ultra Fashionable Potato Sacks.
Search the Neopian Times
Occasionally a passing guard or security drone would stroll by and break the silence, but nothing else did – nothing, that is, save for three dark-cloaked figures darting through the bright halls.