A Guide to Scoring at Crossroads Trading Company

As a former employee of Crossroads Trading Company, many of my favorite wardrobe items have been scooped up at one location or another in the Bay Area. Though I have remained a faithful fan, it's hard to ignore the negative rap these stores often have, especially on yelp. I thought I'd share some Crossroads tips I've learned while in pursuit of a glam closet on a grunge budget.

1. Go often. Scoring at Crossroads is similar to successful thrift shopping, but with a more constant influx of new and new-to-you merchandise. Of course, the employees working at the receiving counter on any given day are likely to scoop up the choicest items as they come in. It's totally their due, they work hard and earn that shit! But to find the best stuff that trickles through their ringed fingers, you have to go earlier on in the day, and you have to visit regularly. When I worked nearby and could breeze through the store multiple times a week on my lunch break, I was much, much more likely to find high end items in good condition and at even greater savings.
2. Keep an open mind. Often times, going in with a specific item of clothing in mind will leave you disappointed. Again, like thrift shopping, it helps to have a general wishlist in the back of your mind, but your eyes wide open. When visiting Los Angeles, I was super excited to visit their Crossroads store, but on that one trip I left empty-handed. But in contrast, I've definitely had unique golden moments in Crossroads, like two years ago when I was desperate to add colored denim to my closet. One day I came across two different colored pairs of Kill City jeans, both in my size, for $24 each. Thank you anonymous previous owner, since you were over the trend, I am more than happy to take over!
3. Know the zones. Items with a blue printed price-label indicate brand-new clothing and accessories selected by the corporate buyers, they are not used items brought into the store by the buyers. The blue tag clothing zone is generally near the front door, so they're the items you usually see first. The used/bought in items makes up the rest of the store, with the simple, small white tags. The half-off rack is worth a good looking over as well. Items at Crossroads are not marked down because of damage, but because they have been in the store for more than a few weeks, overlooked or unsold.

1. Try to be patient and considerate.  Honestly, the employees do not have as much freedom as some other stores under corporate structures. They cannot offer discounts and can't do you favors. They can't take in jewelry or brand spanking new items without a receipt. They might not even be able to go to the bathroom until a manager approves it. Try to not get upset at the buyers. I know that some of the stuff in the racks seems inexplicably out of style or worn, but with a store full of employees, it's probably not their fault.  
2. Treat your clothes with care. Someday, you might want to trade or sell it! And for everyone's sake, wash that stuff first! You don't even want to know the horror stories those buyers have.
3. "Pilling" is a term that refers to the unsightly little balls that can crop up on worn fabrics.They do not like that stuff! Consider lightly shaving pilled areas with a disposable razor before bringing in an otherwise okay item to trade.
4. Know the season and the store's needs. The smaller the shop, the tighter the inventory must be kept. Crossroads tends to buy seasonally, so don't expect to take your April tax return and shop for a winter parka for next season. If the store's racks are bulging with stock, the buyers will be more picky with their work. If there's been a busy weekend and the shelves are bare, buyers will have the added incentive of bulking up the store's inventory.