Assistance League

Film crew raids Assistance League Thrift Shop

Just as they do every other Saturday morning at the Assistance League Thrift Shop on Austin Avenue, volunteers opened the store at 10:00 and went about their usual routines: helping and checking out customers, pricing items, arranging displays, and handling whatever else needed to be done. Six ladies were working this Saturday morning in early December—Maggie, Bonnie, Selma, Anne, Flo, and Joanne—a few more than usual to accommodate holiday shopping. The extra hands were sure to make for light work. Or so the ladies thought.

Late that morning, Bonnie looked up from her position at the front desk to notice a young man and woman accumulating a large number of items. She went to the back of the store to let Maggie, the store manager, know. Maggie walked up front to see if she could help the couple with their purchases, which by this time were spilling over the sides of the shopping cart.

The pair explained that they had been eating lunch when they happened to notice the Assistance League Thrift Shop across the way and strolled in to shop. “We need to purchase a whole house,” the woman announced.

“Turns out, they were on location at East View High School in Georgetown filming Pale Blue Dot, a Paramount Production starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Garner, and they were looking for vintage items to stage several different rooms,” says Maggie.

“They took over the store in a shopping frenzy. They were everywhere! They knew exactly what they were after and made very fast decisions,” says Assistance League President Joanne Harrah, who wasn’t originally scheduled to work that day but happened to drop by the shop that morning. “Every purchase was very deliberate, with the final decisions based on how the item would look on film. For instance, they didn’t buy a set of white dishes because they were too light and wouldn’t show up well on film.” The couple, according to Joanne, “bought living room, kitchen, and bedroom items, a sofa, pillows, pictures, furniture, a Crock-Pot, and a lot of decorative things. They also bought vintage games and cowboy clothes.”

The shopping duo filled baskets—then boxes—before moving to the unpriced items in the back of the store. They didn’t bat an eye at the cost of anything. “‘We’ll take that, we want those, that will work,” the woman repeated like clockwork,’” says Maggie. “By the time they left three hours later, they had over eight hundred dollars’ worth of things, which isn’t easy to do in a thrift shop! They said a truck would be by to pick up the furniture and the half dozen or so boxes before we closed for the day, and sure enough it showed up a little before 4 p.m. The driver even purchased several decorative angels for his wife.”

“We were all so caught up in the moment that, when they left, we just kind of looked at each other and had to ask ourselves, ‘What just happened?’” says Maggie. “It was a Wow! moment for all of us!” After the volunteers caught their breath, “we started calling our fellow volunteers to share the news,” Maggie recalls. “They were as excited as we were and wished they had been there!”

The movie isn’t expected to be released for at least a year, but the Assistance League volunteers are already planning to watch Pale Blue Dot together when it comes out. They can’t wait to try to identify “their” items and see them in action on the big screen.

The Assistance League of Georgetown Area is a philanthropic, nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to helping those in need within our community.

“Our goal is to make as much money as we can in order to clothe and provide books for 1,500 school children each year through Operation School Bell.”

—Joanne Harrah, Georgetown Assistance League President

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