SIOUX CITY | Perusing a packed rack of slightly used sweatshirts, Jacki Peters began noticing a trend.
"This is the third or fourth 'World's Greatest Grandpa' shirt I've seen," the Morningside College junior said. "And this is probably the fourth or fifth Kansas City Chiefs sweatshirt as well."
"I guess a lot of grandparents are doing some early spring cleaning," Peters' friend and fellow Morningside student Renee Van Beaumont interjected.
Admitted thrift store aficionados, Peters and Van Beaumont love to find hidden treasures among the stacks of second-hand goods. The girls are devoting their afternoon shopping at their spot for weird finds: The Bargain Center Thrift Shop.
"We can spend hours going here," Peters said, darting from aisles featuring faux fur coats to tables lined with costume jewelry. "You never know what you'll find next."
Laughing as she models a synthetic coat featuring a furry hood, Van Beaumont said the best strategy for thrift store shopping is to go in with no agenda.
"If you go in looking for one particular item, you'll never find it," she said. "If you're going in blind, you'll suddenly see things you'd never expect to see in a thrift store."
While both Van Beaumont and Peters admit second-hand goods come in handy when you're a college student on a limited budget. But there's also plenty of quirky fare to be bought out of bargain bins.
"My older brother got me into thrift store shopping," Van Beaumont, an Omaha native, said. "He was into vintage clothing and I couldn't help but notice the cool things he was able to find."
Peters, a Fonda, Iowa native, discovered second hand fashions while shopping for her high school boyfriend.
"One year, our school had an 'opposites' dance where the boys dressed as girls and girls dressed as boys," said. "I was able to find my boyfriend a size-appropriate dress plus some really awesome gold sandals at a thrift store."
So taken with her boyfriend's golden footwear, Peters held onto them for her own prom.
"All of the other girls had expensive shoes while mine cost me a dollar or two," she said, smiling. "I've been a fan ever since."
Apparently, both Peters and Van Beaumont have become thrift store shopping savants to the students they share a suite.
"We share a campus suite with six other girls," Peters said. "Five of them are just as obsessed with thrift store as we are. We're furiously trying to convince number six."
Among the girls' most desired finds: a collection of near 50 crewneck shirts, all adorned with kitschy sayings.
"I found one with a Rainbow Snow (a frozen fruit-flavored beverage sold near Morningside's campus) logo sewn on it," Van Beaumont said, "Since I love Rainbow Snow, I knew I had to get it."
Peters' all-time favorite find was a pizza hat. That is, a hat that looked like a pizza.
"It spoke to my personality, I guess," she admitted.
Equally admired is the girls' growing collection of vintage shot glasses, all denoted faraway places.
"We may not travel and we may not drink," Peters said with a laugh. "Hopefully, our shotglass collection will make people think we're worldlier than we actually are."
Thumbing her way through old DVDs and VHS tapes, Van Beaumont doesn't think her love of thrift stores is an obsession.
Instead, it's a shopaholic's version of a never-ending scavenger hunt.
"You never know what you'll find in a thrift store because the merchandise is always changing," she said. "You may never find everything that you need but you'll always find one thing that will stop you in your tracks."