Man walks into thrift store, leaves $35,000 richer

Feb 18, 2015 at 12:50 p.m. ET

Love hunting for bargains at thrift stores but are the butt of your friends' jokes for your frugal habit? One man from Phoenix proves gems can sometimes be found among the rubble.

If you really like shopping, and I mean actually derive pleasure from the capitalist's version of hunting and gathering, then you know there is nothing quite as thrilling as finding a fantastic accessory or article of clothing at a thrift shop like Goodwill. But let's be honest: We have to sift through quite a few homemade Annie costumes to get our hands on a long-forgotten Gucci bracelet. But that just makes the occasional find even more special.

Zach Norris from Phoenix is a man after our own materialistic hearts. Even though Norris collects watches, his sole reason for recently visiting a Goodwill store was to buy a golf pull cart. And then his eye wandered for a second and landed right on a treasure: a rare 1959 Jaeger-LeCoultre diving watch. But the poor person who donated the watch clearly had no idea of its value, and the price tag on the coveted accessory was a measly $6.

I'm pretty sure Norris forgot all about his golf cart, because he says he snatched the watch right up and was so afraid of losing it to another buyer that he wanted to hold it in his hand while the clerk scanned it. Norris admits the watch doesn't look fancy and that you'd have to know what it was to determine its worth.

But here's the crazy reality: There were only 900 of these watches ever made. And after Norris placed it on Hodinkee, a watch collector's website, a fellow collector made him an offer he couldn't refuse: $35,000 plus a $4,000 Omega Speedmaster watch.

So what do you think he's going to do with his small, unexpected fortune? The sweetest thing, believe it or not. After donating a portion of the funds to Goodwill (good man), he and his fiancée are finally going to start planning their wedding.

So the only sad part of this story is that our shopping soul mate is taken.

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