Modesto’s Mad Monk Vintage: A CD and DVD collector’s slice of paradise

As the rain hammered down this past gray February weekend, I made my quarterly pilgrimage to Modesto for a much-needed thrifting trip out of town. I didn’t find much at Goodwill, but I had a blast yet again perusing the endless aisles at the Mad Monk. 

I first came across Mad Monk when I lived in south Berkeley, which actually had Mad Monk, Rasputin, and Anastasia Vintage as separate storefronts — all mere blocks away from my airy studio apartment. (Had being the operative word here…Mad Monk shut down in Berkeley.) The Central Valley’s Mad Monk store in Modesto combines all three, so it’s heaven if you love vintage books, movies, CDs, and clothes. 

Rows of DVD shelves

I first spotted Modesto’s Mad Monk while visiting Goodwill with my dad during a previous thrifting trip in Modesto. It’s about a mile down from the Vintage Commons strip mall on Sisk Road, nestled in an isolated location next to a La-Z-Boy showroom by Route 99. The hours are also a bit odd, as the store is only open Wednesday to Saturday 11 AM to 7 PM and Sunday 12 PM to 6:30 PM. Still, if you’re ever in the area during those hours, it’s definitely worth checking out. 

What you can find at Mad Monk in Modesto

Fiction and literature

Since I live in a somewhat small town in the Central Valley, trips to Modesto always feel like trips to a big city, albeit one that’s impacted by suburban sprawl. This Mad Monk store definitely feels like it belongs in a big city, though. It’s HUGE, and two hours in during the first time I visited it, I barely got through a third of the space. It’s roughly the size of a standard Target, but half of the store is clothes, an eighth is books, and three-eighths is CDs and DVDs. Since I’ve been trying to declutter my clothes and indoor plants, I’ve been more focused on shopping for media here.

Besides being home to a massive selection of media, it also touts amazing prices. Unless they’re pre-curated, most used hardbacks are $2, paperbacks $1, DVDs $1, Blu-Rays $2, CDs $1, cassettes 50 cents, and clothes $2. Even the pre-curated stuff isn’t very pricey — I’d compare it to standard eBay prices for used media.

Clothes sign

One tiny qualm I have with the store is that most areas are free-for-all without much organization beyond broad genres. But if you have the patience to sift through the store, you can find really unexpected treasures. It’s rad to see such a broad range of people meandering the store, from elder millennial dads in metal band tees and cargo jorts to immaculately lip-glossed teens in trendy puffy sleeved crop tops. Art…it brings people together!

My latest haul at Mad Monk in Modesto

50 cent tape aisle

While I couldn’t find too many books this time around, I had wonderful luck picking out CD and cassette titles at Mad Monk this weekend!

  • Cassette tapes: Reba, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, swing bands, the Four Weddings and a Funeral OST, the Titanic OST, and more
  • DVDs: Guys and DollsMy Fair Lady, and the entire first season of HBO’s Six Feet Under 
  • CDs: Two John Prine albums and 1 Joni Mitchell album (yes, of none other than Blue
  • Books: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton 

John Prine

I honestly can’t wait for my next trip to Mad Monk. I always have such a great time living out (reliving?) my vintage hipster millennial fever dream here. What a lovely hidden gem in the Central Valley!

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