Dear Goodwill, Are You Getting Too Big For Your Secondhand Britches?

By: Modhomeecteacher Mar 25, 2010

created at: 03/25/2010

Image: Shelly Miller Leer

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Table purchased Saturday at a city wide 1/2 price sale at Goodwill.

In one out of ten posts I usually mention a shopping trip to Goodwill. For me, it's Mecca, one of my favorite places to relax and do some serious creative thinking. I promote you; I laud you on your good works and pure mission, etc. However, the prices on used furniture and furnishings have skyrocketed beyond realistic value. I mean, come on!!!

The true market value on used furniture, excluding valuable antiques and midcentury designer originals, is next to nothing.  Granted, price points are set at whatever the market is willing to pay, a sound retail practice, yet it may be wise to keep an eye on the bigger picture.

The problem is, now listen here Goodwill big shots, people shopping for trendy secondhand pieces will inevitably stop looking for deals in your MDF saturated furniture sections, and people in need of real deals can't afford to pay the kind of prices you're setting. Gradually, your trusty customers will start shopping elsewhere to satisfy their junk addictions or to really furnish their homes.

Salvation Army, for instance, understands they've got a big store full of other people's junk. Not only that, you can point out the junkiness of a piece and they gladly listen and usually come down to what's a realistic secondhand price, not as low as garage sale prices, but close to it.

That's another thing; garage sale season is upon us. You can be sure that, at the end of a long day, garage sale organizers don't want to spend another minute packing up their junk and hauling it up to the Goodwill.

Even on 1/2 price days, it seems that the prices have been set artificially high in order to appear to be a good deal. We're not so enthralled with other people's castoffs that we aren't cognizant of how much money we're spending.

I've always touted Goodwill as the place to find great deals but I've recently found myself listening to others complain about the high prices at their area Goodwills.

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I live in Ontario Canada and have also noticed the prices rising.  It seems really unfair when they've recieved the items for free from generous folk who feel they are donating to a worthwhile cause.  It is supposed to help those of us who cannot afford to buy everything new, however it is turning into another 'industry' based on profit, not helping others.  I am totally dissapointed in Goodwill at this point and likely will be looking for a better place to spend my hard earned money!

I feel it is yet another indicator of how crazy things are becomming in this world of ours, a place that has always been a refuge for others is now just another greed filled corperation.

WOW I am sure glad I dont see this in my Goodwill store.  Although I haven't been shopping for furniture recently so I cannot speak to those prices.  The clothing has remained consistently the same with very minor adjustments.  I just opicked up a pair of New Balance shoes like new for thre standard shoe price for an adult $5.  Jeans have gone up in price but $6.99 is still a steal.  I enjoy my local Goodwill and hope they do not follow in the footprints of those you are speaking of.

I rarely shop at goodwill anymore. When I do walk around at the ridiculous prices they put on stuff. Whenever possible I donate things to local thrift stores. Mainly because I believe someone in Goodwill is lining their pockets with mu donations.

I used to work in Goodwill and yes - retail stores and donation centres employees are mistreated and abused. Lots , if not all, steal regularly. Not only donated goods, but most of all money that people left in purses, coats. etc. Donated good jewelery hardly ever makes it to the store. So this is all true you are noticing and commenting.  Goodwill is a very sad and nasty place to work in. The Chief Operating Officer there is the man who employs his two nieces, lies and abuses employees and it is a culprit in the GW decline. Employees are so scared for their positions they don/t dare to speak openly - they get fired immediately and for the wrong reasons. Such is the climate of this horrible, abusive sweatshop.

Goodwills prices are ridiculous! I have seen nike shoes there that were a little worn for $49.99, belts for $30, purses with wear and cracks for $30-$50, and even a pair of shoes I donated to them which I paid $13 for they resold them for $20. Its crazy...let's just say me and a lot of my friends and family don't shop there anymore.
Goodwills prices are ridiculous! I have seen nike shoes there that were a little worn for $49.99, belts for $30, purses with wear and cracks for $30-$50, and even a pair of shoes I donated to them which I paid $13 for they resold them for $20. Its crazy...let's just say me and a lot of my friends and family don't shop there anymore.

I have to correct the poster who said "the employees at the back take all the good stuff and over price things"

#1. Employees are not allowed to purchase on days they are working

#2 There are set prices (a price list) that employees MUST go buy and it is checked by the managers- they double prices of namebrands

#3. The employees are treated like crap- they work them to the bone for nothing (vry little$)

 

 

Omg, I'm a thrifter and the goodwill is terrible compared to others, Saunt Paul's, Thrift Town in Cal, the prices are high. Ten dollars for a used pair of shoes, when I can can a pair for three at other places. now, I must admit, the Goodwill had great purses and a better selection than most. I only buty purses there now, I am not paying for a seven dollar shirt when I can get a 2 dollar one elsewhere. 

 

The Goodwill is sad, the workers take all the good stuff and you are lucky if you spot a brand name they looked over. They hiked the prices up overnight and think people can't see the different. I mean the cause is great but ppl who shop there can't usually afford or want to save. They don't go there to shop at Abercrombie and Fitch or Dulce and Gabanna.

 

Also if you want expensive things , go to a goodwill in the suburbs, but seriously I can go to Desert Industries and buy a three dollar purse.  I will not donate, it has always been jhelping out my fellow small bussiness buddies and nieghborhood thrift stores.

Omg, I'm a thrifter and the goodwill is terrible compared to others, Saunt Paul's, Thrift Town in Cal, the prices are high. Ten dollars for a used pair of shoes, when I can can a pair for three at other places. now, I must admit, the Goodwill had great purses and a better selection than most. I only buty purses there now, I am not paying for a seven dollar shirt when I can get a 2 dollar one elsewhere. 

 

The Goodwill is sad, the workers take all the good stuff and you are lucky if you spot a brand name they looked over. They hiked the prices up overnight and think people can't see the different. I mean the cause is great but ppl who shop there can't usually afford or want to save. They don't go there to shop at Abercrombie and Fitch or Dulce and Gabanna.

 

Also if you want expensive things , go to a goodwill in the suburbs, but seriously I can go to Desert Industries and buy a three dollar purse.  I will not donate, it has always been jhelping out my fellow small bussiness buddies and nieghborhood thrift stores.

Books have soared in price at my local Goodwill, so I try to only shop there on discount days.  Yesterday I saw a "good" quality copy of a recipe book for $7.99 which is presently selling on Amazon for $3.85 new.

 

 

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here in Toronto, it's a bigger problems actually, the staff in the back steal a lot of things, and if they can't they price them high so people can't buy them, an ex worker told me this.

In general the prices are really high lately..I love it when I see a H&M shirt priced higher than the actual store.

Not just Goodwill anymore.  Yardsales, Salvation Army, and other thrift stores.

k8yk--I know. Sometimes you win one. We have Value Village here. Indy?

You are spot on! We have a chain called Value Village here, as well as Goodwill. I buy tons of children's books there, and they have been 99cents until last week. There I stood at the till with 40- count 'em!- FORTY books when the clerk informed me that all children's books are now $3.99. Seriously? These are donated book's people! And many have a lower sticker price tag still on the book!  Luckily the clerk honoured the 99cents since there were no signs posted, but I won't be buying books from them any more.

In terms of furniture, its just ridiculous to be charging people $200 for a beat up 1970's couch. However, I find its a luck-of-the-draw thing. My daughter and I recently spotted 2 pedestal stands for her front loading washer and dryer that retail for $200 each and we snagged them for $9.99 apiece! $380 saved! Nice!

Michael-You're right. I just would have hoped that Goodwill would have kept things affordable for even the very low income customers.

Due to the economy, more people are shopping at Goodwill and other thrift stores, and the prices have adjusted upwards for this new demand. It seems odd that when people are worse off the cost increases. For myself, I have noticed that Goodwill has gotten better at pricing more desirable furniture at higher prices to meet the DIY refurb crowd. Maybe it also has to do with recycling and used items are now trendy and posh?

The only solution I've found is to shop at other places from time to time. Savers is stellar, and here in Denver the ARC stores are impressive. Unfortunately the Salvation Army and Disabled American Vetrans thrift stores are harder to find these days.

There are also quite a bit of local secondhand furniture stores that have a decent selection of items.

The best bet for deals is Craigslist and Habitat for Humanity's ReStore.

I been a GW buyer for ever. But their prices sometimes are too much. Now I only buy from them the days they have th 50% on most items. One day I asked for a discount and the manager said no way, it was against their rules to reduced prices on item with a tag. Guess what...I went to the same place again and ask for a discount on pictures frames, and another manager toldme  to go to the cashier that she was going to give the price. She made a goood offer so I end up buying everithing in my cart.

Just Jess-I feel your pain. I don't know what the root of all of this price raising is.

I had this exact experience this weekend! Our little Mississippi town recently got a shiny new Goodwill. It was very seductive at first, clean, well-organized, etc. But now I'm noticing.....since when does Goodwill offer more new items than used? I don't mind a bit of price raising on the usual items ($5 for a dress instead of $4, etc), but the prices on shoes, cheap jewelry, toys, and furniture are out of hand! Your concern about what happens when a child begs for a $10 toy at Goodwill? As I saw it, the mom caved, requiring her to return most of the items from her cart to the shelves. I'll be returning to the old Salvation Army for my thrifting this week to see if they've experienced the same changes, but I doubt they have.

to MHET: What a hoot! I feel so much better knowing I'm not alone. If misery loves company, so do freaks.  I makes me sad to think of who might end up with my things. Will she know how much I loved that blouse & always wash it on delicate & hang to dry? And it doesn't stop there, my mind churns up so much crap, I just avoid the whole block for a couple of wks.

As for prices, the super nice staff at my (yes, it's mine, I've spent so much $$, I feel entitled) GW are always apologizing to customers about prices. 

Friday at the Salvation Army, I scored a PowerWheels 4-wheelers for my toddler to injury himself on for $5.99. We go to Goodwill: Barbie Jeep $69.00 and 4-wheeler $79.  Outrageous!  I was so glad to log on to Curbly and see that I'm not the only one noticing the prices at the GW.

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