I Give Up On Goodwill

I am a Goodwill queen. Without even turning over a large chunk of time, I can pull out the best steals hiding on the racks. Silk shirts that would normally run me $60+ come to my closet for $3. Tweed skirts $5 instead of $50. And if I keep my eyes peeled, I can even snatch some of Target's designer collaborations from six months prior.

But I'm giving up my crown.
Goodwill's altered their pricing scheme with the base price now $5. On my recent trip to our brand new store, the only clothes that were at the base price were heavily used -- faded and pilled -- and oh-so-90s pieces. (At least at my in-law's Goodwill in Wisconsin, the worn items have been weeded out in advance.) Hoodies and non-shoulder-padded blouses were at least $10 and sometimes $20. Trouble is, $5 is the standard clearance price at TJ Maxx. While I'm all for shopping to help a cause, you need to at least be offering something comparable.

That Goodwill's charging even more for good vintage or anything they consider "boutique" isn't really new. Unfortunately, boutique usually means they recognize the label, thus they are pricing used tops from Walmart and Target for much more than those stores' sale prices. As a great sale shopper, there's no incentive to buy a $15 Merona dress used when I can get it for the same price new (and not have to shell out money to get it cleaned).

I still love shopping for thrift and vintage, but I think I'll stick with better edited collections from local vintage shops and Etsy purveyors.

Do you think Goodwill is pricing itself out of its market?


Liane said…
I have been getting irritated with their "fashion" section, which is never on sale and always a little more than I'm willing to spend.
Is this new pricing decision nation-wide? I haven't been into my Good Will for a few weeks, so I might've missed it... I must say, I'm definitely not as likely to stop in anytime soon, if it's a nationwide choice. How strange and definitely unwelcome!
Someone said…
They've been working toward this for at least the last year. It feels like calculated aim at anyone doing recession-based shopping and giving them/us a big middle finger.

They get the items FREE don't they? So they can keep 'em as far as I'm concerned, and we'll shop elsewhere.

I don't know whose idea this was but it's creating a negative vibe with a lot of shoppers and I hope they hear it.
Sarah Dee said…
I dont shop there for two weeks and this is what happens! I agree with someone! Giant middle finger to the price conscious!!

propriatress said…
ha ha. I just donated 22 bags of clothes, merchandise and furniture,etc, since I just closed my store in Tacoma. I'm gonna go check out the local G's to see how they priced my stuff. Yes, they are waaaay outta line in their prices. I stopped shopping this thrift chain a while back because their prices have jumped to ridiculous levels. I know they have expenses...but they're just being stupid now...
Often, I'd find that my prices in my bonafide cute adorable real live vintage clothing store had lower prices than their stinky, dirty, ugly, crying-baby, obnoxious-customers-blocking-the-aisles...stores!
Anonymous said…
Goodwill is doing what the Salvation Army has been doing for years. They're starting to get employees and volunteers who either know vintage pieces or know designers, and they're trying to price them as such.
I love a good bargain too, but lest we forget that the proceeds from these items are going to people who need help.
And, like someone else said, I don't shop at chain thrift stores. There are other charity thrift stores that charge lower prices, because sometimes it's not just us "love a bargain" people that shop there, sometimes the people that need a break shop there too. (I work at a non-profit in Detroit that has an independent thrift store, just FYI).
becca said…
There are no Goodwill stores in my area, but Salvation Army made a huge price jump in the Metro Detroit stores a few years ago. Many of the Target brand items were priced higher than what they sold for at full price, new.

St. Vincent de Paul stores still have pretty good pricing and a few independent thrift stores in my area are OK. I usually can find better prices (and a much better selection that's organized) at a local vintage shop or even Plato's Closet now.
Jennifer Wells said…
I gave up on Goodwill sometime ago.

Salvation Army is a way better place to go to, they don't need to jack up their prices to pay for stupid commercials.
Unknown said…
Well, sounds likt the Goodwill you go to has, well, HAD good stuff and it was cheap. But where I live, the Goodwill is full of old stuff and while they do have good trench coats, they don't have much of anything else.

So I say, forget Goodwill, I can go someplace else for my stuff and get it new!
Jael Paris said…
Miss Vinyl, sadly we only have chain thrift stores in my area. (Well, there is one stall at the antique store.) Anyone want to open one in northern Indiana?

suzy_09, when I had a more professional job, I could buy the nicer things, which are easier to spot on the crowded rack. Now that I need machine wash clothes, buying thrift is a pain.
chibiyui said…
Awww. I haven't been to my local goodwill in a few months....They had base prices between 3.25 for tanks to 4-5.25 for most shirts/pants/sweaters.. Which wasn't bad, but I'm hoping they haven't jumped to the prices you have described. It just seems like bad policy to do during this recession.
Rachel Dewing said…
I think most of us agree that this new pricing policy is silly. I'd like to add that it's especially silly when you've got big chain stores, like target, forever 21, H&M, and walmart, that sell great looking clothes for such low prices. I just bought a brand new shirt dress from target for $25 -- why would I bother buying a used one for $15?
Additionally, Goodwill needs to hire some decent marketing execs who can tell them that a large portion of their target market does not HAVE to shop there. Most people I know who love to shop at thrift stores could afford to shop at regular retailers. They like the goodwill for one reason: they like a bargain. It's like a treasure hunt for grownups! If you take that feeling of getting a great deal away from us, there is literally no appeal to the thrift store anymore.
I gave up on the "chain" thrift stores about 2 years ago. Seemed like all their prices had gone up and I found out, after asking a few employees, that they had started going through the clothing and pulling out vintage stuff and selling it to vintage stores, where obviously the prices are jacked up. I mostly go to smaller, independently run thrift stores now.

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