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Purchasing clothes at goodwill
Old 08-20-2014, 09:15 AM   #1
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Purchasing clothes at goodwill

Yesterday I made a trip down to goodwill and I bought a pair of nice shoes for $4. I've never bought clothes from a second hand store before (although I've donated a lot) and I was surprised at how nice some stuff can be and how inexpensive it is.

I think there's a limited amount I can save from this as we spend a few hundred dollars at most per year. Most of time it's purchasing from Costco, REI (this stuff is expensive but really high quality), landsend or other online places.

However we're gonna need some winter clothes (we've been in california for the past 15 years).

Anybody else buy clothes from second hand stores? What's your best find? or worst horror story?
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:21 AM   #2
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I've purchased a few blazer/sport coats from Goodwill, for what I call the "Texas suit", consisting of jeans, boots, and a jacket...

Usually pay around $7, then a few dollars for dry cleaning, and voila!
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Old 08-20-2014, 09:57 AM   #3
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and I was surprised at how nice some stuff can be and how inexpensive it is.
At most "thrift" stores, a lot of the merchandise is brand new (still has the original price tag attached). How and why things are donated can cover many scenarios from retailers dumping unsold merchandise to family not wishing to rummage through the deceased's wardrobe (or anything, for that matter). And for various reasons some things (particularly clothing) have only been used once.

Thrift Stores, BTW, are a very important aspect of LBYM -- spending pennies on the dollar for quality merchandise.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:03 AM   #4
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We have been going to thrift shops and estate sales in an upscale area to help furnish a first apartment for one of the kiddos.

At the estate sale we bought two hand painted watercolors for around $10 for both. I have a stack of kitchen supplies, mirrors, pots and pans, lamps and more stacked in the garage we bought for a fraction of the price new between the estate sale and the thrift shop. I looked on Yelp for reviews of the best thrift shops to go to and found this one off the beaten path. The proceeds all go to a charity so it has been kind of fun. Anything deemed not "apartment worthy" I'll donate back and they can resell it.

If you ever want a bread machine, go to a charity thrift shop. One store I went to had seven bread machines that looked like they had never been used.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:04 AM   #5
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I both shop at and donate to Goodwill all the time.

When my clothes get worn, it's nice to go there and restock up getting several items knowing had I paid brand new (even at Wally World) the cost would have been noticeably more.

Plus, I like to look at the used electronics at Goodwill.

No horror stories. But in the past, I did have some adventures going to a Goodwill warehouse in the past where they'd sell stuff by the pound. Stuff would get hauled out by the gurney for shoppers to look through and place in their carts. Not for everyone, but it was fun seeing my late friend's expression as she enjoyed the adventure.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:22 AM   #6
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thrift shop video

I look incredible
I wear your grandmas clothes

I'm gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket



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Old 08-20-2014, 10:26 AM   #7
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thrift shop video

I look incredible
I wear your grandmas clothes

I'm gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket



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You must be too young for this forum if you know that song.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:41 AM   #8
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Another little tip for the runners in the group:

I'll go to a thrift store (and some are even much cheaper than Goodwill) occasionally and buy a number of sweatshirts and jackets to keep in a box at home.

When you show up for an early morning race in cold weather, a good warm coverup is worth its weight in gold while you wait for the starting signal.

Once you're on your way and starting to warm up, just shuck the sweatshirt and toss it to the sidewalk. Someone will pick it up and be glad to have it -- perfect recycling.

I've done this for many years.
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:01 AM   #9
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DH and I buy clothes very rarely, but when we do, Goodwill and Salvation Army are the places we go. Clothes are half-price on Fridays and Saturdays, so an even better bargain then. Another favorite store is just a tad higher in its prices, but I go there because the majority of the purchase price goes to a women's shelter.
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:27 AM   #10
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I mentioned to one of the volunteers at the charity shop that if I came every few days as the merchandise turned over I could probably furnish an entire apartment with some pretty high quality furnishings for a fraction of buying brand new. They replied, oh absolutely, you'll be amazed if you start shopping here at all the really nice items that pass through here and also said that they received lots of new donations every day.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:19 PM   #11
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Clothes are half-price on Fridays and Saturdays, so an even better bargain then.
I hadn't even considered that a thrift shop would run sales -- the stuff is so inexpensive that if I see something I like, I'd probably get it.

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I mentioned to one of the volunteers at the charity shop that if I came every few days as the merchandise turned over I could probably furnish an entire apartment with some pretty high quality furnishings for a fraction of buying brand new. They replied, oh absolutely, you'll be amazed if you start shopping here at all the really nice items that pass through here and also said that they received lots of new donations every day.
When we sold our house earlier this year and downsized into a car, we had to give a lot of nice stuff to goodwill (dozens of trips). I'm just glad somebody took it and it didn't go into a landfill. The cynic in me though thinks that the volunteers who organize the donations will take the best things before they get to the floor.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:33 PM   #12
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I hadn't even considered that a thrift shop would run sales -- the stuff is so inexpensive that if I see something I like, I'd probably get it.



When we sold our house earlier this year and downsized into a car, we had to give a lot of nice stuff to goodwill (dozens of trips). I'm just glad somebody took it and it didn't go into a landfill. The cynic in me though thinks that the volunteers who organize the donations will take the best things before they get to the floor.
On grand jury a year or so ago we sent a poor schmoo to trial for doing just that. GW loss prevention staked out a collection site based on complaints against a long term employee. Spotted him taking a paper bag out to his car at the end of his shift. Cops grilled him, told him "things would be better for him if he returned all the things he had taken home", and he dragged back a small trailer of videos and such he had taken over the years - valued at enough to bump him up into felony status.

I kinda felt it was shooting fish in a barrel to hammer the less than normal intelligence guy.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:10 PM   #13
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The cynic in me though thinks that the volunteers who organize the donations will take the best things before they get to the floor.
The place I found recently was a charity shop for a local charity in a wealthy area with older, Junior League look volunteers operating the store, so I suspect they wouldn't keep things for themselves or resell them on eBay. I think in the future I will bring my donations here as I have wondered the same thing about donating elsewhere.

They actually had a lot of good tips on how you could spray paint and fix up some of the items and end up with something nicer than an Ikea apartment, though I wouldn't buy anything there that might have bedbugs, like a couch or pillows.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:12 PM   #14
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I hadn't even considered that a thrift shop would run sales -- the stuff is so inexpensive that if I see something I like, I'd probably get it.
Thrift Stores have the same problem as any other retailer -- the need to attract customers (hopefully new ones). Generally, they have a (relatively small group they are drawing from. Consequently, after a few days (or weeks) their customer base has looked at and purchased everything they are interested in. The "left-overs" are, then, "just taking up space." In retail (well, in everything actually) the name of the game is "turnover."


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The cynic in me though thinks that the volunteers who organize the donations will take the best things before they get to the floor.
Actually, most (if not all) Thrift Store have stringent rules in this area all the way from the employees cannot, under any circumstance, purchase items to the item has to be on the shelf for a certain length of time before it can be purchased (see above "turnover" schpeel to setting aside once a week for an employee-only purchase time (where they can only purchase items with a tag of a certain color). The breaking of the set rule is severely punished... sometimes by termination (recognize that there would be two offenders -- the buyer and the cashier).
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:19 PM   #15
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I think in the future I will bring my donations here as I have wondered the same thing about donating elsewhere.
Which is the main reason for the "no employee purchase" policy I mentioned earlier. A Thrift Store is 100% dependent upon donations. All the customers in the world are of no use if your shelves are bare.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:34 PM   #16
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In retail (well, in everything actually) the name of the game is "turnover."
I bought a marked down table lamp for 50 cents. Even the volunteers were surprised it was marked so low, and had to check the price. But they said it had not sold so they just kept marking it down.

It is not exactly the Crate and Barrel look for 2014, but kiddo and room mate are welcome to re-donate it to charity as soon as they can afford something better on their dime, and in the mean time do not have to read by candle light.
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Old 08-20-2014, 02:12 PM   #17
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We have a thrift store nearby and love it. DH picks up paperbacks at $1 or 75 cents each, then donates them back when he's done! I've picked up a couple of warm-up pants for running in cold weather and if we need a kitchen gadget or a few everyday wine glasses, that's where we go.

You know what I find sad? All the "stuff"- collectible dolls, trinkets, etc. that end up on the shelves at 10% of their original cost. I understand that some might have had sentimental value at one time, but it makes me wonder how many people would have been better off if they hadn't spent all that money.
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Old 08-20-2014, 02:16 PM   #18
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A relative was showing me some of her recent Goodwill shop purchases that were too good to pass up. Now she just has more stuff she doesn't really need.
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Old 08-20-2014, 03:42 PM   #19
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Some of my best furniture came from a thrift store that benefited the Pittsburgh Opera Company. Loads of estate stuff from dusty old houses. Good bones. Having them reupholstered or refinishing them returned amazing results. They don't make stuff like that today.

Here is my favorite chair - sadly the dog also likes it. This chair cost me 25 bucks and was covered in pink when I got it. It was made in the early 1940's and even with a $500.00 upholstery job was a bargain, imo. The lamp also came from that same shop and is handmade.
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Old 08-20-2014, 03:43 PM   #20
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Which is the main reason for the "no employee purchase" policy I mentioned earlier. A Thrift Store is 100% dependent upon donations. All the customers in the world are of no use if your shelves are bare.
Don't think all thrift stores will show you everything that is donated locally. Or that the prices are all that great. Goodwill is a definite offender when it comes to this. At some locations, good items get swept away to be sold online only. There are a number of regional goodwill online auction sites. The schmucks that at the stores that fill these sites only get to see the leftovers. And often the prices at their stores are just as high as buying retail. It can be really crazy to look at their prices. (Sorry if this sounds harsh, but its the truth) I won't donate there any more, often their prices are comparable with antique stores. I give to a local hospital auxiliary thrift that is run by retired volunteers.
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