Watch Out For Ripoffs At Secondhand Stores

Secondhand, used and outlet clothing stores can be treasure troves for bargains, but you need to keep your wits about you as you stroll the aisles. Take it from Bob, who says four Goodwill locations were charging unrealistic prices for items.

He writes:

I am writing to you prior to writing a letter to the President and CEO of Goodwill Industries, Jim Gibbons concerning the ridiculous prices found on Goodwill merchandise over the past year.

My wife and I often visit 4 Goodwill retail stores in our area which is [redacted]. We have noticed that the prices on merchandise in the stores have almost become laughable (though sad for the income challenged). I have seen a consistency of this horrific pricing at the various stores so I believe they are using a formula or list of recommended prices to mark merchandise as it comes in the door. You will often see a price that the individual who prices the object guesses at and is way off the mark. I mean something that is a cheap Chinese knock-off that looks like an antique, priced as an antique.

It has gotten worse and worse with each trip to our local stores. Often, a price is much higher than what you would pay for a similar new item at Walmart. I hear shoppers in the store complaining all the time that the prices are absurd. These stores are supposed to help the poor and low income families but items are now carrying boutique prices. It is like they are catering to the wealthy because it is suddenly trendy to buy something at Goodwill. I am sure this is all well and fine for Goodwill executives that make a much higher salary than those at Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul’s.

Have you noticed unreasonable prices at Goodwill or any supposed discount shops?

Comments

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  1. Raekwon says:

    In my area we have Deseret Industries which is similar just a different church running things and this happens on occasion. Electronics are almost always overpriced. Broken tube TVs are not worth anything yet people seem to think they are. Chinese knockoffs are common at any thrift store and since most thrift store employees don’t work for Antiques Roadshow they are wrongly priced at antique levels. Clothes and other more common things still seem to be reasonable however. At least where I am and it is very trendy here to buy at thrift stores.

    • shotgun_shenanigans says:

      This is why when I go to DI I will only buy clothes.

      I’ve seen desks missing legs in there for $40, only because it looks “neat.”

    • Me - now with more humidity says:

      Goodwill is not run by a church organization. You may be thinking of the Salvation Army.

    • Donathius says:

      My favorite thing I ever saw in a DI – a fifteen year old Mac clone (called a Proforma or something ridiculous) that was priced at $75…and came complete with a copy of Windows ME.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Deseret Industries… (Logan, UT) home of the $2.00 AOL “free cd”

      Also, they separate the remote controls, driver discs, and power supplys from the electronics… in an effort to charge an additional $2 for the power supply, and an extra $1 for the remote. Then they scatter the parts around the store, if you’re lucky you may find it(if you know EXACTLY what you’re looking for!). Or not. It may have gotten thrown out, or maybe it will show up in a few weeks. Or not.

      DI is really the only game in town here for thrift stores, its a “Beehive” of LDS members and they all take their stuff to the LDS owned DI.

  2. humphrmi says:

    “These stores are supposed to help the poor and low income families but items are now carrying boutique prices.”

    They don’t help the poor by selling their stuff cheap; they help the poor by making lots of money on their resale shops and using that money to help the poor directly.

    • jessjj347 says:

      I would argue that they do help the poor by selling there clothing cheaply…

      • humphrmi says:

        Their *intention* is to make money on the retail stores, and re-invest that money into a lot more programs. If a side effect is that someone finds their clothes cheap, more power to them.

        http://www.goodwill.org/about-us/our-mission/

        Notice that there’s no mention of “Helped XXX trailer trash get cheap Hollisters”.

        • Toffeemama is looking for a few good Otters says:

          Thanks, I have a post right below this that says I bought a Hollister shirt… :/

        • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

          I’m not a politically correct individual, but it’s kind of shitty to dismiss people who shop at Goodwill as “trailer trash” directly below 20-25 posts that describe the positive goals of Goodwill.

          Nah, in fact, it’s all the way shitty.

          And besides, Goodwill is the nice thrift store. If you want to pick on strangers you’ve never met, you can do much better than Goodwill’s clientele.

    • sirwired says:

      Agreed. If they sold all their stuff for crazy-cheap prices and did not do an income test to keep the well-off from shopping there, they really aren’t going to be helping the poor much, since so many non-poor would go there too.

      • bwcbwc says:

        It sounds like what they should be doing is doing a timer, where the price starts (moderately) high and goes down week by week.

    • KeithIrwin says:

      Well, that may be the case with some charity thrift shops, but that’s not actually Goodwill’s primary model. Their main goal is to operate retail stores in order to be able to provide people with job training.

      • humphrmi says:

        yeah, but the retail stores themselves do not (necessarily) provide job training and placement. The money does. Money that comes from the retail stores. $2.4 billion, to be exact. And they helped 155,000 people get jobs last year – a whole lot more than just putting them to work in a thrift shop. That’s what I mean by helping the poor directly, as opposed to indirectly by offering them cheap clothes.

    • UltimateOutsider says:

      Yes, Goodwill is not a “place where poor people shop.” It’s a retail store that pays $0 for its inventory. They charge what customers will pay and use those earnings to support their endeavors.

      Prices are going up everywhere else- I have no idea why anyone expects they wouldn’t go up at Goodwill.

      • Bohemian says:

        That is all fine and dandy but their pricing tactics are illogical. $4 for a beat up old shirt from Walmart that sold for $5 new? Furniture that would go for $20 at a garage sale or $100 at an antique store being labeled with $300?
        I saw a fairly cheaply made wood armoire at a thrift store today for $300. You could have bought the same item new at one of the cheaper chain furniture stores for that much.

        • lockdog says:

          What you’re forgetting is that the pricing is done by volunteers. When you’re the one working for free, you get a lot more latitude in making decisions like pricing. Sure, the store could hire staff to make more logical prices or research each item, but then they would have to raise prices across the board or sacrifice some part of their mission by bring in less income. But I guarantee you for each overpriced item there is another equally under-priced item. Of course, it sold to a dealer (who is going to mark it up 200%) twenty minutes before you walked in the door.

          • mbz32190 says:

            Volunteers? The Goodwill here pays all their workers afik, and on job signs posted, the rate is actually better than some other minimum wage jobs.

      • Bohemian says:

        That is all fine and dandy but their pricing tactics are illogical. $4 for a beat up old shirt from Walmart that sold for $5 new? Furniture that would go for $20 at a garage sale or $100 at an antique store being labeled with $300?
        I saw a fairly cheaply made wood armoire at a thrift store today for $300. You could have bought the same item new at one of the cheaper chain furniture stores for that much.

        What really irks me is seeing stores like Savers selling obvious counterfeit designer purses as the real item with $40-$90 price tags on them.

        • mandy_Reeves says:

          The local church thrift shop sells 25 year old couches for 500 dollars. you can tell the stuff is ancient…I lived through the 80s. It looks straight off the price is right showcase from 1987. I mean if you are opening say, a theme 80’s hotel or restaurant…you might grab this stuff without batting an eye. But not a poor family! geez!!

          That said, i did snag a brand new pair of ladies New Balance sneakers for 8 dollars in March.

    • Griking says:

      I’m sure that Goodwill has gotten tired of all the dealers that come into their stores who purchase and resell everything at inflated prices. If the dealers can just buy stuff from Goodwill and resell it at a profit then why shouldn’t Goodwill just raise their prices and make the extra profit themselves?

      It disgusts me when I visit a Goodwill and see people using phone apps to scan the bar code of every book on the shelves to see which are profitable to buy and resell.

      • Calexxia says:

        With all due respect, I scan the bar codes to see if I’m getting a good deal on something–I’m not a reseller, but I’m not going to pay $6 for a CD that I can buy on Amazon for $2.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        But will their local market sustain such price increases? Most dealers supplement any local storefront of theirs with internet sales, and things can command much higher prices in an online global market. Pricing thrift items to compare to items sold on the internet or at specialist auctions doesn’t seem very smart to me.

        • UltimateOutsider says:

          Goodwill actually has an ebay-style auction site where they sell their nicer items. Anyway, like any business, I assume they adjust prices as the market demands.

          • JulesNoctambule says:

            I know they do, which is why I wonder about their in-store pricing. They must know that the price something will fetch online isn’t generally equivalent to what you can ask in a B&M shop, and yet shelf after shelf of used (often broken or damaged) merchandise is marked ever higher.

      • Bill610 says:

        I don’t understand why that would “disgust” you. Goodwill gets 100% of their asking price, which is basically 100% profit since the book was donated to them, while the person buying the book to resell it assumes the risk that the book might not sell, while presumably providing a service to someone who wants to buy it from them. Maybe the buyer runs a specialty shop which stocks a particular type of book; maybe his customers don’t like going to Goodwill; maybe he’s thought of some cool business model that hasn’t occurred to me.

    • DariusC says:

      Yes, but Saint Vincent De Pauls does the same and they price books at nickels/dimes and sometimes (if it is a thousand pager) a quarter!

      Chairs? 10 bux. Stools? 3… 55″ projection TVs? 125 bux. Stoves? 75!

      They sell whatever they can… for whatever price they can. Its incredible, That place was epic win!

      • LincolnK says:

        I quit going to the one here when they were trying to sell an old upright piano for $800.

      • fjordtjie says:

        that used to be true at certain st vinnie’s around here, but recently the ‘best-kept secret’ ones jacked up their rates too. an old very beaten kitchen table that is vaguely vintage looking? was $450, then $350, and now $250. all their clothes are priced by brand now too, so there isn’t much of a difference between new and used. most people would have to give that s**t away on craigslist. no thanks.

    • drbtx1 says:

      Goodwill’s mission is to create jobs for the disabled, but as an organization they do nothing to dissuade people of the idea that donations are going to help the poor directly, rather than being sold for what the market will bear to make work.

    • framitz says:

      Goodwill is ‘To help the handicapped help themselves’
      At least that’s what I always saw on their signs.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Exactly, they sell the stuff and their SERVICES (such as job placement and others) help the “helpless”

    • Bohemian says:

      Our local goodwill stores tried this tactic and I think it lost them business because they stopped marking everything like it was some Neiman Marcus new item. They went back to the flat prices by category, $4 for a jacket, $3.50 for pants. They also ditched the “special items” rack that they used to put things like used clothes from Kohls that they marked at new clothing prices.

      Our local Savers in Sioux Falls, SD has caught this bug. They want $40 for a wool winter coat and $40 for old suits that are not anything high end. It all started when they got this new guy managing the store, suddenly the prices shot up. I see cheap low end things like walmart tshirts marked maybe $1 less than they sold for new and they are clearly very worn. So I give most of my business to the local YMCA thrift store, they mark their things about 1/2 the price of Savers and have better selection

      • jesusofcool says:

        I agree that thrift store pricing has gone up as of late since it’s become a bit trendier. Maybe 5-8 years ago I quite often found super bargains at Goodwill on everything from records to pants. But back then our local GW had standard pricing for by item type – pants, shirts, housewares whatever. Now they’re pricing a bit higher and based somewhat on brands.
        I think it has a lot to do with shopping intelligently. If you see a Target brand shirt for a dollar less than what you’d pay new, don’t buy it. In general, I find Target/Old Navy/H&M quality stuff to be the worst deals. The best deals at Goodwill and thrift stores IMO are on higher end work clothes – pants and suits from places like Ann Taylor, J Crew, Banana Republic. I’ve frequently found that they’re in better condition and a better bargain.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Our local Once Upon a Child has this issue. They are full of Target clothes and charge $1.00 less that new for worn out old crap.

  3. Toffeemama is looking for a few good Otters says:

    I recently bought two t-shirts, one Abercrombie and one Hollister, for $5 each at my local thrift store. I thought that the prices were a little high, but assume it’s because of the name. That’s the only reason I would buy those brands too, second hand.

    • davebu3 says:

      A friend picked up a jersey there. It was a lance armstrong USPS jersey he got for $5. He sold it on eBay for $100, this goes both ways.

  4. Bizdady says:

    Try shopping second hand stores here in Los Angeles and expect to pay more than for new clothes. Damn hipsters!!

  5. Bizdady says:

    Try shopping second hand stores here in Los Angeles and expect to pay more than for new clothes. Damn hipsters!!

    • Bizdady says:

      sorry on double post, stupid net.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Hipsters ruin everything. Including irony. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out whether or not that’s ironic.

    • Ratran says:

      Los Angeles thrift shops are either very expensive or really disgusting.

      So basically I stopped going to them. Then I moved to a small town in Florida, it is a popular area for retirees, that keep their second homes here. The thrift shops & even Goodwill I can really score with some really nice clothing, barely worn for dirt cheap. I was able to buy 2 practically new IZOD golf shirts, for $6.00. I even saw a Wedgewood 24 piece dinner set for 24 bucks.

      But, the framed Jesus puzzle for $20.00 is a bit much.

  6. pop top says:

    I love St. Vincent de Paul’s and have been donating my old clothing/toys/books/etc. to them for years.

  7. wrjohnston91283 says:

    Often, a price is much higher than what you would pay for a similar new item at Walmart.

    Then go to Walmart. No one is making you shop at Goodwill.

    Goodwill Industries, while being a “non-profit”, is still in the business of making money, which goes towards funding their non-retail programs. They’re basing their prices on supply and demand, and yes, I would imagine they have seen an increase in customer counts in the past few years. If people are purchasing the items (which they may not be if they are sitting on the shelves with high sticker prices), then the price IS reasonable, no matter what an individual person may feel.

    Each goodwill organization is run independently of the others, so I doubt there is any sort of nationwide pricing scheme.

  8. Clyde Barrow says:

    Yeah OP, it’s called “taking advantage of the economic times and now Goodwill is even in the act”.

  9. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Honestly, the guy just seems like he’s complaining about prices not being what he wants to pay. He has no examples, no photos, and no idea why things are priced the way they are – he believes they have a system of pricing but he hasn’t asked Goodwill how it determines pricing.

    This is all aside the fact that it’s about scale – one person’s bargain is another person’s luxury. It’s hard to agree with him since he hasn’t even stated what is a fair price for items he sees at Goodwill. Maybe he thinks everything is an unrealistic because he thinks $5 is too much. We don’t know because dollar value is a subjective thing. This letter is ridiculously vague and comes off more like a complaint that things just aren’t the way he wants them to be.

    Maybe he should have written the President and CEO first, gotten an answer, then sent Consumerist an email.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Data?

      Data is for the real world. This is the Internets. We don’t need data here.

    • Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

      Exactly what I was thinking. Is he complaining about a t-shirt that is priced at $5 or $20? Is he looking at a dining room set that’s priced at $50 or $1000?

      Without examples and data, he just comes off as whiny.

    • greggen says:

      The GW near me gets target crap when noone will buy it at 75% off. The damn target stickers are still on the merchandise and the GW price is HIGHER than targets full price..

      I think part of the deal here in Minneapolis is that the thrift stores have senior Tuesdays and discount Fridays (25% off) and then 50% off on major holidays, also different discounts based on the color of the tags each day.. They mark them up, some will pay the higher price, some will wait until the discounts days..

  10. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I agree, the prices at thrift stores are outrageous.

    But realize this: Thirft stores aren’t thinking about providing cheap goods for the poor. They are thinking about gaining revenue from those sales to then use that money to buy necessary items for the poor.

    It sounds convoluted, but it has its merits.

  11. namcam says:

    back when north face made good stuff, i bought a nice jacket at GW for $5! not too sure you would find stuff like that anymore.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      I routinely find similar bargains. I walked out of my goodwill recently with two complete suits for $25!

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      I found a near-new Timbuk2 bag there for $6.
      I found that this particular size retailed regularly at around $100.

    • Ichabod says:

      GW prices suck, plain and simple. ON the other Hand St. Vicent dePaul in Grand Rapids MI sold me a six month old SubZero fridge for $400, which I in turn sold on Ebay for $3000 a down payment for my house.

  12. Rachacha says:

    Law of supply and demand. If the Goodwill prices are too high, then don’t purchase there. Once the sales decline, the store will need to reduce its pricing.

    Look at it this way. I donate a “widget” to the Goodwill store. I purchased the object 1 year ago from a big box retailer for $30, and that is the current price at the same big box retailer. Goodwill prices the object at $28. If it sells at that price, $28 (less operating expenses) is donated to the charity funds, if it doesn’t Goodwill can either leave it at that price until it sells, or reduce the price do something more reasonable (say $12). It is in their best interest to increase profits, so put it initially on the shelves at the higher price. If it sells GREAT, if it doesn’t slash the price.

    Any time I hold a yard sale, I do the same thing. put the prices high so that there is room for negotiation, but on the last day, everything is priced to move.

    • LincolnK says:

      There’s no way all these places hold on to everything until it sells, and the stores I go to don’t mark anything down. I know of pawn shops that destroy merch that won’t sell to make room; I assume something similar happens to the $50 tv’s and $20 vcr’s at goodwill.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        From what I’ve read, goodwill will wholesale bulk orders of things that don’t sell in stores to companies that ship them overseas to third world countries.

      • Powerlurker says:

        Speaking of pawn shops, the ones around me have pretty awful prices. Lots of outdated electronics marked at what better, newer stuff would cost. They tend to be decent for DVDs, but most of their stuff is crazy expensive.

  13. friendlynerd says:

    Yes, Goodwill has gone through the roof on prices. I do a lot of thrifting as a hobby and they have gotten ridiculous as of late.

  14. Bativac says:

    “horrific pricing”

    Come on now. Fifty bucks for somebody’s beat up old end table is ridiculous but “horrific?” I think “horrific” is like a picture of a mutilated baby or something. This is more like “overpriced.”

    Other than that, I agree – Goodwill prices do seem to have gone up, though still not to Salvation Army levels. Those guys are crazy. But it’s not hard to not get ripped off – just don’t buy the stuff if you think it’s too expensive. They’ll get the hint.

    • Griking says:

      Oh, and prices *do* go down in time if people don’t buy the items. If you see something priced “horrifically” one day and then its not there the next then it probably wasn’t as over priced as you thought.

      • Bativac says:

        That’s true about prices going down if the stuff sticks around long enough. Plus, you can still find some real steals. I paid FOUR BUCKS for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cookie jar not too long ago!

  15. jessjj347 says:

    They’ve had raised prices for the last 6-7 years. Before that time, most things were $1 in Goodwill. More recently, however, Goodwill will even buy unsellable-new merchandise from stores like Target which it can charge more for.

  16. shlni says:

    I blame the hipsters.

  17. FrugalFreak says:

    it is being priced marked by people that unaware of current prices of stuff. I’ve seen thrift stores that had items in dollar Tree packaging marked more than a dollar. If management decides to mark certain price on category, then it disorts the prices of items in stores. each item should be marked with prices for THAT item, not category wise.

  18. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Our local Goodwill is fairly reasonable. I haven’t had an issue. Tees are $3, Blouses are $4 – $5 depending on cut, jackets are $8 – $10.

    I got a printer cable there for $3!

    They also have a nifty thing that if its been at the store for more than 2 months, its half off :D

  19. Speak says:

    At one of the local Salvation Army Thrift stores I had found a winter jacket that came from Steve & Barry’s (this was before they closed). The jacket was for sale for a reasonable price for a jacket, but I knew where it came from so I knew it was overpriced. The jacket I think was around $20 while S&B had nothing over $9.99 at the time. Ever since then I have been very careful on how much I am willing to spend on used items. I have however found many collectible beer glasses for 50cents each and have a nice collection at my basement bar now.

  20. Tatsujin says:

    One time I was about to buy a DVD player at my local Goodwill, but remembering it was Goodwill, asked to see the player. I plugged it into an outlet at the register and sure enough, it didn’t power on.

    And yeah, stores like this don’t help the poor by selling poor people stuff, they make money by normal people buying from them and all of the profits go towards helping poor people. Goodwill specializes in job training for the poor and handicapped. Personally, I like Goodwill better because they don’t try to evangelize like SVP or the Salvation Army.

  21. spmahn says:

    Goodwill is a scam. Anything of value that comes into their stores is cherrypicked and sold on their eBay-esque website to the highest bidder. The remaining junk that ends up on their shelves is tagged with ludicrously high prices that only a crazy person would pay. The CEOs of their local branches receive paychecks and bonuses totally well into the upper six figures. They do a lot of good, but they’re also very dishonest, especially for an organization that classifies themselves as a charity.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      How is any of that “dishonest.” Dishonest would be lying.

      Pricing things at what the market will bear is not dishonest.

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      Also, they have now outsourced their job placement programs to private companies. These companies are supposed to provide on going support for the people that they place in jobs, but because the federal government gives them money once proven that have placed that person, they move on and don’t give a shit if that person actually STAYS in the job. My aunt worked for one of these companies, and she was fired for taking too long with her clients-they didn’t want her to actually do her job, they just wanted her to process people into the system and move on. Sick.

      The auction thing is true. I saw these gorgeous old lamps at the counter at a Goodwill one time, and asked how much they were. They told me they were being sent to auction; when I asked how much they expected to make from them, because I could just buy them and save the trouble of shipping them out, they wouldn’t try to find out or anything for me. The lamps sat there mocking me for probably about a month before they were shipped off, too.

    • saveourthriftysouls says:

      I’m not sure this is accurate. I’ve been on goodwill.com and it appears that only a very small percentage of their stores are selling on their own “ebay-esque” site. None of the four stores in the 15 miles around me do so. Also, I’m aware of only two or three Goodwill stores that maintain actual ebay stores, San Francisco & one in Maine among them.
      I’ve found authentic Chanel, Herve Leger, Dior, etc. at our local stores, so if they are donating the best items to sell online, they’re not doing a very good job of it.

  22. Ilovegnomes says:

    I think that it really depends on the location. Where I live now, things are right priced. Where I grew up, yeah the prices were cheaper at the local department store. People got wise and found out where the Goodwill Clearance Center (where the stuff goes that doesn’t sell) was in the area. Way back when, they’d charge $1 for every paper bag of clothes that you collected. It was a mountain of mess but if you were willing to sort through it, there were some good deals.

    • SissyOPinion says:

      Love the Clearance Center , or the Bin Store as I call it! I swear half my tops are from my local one. For some reason I have an easier time finding stuff at the CC than a regular store. The price per pound kind of defeats the “overpriced” items argument.

  23. AI says:

    Swap the stickers with something more reasonable. Good-Will got it for free, and has no idea what it’s worth or what it should be priced, so they can’t really complain.

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      Our local place uses barcodes with descriptions-
      granted, vague description like “Housewares”, but with sturdier items they staple the barcode on.
      Besides, that just kind of feels wrong.

      I’m at Goodwill to buy unique or used stuff at prices less than retail, not to antique shop.
      Sometimes I find a sweet deal on a still-wrapped Target item (dryer balls FTW!), and that makes me REALLY happy.

    • JonStewartMill says:

      They may not “complain”, but if they catch you they can charge you with theft. Is it your usual practice to shoplift if you don’t like a store’s prices?

    • APCO25guy says:

      actually, in most states, this IS shoplifting. In Georgia, criminal code section 16-8-14:

      (a) A person commits the offense of theft by shoplifting when he alone or in concert with another person, with the intent of appropriating merchandise to his own use without paying for the same or to deprive the owner of possession thereof or of the value thereof, in whole or in part, does any of the following:

      (1) Conceals or takes possession of the goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment;

      (2) Alters the price tag or other price marking on goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment;

      (3) Transfers the goods or merchandise of any store or retail establishment from one container to another;

      (4) Interchanges the label or price tag from one item of merchandise with a label or price tag for another item of merchandise; or

      (5) Wrongfully causes the amount paid to be less than the merchant´s stated price for the merchandise.

      So you are committing a crime in addition to be a total douchebag by trying to rip off a charity.
      When I worked in law enforcement, I took great pleasure in locking up assholes such as yourself.

      The GW stores have gotten better, by using price stickers with descriptions, that destruct if one tries to remove them. Usually they are covered in tape, so any attempts to alter or remove them destroys them.

      If you don’t like the price, don’t pay it. But don’t resort to criminal activity just because you think a stores price is too high. Unless the thought of going to prison, have a criminal record, and being a total loser is worth saving a few bucks on some used junk.

    • edosan says:

      Wow. Do you take money out of the Salvation Army kettles at Christmastime too?

    • chasingveronica says:

      The stickers are color-coded and department-coded and date-coded. They pretty much know when you do it.

  24. Griking says:

    Things sometimes accidentally get mis-priced at Goodwill? Call the press!

    I mean really? Hasn’t this been the case since there was a Goodwill? Some things are under priced and some things are over priced.

    The ones that get me are the ones that have a print out of an eBay auction and use it as a base for their own price even though the auction never had any bids.

  25. Malachiix says:

    The local store near me (NE Ohio) often has fantastic bargains. Now, don’t take this the wrong way, but I see the personal pricing things, so it doesn’t surprise me when I see an overpriced item. I will say it’s certainly not the norm however.

    I just ran across 4 brand new sealed copied of the New Super Mario for Wii for 8.00 a piece within a couple weeks of it coming out. I could have made something on those, but… eh. I DID pick up 4 brand new HDMI cables for 2.00 a piece, which I think is a good deal, considering it was local.

    When I was losing weight rapidly I was constantly going there for temporary clothes and often walking out of there with many items for cheap as dirt. typical sales at this location is all the clothes you can fit into one of their bags for 10.00 or half off days for everything in the store except brand new things.

  26. B* says:

    The prices here in the city are decent. Selection in recent years has gone downhill.

    I went to a Goodwill near my in-laws (in a small BFE town) and it was outrageous. The pricing throughout the store was completely different, much higher. Also they had a lot more damaged product. I wondered if they were taking advantage there, being the only thrift store in town.

  27. Miz_Ivy says:

    This would have been a way more effective letter if he had included specific examples of items he believes to be overpriced, and what he thinks a reasonable price for said items should be. As it is, he doesn’t give them enough information to reasonably expect them to actually correct the issue. What are they supposed to do, walk around the stores and try to figure out what items he thinks are priced too high?

  28. ThunderRoad says:

    Prices at our local goodwill and other charity-driven thrift stores have gone up significantly in the past 18 months. What used to be a $2 or $3 shirt is now $7.99, which is pretty much what you’d pay on clearance at Walmart or even JCPenny’s or Kohls. It’s becoming a racket losing sight of the original mission.

  29. Raanne says:

    The goodwill by me is right next to the value world. I can pay 3x the value world price if i went to goodwill. Plus goodwill has less selection. I noticed that they get donated stuff from target that doesn’t sell, and they keep it at just about what the target clearance price was – they don’t even drop it from that. The goodwill prices are the same as what you would get new stuff for. and its not like its better quality or better brand names. they are just marked to about 1/2 of the resale value – which means if you know how to buy stuff on sale, you are better off just going to a store.

    Nope – I’ll go to value world for my thrift store shopping – the prices are questionable at times, but not high across the board like goodwill is.

  30. Starfury says:

    A new Goodwill opened locally and we stopped in. Small Lego kit, smashed box: $8. New would be the same price. Clothing prices were also very high for used clothing and their books were also way overpriced. Haven’t been back

    and I like thrifting.

  31. Mike says:

    This is absurd for two reasons:

    1) Goodwill has NO obligation to sell anything for any price other than what they want to sell it for. Goodwill helps the poor by making money from the sale of their donations, then using that money for projects to help poor people. If they want to sell a pair of jeans for $25 to a hipster more power to them.

    2) I do agree with the OP as far as pricing though. I went into a Goodwill a few weeks ago when I had an hour to kill and stuff was expensive. I mean sure, you could get a tape walkman for $1 in the back, but in all seriousness I was a little taken aback by some of the pricing. Men’s blazers were priced pretty high (some over $60) for example. I don’t know, maybe I am an old cheap man, but I just can’t bring myself to paying that much for a blazer when 10 years ago at that very same Goodwill I bought a decent suit for $40.

    Now I wouldn’t go as far as the OP to writing a litter to the CEO because that seems strange, but I didn’t buy anything.

    • cete-of-badgers says:

      My boyfriend and I went to our local Bergners last weekend and they were selling men’s suit jackets on clearance for 85-90 percent off, and had a decent selection. Most of their stuff was upwards of 40 percent off. If he was a 40R instead of a 40L we could have gotten a couple of really lovely, new, name-brand things for 60 dollars or less.

  32. Calexxia says:

    Alway, always, ALWAYS caveat emptor. Bear in mind that the people doing the pricing may have no clue of fair market value! The classic example I use is an unboxed tiki fountain that was missing the battery cover–marked at 7.99, even though they were (brand new) 2/$5 at Walgreen’s that week.

    If you have a smartphone, then use it to check pricing when you purchase. Don’t ever fall for the trap of (another classic example) seeing Walmart jeans on the “higher quality” rack and paying nearly $15 for them, when there are GOOD designer jeans (such as Frankie B) over on the regular racks for $6, just because the person pricing had no clue.

  33. El_Fez says:

    This comes to us from the “No Duh” department? I remember seeing super common Atari 2600 games – Combat and ET (the game they made so many of that it destroyed the Video Game Industry and killed a multi-billion dollar company) for 10 and 15 bucks. And they had a Raiders of the Lost Ark board game for 40 – the thing was in shit condition and worth 10 bucks tops.

    So yeah, buyer beware for sure!

  34. CMPalmer says:

    Our local Goodwill is fairly reasonable on clothes and books, but whoever prices the furniture is demented. Veneer-over particle board end tables with loose legs and hundreds of scratches for $75/each, for example. I wouldn’t even have donated something in that condition to Goodwill.

    We have several church-owned thrift stores here in Huntsville and I make the rounds occasionally and find good bargains. Most electronics the thrift stores get should just be trashed or recycled – TVs, broken 20 year old stereo equipment, etc. If they don’t want to trash it, charge $1 a piece for them in case someone wants to tear them apart for parts or an art project.

    Books are always cheap and that’s where I spend a lot of money at thrift stores. I know people who go buy 50 cent or less paperbacks at the thrift stores, then go trade them in at 1/4 cover price at used book stores. You can make a profit that way, even though you can only use the credit to buy books at the used bookstore – at least they have better selections.

  35. JulesNoctambule says:

    Some of our local thrift stores have taken their prices to levels I personally find ridiculous. $25 for a used dress? Hell with that; I can get one for $10 at Belks on clearance.

    While a lot of posters here vigorously deny the presence of poor people shopping at their local Goodwills, a friend of mine who is a social worker has said that their move toward boutique pricing in our area has negatively affected the purchasing ability for a lot of her lower-income clients.

    • amgriffin says:

      I’m really glad you said that. I wanted to write a similar comment regarding that there really are poor and low income people shopping goodwill.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        Yeah, it really isn’t just some dealer-filled resale paradise devoted to sending all profits to the less financially fortunate. Poor people do, in fact, shop in thrift stores and do like to be able to afford to buy things in them.

  36. framitz says:

    Goodwill has also become picky about what they will take as donations.
    They turned down a refrigerator in perfect condition because it was too old although it still met current standards. They also turned down a sofa and love seat in very good condition recently.
    The Salvation Army gladly accepted all the items and even sent a truck to pick them up.

    I don’t know how they operate today, but they used to use donated furniture and appliances to teach skills to their handicapped clients to help them find work in the real world. The items were refurbished and sold in their stores for reasonable prices.

    The last time I visited a Goodwill store was about 10 years ago and their prices were already too high.

  37. Magspie says:

    I’ve seen it both ways. You kind of have to dig for the good stuff. Seems like it has always been that way. Recently I saw a pair of AG jeans (which can cost close to $200) marked $10. There were also some H &M jeans for the same price, which is a terrible deal. I don’t think the people marking them care much.

  38. T says:

    Another problem with Goodwill is that the workers/cashiers don’t know how much to charge for books. It’s clearly marked in the book section that hardbacks are $3, paperbacks are $2, and trade paperbacks are $.69. Yet everytime I buy books (and I buy a stack each time), I get charged, for example, $.69 each for half of them and $2 each for the other half, or I get each book for $.69, etc. The criteria the cashiers apply (measuring the books next to each other and charging $.69 for the smaller books, $2 for the thicker books, etc. it’s never consistent) shows that management has not trained them effectively. I should be charged $2 for each book–I never buy trade paperbacks or hardbacks. It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between trade paperbacks and regular paperbacks–the trade (or mass-market) books are smaller, cheaper quality, etc.–the type you can get at a supermarket for around $7, and the regular paperbacks are $14-$16. I never correct the employees because I feel like they should know how to do their jobs and how much to charge for items in the store.

  39. will_butler says:

    This guy does sound as though he wrote this in between yelling at kids to get off his lawn, but I’ve also found the same pricing issues at Goodwill recently. I love vinyl, but one of the Goodwills near me wants $7 – $10 for all of their records. I could understand if these were rarities or something, but we’re talking about bins upon bins of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass.

    • Fight Back Against David Horowitz! says:

      But Herb Alpert records are terrific! The cover of “Whipped Cream and Other Delights” is worth $7-10 alone…

  40. dennis says:

    I have seen fish tanks with broken glass priced higher than new ones. Please choose other stores with prices that help people, not Goodwill.

  41. edosan says:

    1) The price is clearly marked and no one is forcing you to buy so it’s really not a “ripoff,” is it? It’s that whole economics thing — don’t buy it if you don’t like the price.

    2) The money spent at Goodwill goes to a better cause than if it were spent at Wal-Mart.

    Not an issue. Move along.

  42. BradenR says:

    When buying used, it’s up to the buyer to make the decision as to what an item is worth. Places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. DEPEND upon volunteers. These volunteers may have no real idea of what an item is worth. That’s why you occasionally find amazing bargains. Instead of complaining, volunteer if the store accepts such help. OR don’t buy.

  43. CyGuy says:

    Just had a jaw-dropping experience like this yesterday. At one of the Value Village / Unique Thrift stores (using our 25% off discount card!) we were looking for Halloween costume parts and on the shelf near some beer steins (it is Oktoberfest season) there was an empty beer bottle. Not a collectible/souvenir bottle, or even a particularly hard to get brand of beer. It was a Saranac Black Forest bottle. The surprise was that it was marked $4.84! My wife and I had a good laugh about that one. A six-pack of full Saranac beer bottles barely costs that.

  44. ash says:

    The goal of the Goodwill stores isn’t really to help low income people by providing cheaper goods, but rather by employing them in stores and using profits from the store for their charitable foundation. So the “prices are too much for the poor” is kind of irrelevant IMHO

  45. backinpgh says:

    Often I see things lkea furniture or stuff from Target, items I’m familiar with and know the price, and the item will be even higher priced at the thrift store. Its ridiculous. Goodwills are particularly bad. They overprice electronics terribly…I saw a microwave, like an old school one with a DIAL instead of buttons, big as a tv, it was still priced at $40. $40! For a 20 year old microwave!

  46. KDO says:

    My husband once bought a shirt at Goodwill and when he showed it to me I pointed out that the Goodwill price tag was more than the store clearance price tag still attached.

  47. legolex says:

    Not only do most Goodwill stores around me do this, they are now questioning their own pricing once we get to the register.

    My boyfriend found an electronic device price at $1.99, it was a small charger or something technical that he needed, when he took it up to the register the woman ringing saw the price, gave him a look and then questioned him if there was a duplicate priced the same back on the shelf – insinuating that he switched price tags. He said “no” (there wasn’t) and the woman paused, possibly considering something, then dropped it and rang him out with the $1.99 price.

    This instance, along with astronomical pricing on their *donated* goods has me skipping thrift stores. I hope an article like this and all the comments help change what Goodwill in particular, has been doing.

  48. caradrake says:

    Goodwill lost my business a couple of years ago. I had been accustomed to going in the store a couple of times a month and buying baby clothes at 50 cents apiece. The last time I went, the cashier said “You know that the price increased to $2 apiece, right?” The cashier beside her said, “No, the price is $3 each.”

    I left my pile of clothing on the counter and left. From that day, I haven’t stepped a foot into any Goodwill locations – and all of my donations go elsewhere.

  49. drjayphd says:

    Lemme guess, somewhere around southwestern CT? The Westport store in particular is ridiculous, but then again, they’re in a loaded part of the state. Besides, it’s not like they’re jacking up Old Navy merchandise because someone in the back recognizes the brand name… I’ve seen high-end brands there, such as Thomas Pink.

    But more often than not, it seems like it’s nothing intentional. I distinctly remember one store that used to have NES games (Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, even, not anything as rare as Snow Bros.) priced at $7 a pop (sometimes even as high as $10). The manager told me that my complaint wasn’t the first, and that the person pricing the games didn’t really know anything about video games. Other cases included stuff they bought from Target, but priced higher than it was on Target’s last clearance.

  50. bethied says:

    I say whatev. If people are willing to blindly trust that Goodwill is pricing everything fairly, then that is their bad. All stores carry unreasonably priced items, IMO. If it’s too expensive, don’t buy it. Same rules apply anywhere you shop.

  51. Starphantom12 says:

    As a kid I used to get some awesome Breyer horse models at Goodwill for

  52. chefguru says:

    I’ve noticed one of the most popular thrift stores in my area almost double the prices on most of their products over the last 3 years. There’s no excuse for it besides the fact that they are getting more popular and having more people shop there now than 3 years ago.

  53. amgriffin says:

    At least the bedbugs are still free!

  54. EvilTapioca says:

    $2.50 for shirts that are ugly and $5.00 for ripped/holey jeans at the one where I live. Not a chance I’m buying that stuff when I can go to a yard sale and get great clothes for next to nothing,today I bought a new pair of LEI jeans & a kick ass shirt for 25 cents.

  55. unpolloloco says:

    Betting that it’s more likely incompetent pricing staff…
    Anyway, if the price is too high, I have a bit of advice…..DON’T BUY IT!!!!!!!!!

  56. doodlebug says:

    The clothes are ridiculously expensive at our local Goodwill and rarely in very good condition. I find that if I watch clearance at Target and Khol’s (with coupons) I can find much better prices on new clothes than the worn overpriced clothes at Goodwill.

  57. radon says:

    I’ve seen all kinds of rip-offs at thrifts over the years and it’s ongoing.

    There are a number of things that have developed over the years to make this a problem: the rise of eBay in which everything is deemed “collectible” and priced accordingly and yet very arbitrarily; vintage clothing dealers that buy up huge amounts of good clothing to sell overseas (I don’t know if this is still going on or not); used clothing chains that buy/sell at reasonable amounts for somewhat new goods like Plato’s Closet (perhaps this has given the thrifts an idea that justifies really high prices on newer items of clothing.) Goodwill even has its own auction site.

    Unfortunately I don’t see these absurd pricing schemes changing any time soon, and they do seem to have become worse.

    The bottom line with this matter is the same as it’s been as long as I’ve thrifted–if the price on something seems too high for you, don’t buy it. Then if no one else is willing to spend $40 on a Speedy Gonzales drinking glass in their “antique nook”, eventually they’ll have to mark it down to get it out of there.

  58. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    I usually have very good luck at the local Salvation Army and the hospital thrift stores. Shirts/pants for $4 each or less, etc. The only ripoff around here is Value Villiage, which thinks nothing of charging $8 for a 2nd-hand non brand-name tshirt, and $12 for pants. I can get brand new shirts and pants on the clearance racks at WalMart for those prices (or less!)

  59. Charley says:

    I never got the whole “selling stuff received for free at exuberant prices” at thrift stores like Goodwill. It would make sense to price the stuff to sell, encourage more people to shop and keep the donations/revenue moving.

    I worked in the back of a Goodwill one summer in high school (2005-2006), and whenever I could, I priced electronics “to sell” and most items were sold within a few days. There were more than enough items in the back to replace what was sold and new donations arriving daily.

    Battling with the inept manager over pricing decisions was the most annoying part of working there. The goal was to make at least $500 a week in sales, and I was told by the manager that most of the sales came from clothing.

    I remember one time a CRT iMac from 1998 was priced at $500 and was not selling. I repriced it at $80, it was gone in about an hour and close to a 5th of the weekly goal was met in one shot.

    I diverted my frustrations with the manager by using the employee discount (and the advantage of working in the back) to acquire items and sell them on eBay which made working the minimum wage job more bearable.

  60. Outrun1986 says:

    The prices at thrift stores are really outrageous here, a pair of worn out pants from the 80’s or 90’s commands $5 or more, sometimes up to $10. Old worn out quilts command about $20, coats are priced between $10-50, and I have seen many junky coats priced around $20. The prices on clothing only seems to go up over time as well.

    The caveat here is a lot of the merchandise at the thrift isn’t really in saleable condition especially when it comes to clothing, its very worn out and ugly.

    Contrasting you can get jeans for $10 here all the time, at least I find plenty of pairs for that price brand new, shirts for under $5 brand new are very common. Plenty of coats at Marshall’s (within easy driving distance of the thrift) for around $20-30 brand new, the same price the thrift is charging (I paid $30 for a very nice winter coat last year at Marshalls). Sweatpants get $5 a pair, trust me those are very common at retail stores for under $5 a pair.

    Color TV’s are cheap though, usually $8.99, of course I don’t know if they work or not, but I find that pretty cheap the thrifts could probably charge a lot more for TV’s and people would pay it. People at yard sales here have nerve to charge $30-40 for a small 13 inch color TV.

  61. Retired Again says:

    Over-charge? NOTHING NEW. Goodwill Industries is a franchise like McDonalds or other franchises. A non-profit franchise is a gold mine to its owners as their HUGE salaries and benefits are the reason for being.

    They throw away clothes, get a tax credit, buy “sale” clothes to sell to you. How do you think they afford the fancy buildings, etc. Notice Salvation Army does well but they cannot build million dollar buildings. I saw a Holiday Inn ashtray (free in rooms years ago) with a price tag of 75 cents! Was a donation but poor folks that have never stayed in a Holiday Inn will buy it for that excessive cost.
    I give to Salvation Army, and others. NEVER in past 25 years have I given to Goodwill.

    They employ the handicapped … YES and make a huge markup for it. Pay low wages for handicapped and then make a BIG profit on charging for assembling.

  62. Outrun1986 says:

    I also don’t donate to the goodwill or SA anymore, especially since Goodwill puts anything good up for sale on its ebay-like auction site where all merchandise is untested, so its like I am donating to some ebay reseller. This also means less or no good stuff to find in the stores since it all goes to the auction site. The SA and Goodwill will overprice items to the max and I am not supporting that with my donations. I also don’t shop at either store, because I never find anything at either that is worth buying for the prices they offer. Cry me a river when the SA is whining for donations..

    A thrift store that has low prices and is very nice to me and acts like they actually appreciate my donations will get bag after bag of my donations, but I don’t see any of that at the stores near me, so its time to take my donations elsewhere. Talking to other people in my city they feel the same way.

    If I have unwanted items I try to find a home for them on freecycle or give them to someone we know especially if the item is in really good condition and we are just done with it. I try to get the items into the hands of someone who really needs it or someone who can use it as best as possible while avoiding the corporate thrift stores.

  63. sopmodm14 says:

    well, it could be that nonclothing items are a loss-leader, and they recoup some of it on harder to find items….clothes gets brought in by the bundle, but other items aren’t, sometimes its supply and demand

    just shop around and vote with your wallet

  64. oldrat says:

    I understand the top priority for these thrift stores is to make money for their cause but as a person who has shopped at thrift stores religiously over the past 15 years I have dropped off considerably in the past 5 years due to the drastic increase of pricing.

    I am near poverty level [legally disabled] and thrift stores gave me a great opportunity to supply myself with clothing and household items. Now instead of finding great deals on a Saturday afternoon as I used to do I have to seriously consider my budget before buying a pair of jeans or a few coffee cups. Sounds petty to those who can afford brand new items but for us poor people not on the receiving end of Goodwill’s charity I greatly miss my 50 cent coffee cups and $1 shirts. They may be trying to bring in money but their prices are running off many of those who used to shop there. Everyone I know has cut their visits back to a minimum, if they enter the stores at all nowadays.

    The increased cost of living across the board is choking many people. Goodwill and Salvation Army used to be a great resource for the “borderline poor”. What is this world coming to when a poor person can barely afford Goodwill items? Come on, bring back human decency.

  65. outinthedark says:

    I completely disagree with the OP.

    The wonderful thing about 2nd hand thrift stores is most you can haggle the prices down. I know Salvation Army stores and Goodwill stores in VA do and yes they price everything at some mysterious flat rate. Only CHKD stores do not haggle. So just think of it as a starting point because they know that $5 shirt is going to be $3.50 or that $100 table set will be $80 after a few rounds of negotiating.

    I frequent at least a dozen shops 1-2 times a week. I’m on a first name basis with many managers and even have warehouse managers call me for new inventory that I’m looking for specifically (games, movies, electronics). Yes I haggle, I give bulk prices when I can, but I always make some kind of donation, be it old clothes or just a few bucks.

    It’s Goodwill, not an antiques dealer. I’m sure a helpful word to a manager that is it not authentic would be much more helpful than this negative email.

  66. lockdog says:

    Folks, prices are going up at thrift stores, but it is not because there is more demand (although there is). It’s because there is less supply. Thrift stores are entirely donor-centric. If you don’t have donors, you won’t have customers. But if you don’t have donors, or the quantity and quality of donations are falling, guess what? You still have to pay rent, utilities, salary for one or two people and put gas in that old truck. Expenses can easily run well above 50% though in a well run store they tend to be in the 15-30% of gross revenue range. What you need to remember when shopping at a thrift store is that unless you are getting there just as new merchandise hit the floor, all you are probably seeing is the accidentally overpriced stuff and the junk. Everything else sold within 1/2 hour of it hitting the floor.

  67. thekimk says:

    I have worked at a Goodwill on the retail side, intertwining with the production side at times.

    Every Goodwill is different. It’s not Wal-Mart, where there is a corporate guideline for every store. District-wise, sometimes yes. Companywide, hardly. Check out the Goodwill Facebook page. Somebody complains about something at their store, Goodwill FBer says they will contact that particular store’s bosses with the specific complaints.

    At the Goodwill I worked at, the pricing/donations team (who were paid and full-time, not just volunteers) had a basic guideline to price goods. Goods do not include clothes/shoes/etc. Wares, electronics, toys, furniture, etc. However, price guidelines aside, they were free to reasonably fluctuate up and down depending on condition. A Xbox 360 that came in its original box with all of its parts would be priced higher than a console and the power cords that came in a random plastic bag, for example. Usually they did a good job.

    However, you CAN’T expect a pricing guy to know the value of every single item that comes in through the donation doors, how to tell a real Chinese artifact from a well-made fake, or anything else. They would go host Antiques Roadshow or something instead! The pricing team does NOT go to Wal-Mart, Target, Old Navy, Hollister, and everywhere else during their time off from shifts to note how much every item in the mens, womens, and childrens department is priced. They are going to price something for more than it might be worth sometimes. However, in my stint, they price a LOT of things a lot cheaper than they were worth too. Those things sold, naturally, before I could buy them on my days off.

    Clothes in my store and district had a set guideline. For example, all tee shirts $2.39, jeans $4.99, shoes $3.99, dresses $4.99, formal/wedding dresses $9.99, and so on. It could be a Hollister t-shirt, a cheap Wal-Mart t-shirt, a Disney World t-shirt, or a shirt somebody screen-printed in their garage. It’d be $2.39, no matter what.

    There were few small exceptions, as noted elsewhere… Target merchandise. However, our Target merch was priced at about half of what we guessed was the original price (I am an avid Target shopper). The Target merch, like the donations merch, was priced by a staff member. In our case, by a manager. Again, while you can complain about Goodwill overcharging you for something Target sent to them, you need to complain about your particular store, because not all stores run alike or are priced alike.

    It’s a good place. Yes, some stores overprice. Some, like my former store, do a great job with pricing, blow through sales expectations, and have a good reputation in the community. There was a lot of heart among the staff, and most of us all actually LIKED each other compared to most workplaces where you tolerate each other. Customers liked us – and our prices – too.

  68. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    In my experience, Savers are better managed and have better merchandise and better prices than Goodwill. They also have electrical outlets beside the electronics for testing. Maybe it’s regional – I thought Value Village was overpriced – they are the same company as Savers.

    • APCO25guy says:

      Savers/Value Village are also for-profit corporations, unlike Goodwill, which operates it’s retail stores as part of it’s 501.C.3

      Goodwill Industries mission is to put people to work, and Goodwill Industries of Georgia does a great job of that, and in my experience, the various locations around Atlanta have reasonable pricing on items. Sometimes stuff is a little crazy high, or low- but I feel confident knowing when I donate items, they directly benefit the organization.

      Value Village and other for-profit thrift stores usually have higher prices, as often times have higher overhead, like occupation tax. All the Goodwill stores in GA are classified as non-profit, so they don’t pay business occupation tax, and sometimes get discounted rent and utility rates. This means a lower operating cost, and lower prices.

      For profit stores have to pay the going rate for all the above, and it usually reflected in their prices.

  69. grumpygirl says:

    as a person who shows only 2nd hand (other than socks and undies) goodwill’s pricing structure is far higher than the salvation army. they have set prices for most items, but shoot up prices for particular pieces they deem worthy.

    and no, volunteers are not doing the pricing. not there, not at salvation army, not at red white and blue. (and at the latter they have “discovered” cashmere, a development that broke my heart.)

  70. dragonpancakes says:

    The goodwills in my area usually charge twice what a TV season (on DvD) sells for new in stores.

  71. Fantoche_de_Chaussette says:

    They’re just trying to make some fast cash before bedbugs completely ruin their business model.

  72. JANSCHOLL says:

    I have donated a ton of stuff in recent years to Goodwill. But I wont ever shop there anymore. I went into the local store looking for some books, and happend to walk thru the clothing area. There I found three of the items I had donated in recent months priced higher than I had paid for them. One of the items had never been worn and even had the original sticker/tag which I left on with the price I paid and what I tried to sell it at a garage sale at. The Goodwill price was doubled. I am still happy to donate stuff but sometimes find myself also freecycling.

  73. Cindymiles says:

    Yes! I went in to use the bathroom as the consignment store next door to it didn’t have a public bathroom and they had brand new Halloween costumes that someone donated a ton of and they were more expensive than what you could get at target or TJ Maxx. I never go to Goodwill anymore. I don’t donate to them either. I prefer to free cycle and craigslist because people on craigslist will usually negotiate if they price something too high while at Goodwill it’s USSR style bureaucracy – no discount, no negotiation!

  74. stacyr says:

    Here in Topeka, My mother and I stopped going to Goodwill and Salvation Army stores once we started finding items with their original price sticker that has a lower price than the secondhand one. I’m not talking about something that is 5+ years old or a clearance retail price. There were a stack of the previous Christmas’s plates with a Target stick that said $1.00 and a Salvation Army sticker RIGHT NEXT TO IT that said $1.50 ea. I know for a fact that they were from the previous year because it’s a line that changes yearly and I had purchased one at full price.

  75. xiwang says:

    Blame eBay, in part.

    At my local thrift used bookstore, which operates as a fundraiser for the city libraries, everything seems to be priced based on what they could get if sold on eBay. There’s no such thing as a hidden bargain any more there.

  76. Alisha Gray says:

    I went to a Goodwill in Monroeville yesterday and found a copy of Star Wars Republic Commando marked at $30.00. I asked an associate how much it was, as I figured it was a typo and it was probably actually $3.00, which would make sense as the game sells for around $6.00 new. She assured me that no, it was actually $30, but that since it had been in the store since July (hmm… wonder why) it should have had $10 knocked off of it. I pointed out that it was five years old and retails new for around $5-6.00, but there was nothing they would/could do.

    Lolz.

  77. renswic says:

    I’ve noticed this as well. My wife and I shop 2nt hand stores mainly for clothing for us and our 16 month old. But we roam the store looking for other good deals. A month ago we went to the MRM(Montana rescue mission) a 2nd hand store that helps run and maintain a battered woman’s shelter. Armed with a camera and note book. We took pictures of common things we see in 2nt had stores and walmart. After that store we hit goodwill and did the same then we hit walmart.

    Of 20 Items we found 5 matching items at all 3 stores the other 15 items we were ableto find like items.

    Pricing 10 like items showed what we had been thinking. Goodwill stores averaged about 5-25% more in cost on all items then walmart and about 15-50% more then the local owned store.

    The 5 matching items were a little better but still more then new.

    5 items at goodwill did come across as cheaper then walmart(but more then local owned store). But lets be honest. Who would really buy a used with no warranty item when a new and in warranty item could be had for a couple of more dollars.

    One funny thing I have noticed about all 2nd hand stores is their pricing on clothing. If the tags on it are from walmart type stores it’s under a couple of dollars. Throw a name brand on them and the price jumps. I tried this with a generic motorcycle shirt that I stuck a Harley Davidson sticker on over the tag. Its pricing tag said $1.99 before it was ‘lost’ when the cashier asked a manager the price, the manager looked at the HD sticker and priced it at 13.99…

  78. balderdashed says:

    I really don’t think the word “ripoff” is fair or appropriate. Why shouldn’t Goodwill (or you or me, if we’re selling a used lawnmower) charge what the market will bear? In Goodwill’s case, at least the business model is helping people with disabilities, and the profits can do additional good. I don’t think I’m nitpicking when I say we should really reserve the word “ripoff” for goods or services that are marketed deceptively, or where the consumer is taken advantage of in some way that might not have been anticipated, or results from a serious market imbalance. If you sell me “hot buttered popcorn” and its not hot, and doesn’t have real butter, that’s a ripoff. If you design the box in such a way that you trick me into thinking I’m getting more popcorn than I am, that’s a ripoff. And maybe, if there is a flood or civil emergency and you’ve bought up all the clean drinking water and want a predatory $10 a bottle for it, that’s a ripoff. Likewise, if I need broadband access, and can only buy it from one monopoly that can price-gouge with impunity. But as long as the consumer has realistic options, there is no ripoff.

  79. TheBecoming says:

    GoodWill isn’t a garage sale or flee market. Its a business. But they are not in the business of selling stuff. The whole point of GoodWill is to train people so they can get jobs or provide them with jobs. Their stores are just a means of supplying revenue to fund that.

    With that being said, yes there are pricing sheets given to each store and each store might have a different one. From what I’ve seen, the more popular the store is the higher the prices.

  80. Eagle_020 says:

    Been there, done that…..

    My last Goodwill shopping trip was a bit over a year ago. I noticed the quality of merchandise declining over the couple of years prior. I attributed this to cherry-picking, both for selling through other means as someone already said, and by the employees themselves for their own benefit. Then on my last trip I ran into several things bearing K-Mart or Target price tags priced LOWER than the Goodwill asking price.

    Not hidden or difficult to see. One item, in a damaged box, had a K-Mart tag for $8.99 with a Goodwill tag for $10.99 right beside it. That was my last trip to Goodwill.

  81. mhutt says:

    I often shop at resale shops for my 3 kids and myself. I also have found prices I thought too high on an item currently being sold or similar to an item currently being sold. I print the item from the website and take it with me. Each time I have done this the store has reduced their price to 1/2 the price at the retail store.

  82. mllejanvier says:

    For this very reason I stopped donating to and purchasing items at Goodwill a while ago. Used blanket for $20? No. Faded Mossisimo jeans for $13? WTF.

    The final straw was finding a Boston shaker (which sell at bar supply stores for around $5) selling for $8.99. I laughed, rolled my eyes and never went back.

    I’ve noticed a similar trend in the way of used furniture of craigslist. In particular, Ikea furniture.

  83. KAnne123 says:

    I often see Dollar Store merchandise priced at $3-5 at my Goodwill (literally, things I’ve purchased at the local Dollar Tree the week before. Exactly the same.) I’ve also seen used slow cookers in poor condition marked $30 when you can a new one that price at Penny’s or Macy’s.

    A few of us where I work are thrift shoppers and all notice the same thing, so this isn’t just IMO. I’ve also had visiting relatives that like to thrift shop attempt to shop at our local Goodwill and think the prices were insane.

    I do like to look for used books there (paper backs are .75) but sometimes our store stinks so bad I walk in and walk right back out. Who knows.

    • DeathByCuriosity says:

      It stinks because people donate dirty clothing and Goodwill does not wash any of the donated items. I’ve heard stories of employees finding underwear with turds clinging to the inside or a random bag of used kitty litter thrown in with the clothes.

  84. Firevine says:

    Furniture prices at the one here are ridiculous (Newnan, GA). There was a neat looking shelving unit I liked recently, but I couldn’t justify the price. Also, $150 for a falling apart tube TV = not so much. $1.00 for records though? Yes, thank you, any day of the week.

  85. DeathByCuriosity says:

    I used to work for a Goodwill — not in a store, but in the administration — and I was unfortunately low enough in the pecking order to have “customer relations” added to my list of duties. That is, I fielded complaints.

    I had to deal will all kinds of cranky people calling about overpriced items when the items actually weren’t overpriced. It was just the same people calling to complain for the sake of complaining, irritated because they had to pay $5 instead of $3 for a t-shirt. I’m not making that up either. Some of them were complaining because they couldn’t buy Goodwill items cheaply enough to turn around and resell them for a profit at the local flea market as their “business.”

    That said, the OP may be right about shopping at Goodwill becoming “trendy” and this particular Goodwill is unwisely trying to cash in. It’s trendy because you can get good deals on neat stuff. If it becomes overpriced, the hipsters will go elsewhere.

    Also, OP, write to the CEO of the local Goodwill first, not the international Goodwill. Each Goodwill is locally managed and policies will vary from place to place. Don’t go to GII unless the local Goodwill blows you off.

  86. The Marionette says:

    Even though we have quite a few Goodwill within 15 miles, I usually go to other “local” secondhand shops and some which seem actually better than goodwill (in both price and quality). I honestly can’t say i’ve ever had that happen to me because I’ve only been to a goodwill once and saw the prices and left. Also with me being a game collector, the local secondhand shops tend to have old video games (sega genesis, atari, etc) for a cheap price and is a good alternative to ebay or amazon.

  87. Kardinal_Offsales says:

    A lot of people commenting on this story have invoked the law of supply and demand, i.e., if you believe something is overpriced don’t buy it. I don’t think that’s the point — the complaint here is that some thrift stores don’t seem to have any idea how little their merchandise is worth, or that some things are basically worthless. Why even display a blown-out Mickey Mouse t-shirt covered with grease stains, or charge a dollar for a broken-off part of a piece of obsolete solid-state hardware?

  88. chasingveronica says:

    Price gouging at Goodwill in CT and MA has been rampant since the advent of eBay. I started having issues with their pricing around 1999, and it has grown progressively worse each year since. I no longer shop there.

  89. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    …”She wore a raspberry beret, the kind you find in a second hand store…Raspberry beret, and if it was warm she wouldn’t wear much more..”

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

  90. CallieLucius says:

    In my area, New England, the Goodwill Stores are a bargain compared to the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army’s prices are nearly double those at Goodwill and no one seems to look for rips or stains in clothing.

  91. Jake Itch says:

    Much of the merchandise at GoodWill appears to be overpriced due to the frequent 50% percent off sales. In other words: it is priced 2x the actual amount they determine is reasonable, in hopes of finding someone who REALLY wants the item.

    GW stores in NW Indiana have those 50%-off-Saturday sales every few weeks, along with 1/2 price senior citizen days AND other coupons on the back of retail register receipts offering a $5 discount with a $10 minimum purchase.

    I was particularly amused last week when I saw a 25 year old cassette deck with a $160 price tag. Nakamichi was a good brand but who is going to risk that amount on outdated
    technology.

  92. Jake Itch says:

    Much of the merchandise at GoodWill appears to be overpriced due to the frequent 50% percent off sales. In other words: it is priced 2x the actual amount they determine is reasonable, in hopes of finding someone who REALLY wants the item.

    GW stores in NW Indiana have those 50%-off-Saturday sales every few weeks, along with 1/2 price senior citizen days AND other coupons on the back of retail register receipts offering a $5 discount with a $10 minimum purchase.

    I was particularly amused last week when I saw a 25 year old cassette deck with a $160 price tag. Nakamichi was a good brand but who is going to risk that amount on outdated
    technology.

  93. BayardMozie says:

    Stop whining. Nobody is forcing you to shop there. If it’s too expensive, don’t buy it. If *everything* is too expensive, stop going there and try some other local thrift stores.

  94. Billl says:

    Well now, you’ve all missed the greatest benefit. When you donate clothes to Goodwill, you get to write off the value….and what do you use to determine the “value”…thrift store prices!!!

    Tax win!

  95. Zydia says:

    The north Dallas Goodwills also have crazy pricing, such as $75 for a mustard-colored blazer that looked like it came out of the 70s – and not in the kind of style hipsters are into. I usually go to other local thrift stores instead, which have a better selection at lower prices.

  96. StevePierce says:

    If you don’t like their prices, don’t shop there. If more people do that, sales will go down and they will get the hint. But perhaps sales are up, so their pricing model may be working. It is there products, they can price them at whatever they want to.

    – Steve

  97. Dave Farquhar says:

    In St. Louis, Goodwill’s prices are through the roof, and they’re selling the best stuff that comes in online now. It never gets out of the back room.

    Most of what you’ll find in the store is picked over and priced higher than something comparable at Target. And if you buy it at Target and there’s something wrong with it, you can take it back for an exchange or refund.

    The other, smaller thrift shops are still worth going to, but Goodwill is pretty much a waste of time anymore.

  98. CorvetteJoe says:

    This is why I only shop there for clothing.
    Also, our several local Goodwill’s have a deal where they take all of Target’s damaged or returned items. Sometimes you can find a good deal. Other times not.

    I think a lot of the stuff in the OP is outdated pricing. $70 for a 14″ LCD monitor? LOL. But that’s why you should only stick to buying clothing there.

    if you want bargain furniture, go to garage sales. We find the best deals at garage sales.

  99. J Brill says:

    Apparently people are buying things or they’d have to lower prices.

  100. redskull says:

    After hearing a friend rave about the cool stuff at our local Goodwills, I went to both, and can honestly say I saw absolutely nothing worth bringing home, overpriced or not. The stuff on the shelves looked like people dropped it off there because it was too far to drive to the dump.

    More power to you folks who have cool Goodwills.

  101. Wolfbird says:

    Yes! I used to live next door to two places, the Salvation Army and Goodwill. My local Goodwill was generally pretty OK. Sure, they Norton Antivirus 1999 for like $20, but I honestly don’t expect the average person to understand that computer programs don’t age as well as everything else.

    However, that Salvation Army… ugh. It was HORRIBLE. I’d pop in on my way home from work because they’d have cool little things in the window, but without fail all their furniture was ridiculously overpriced. Like, scratched tables for $200. A stinky stained armchair, a bargain at $80! Look at this wonderful dresser, with its missing handles– you’d be crazy to pass it up at $120. It was so bad it wasn’t even funny. I never looked at the clothes or the books, so no comments there

  102. arizonaadam says:

    I saw a post hole digger in the corner of a Goodwill the other day. They wanted $15. Nothing special about it, wood handles, kinda small. I was thinking $5 when I walked up to it. They have to keep the lights on, but come on. I was shocked by the price. Problem is they don’t have standard goods, so it’s hard to price. But they missed a $5 or $7 sale of an item that cost them $0. Hmm …