Thursday, March 24, 2011

Goodwill...is it too expensive?

I'm cheap. Like really cheap. I do most of our shopping at garage sales (check out some of my past What I Wore Wednesday-Garage sale editions) but during the winter when it isn't garage sale season, I get a little antsy. Sometimes I get motivated to head into my local Goodwill and see what I can find.

I worked at Goodwill back when I was in High School. It was such a fun job. A treasure hunt of sorts nearly everyday of working and always first dibs (or so it seemed) on most things. The inventory was constantly changing and each box was filled with something different and it was a surprise every time you opened a box.

I know the key to finding the best deals at Goodwill is to shop often, but for me, it seems like Goodwill is just getting too pricey. I walked into the door today and found this dresser marked at nearly $200!
Don't get me wrong, this dresser is a beautiful piece. It has tons of potential, but $200? On something Goodwill got as a donation.
There were bed frames marked for nearly $600. Does that seem a bit pricey to anyone else?
This couch was marked $89. I know there are plenty of free couches on Craigslist that look similar to this one.

I also found pictures to be a bit on the expensive side. This picture wasn't anything special and it was marked $49.

I would have bought this cake stand but for $15? I could have found it cheaper on clearance.

Goodwill started carrying items from Target back when I worked there over 15 years ago. They are called Grey Goods. When I was working there, they were donations, now I am told (by the supervisor at Goodwill) that the Target items are bought (at a reduced price) and sold at a percentage off the retail price.

Which is why this piece is new and in the box cost $12.


Or why these frames cost $6.50 (the scratches come for free!)
This shirt didn't have any tags on it showing me that it was new from Target, but it was Target's brand. You can buy it for $8.99. Really? $8.99? I know of plenty of retail stores where I could buy this shirt new for around that price.


I remember seeing this same kids shirt last week. At $5.99 it doesn't surprise me that it's still there. The $5.99 price tag is the standard price for shirts in the kids department. At least many of them that I saw.

And speaking of prices, I thought it was funny that I saw a shirt with a $5.99 price tag from Goodwill, but the clearance price was only $4.48 at Target. If the product didn't sell on clearance at Target for that, why do they think they can get more for it at Goodwill?
I actually noticed that most of the items that were from Target had red clearance stickers at one point, but many of them were pulled off so that the Goodwill customer couldn't see the retail price.

When I spoke to the supervisor she told me that they are required to mark the Target items at a percentage off of the retail price and that most of the time that price is higher than the clearance price. So why not shop at Target instead? I think I would much rather spend my time checking often at Target for clearance sales, then checking often at Goodwill for their higher marked items.

The other trend I am noticing at Goodwill now is that since they are taking in more retail items and selling more new items, that the store has less character.


Rows and rows of plaid shorts


or end caps filled with Hanes socks doesn't seem like a treasure hunt to me anymore. And really, isn't that the best part?

I love that you can still find a diverse amount of items at the store. Someone in the back must know that trench coats are trendy this season because when I walked in, I found a whole rack of them. But, I am thinking that this 1980's trench coat isn't what In Style magazine was thinking.

And at a price tag of $29.99, I think I will pass.
Goodwill is even too expensive for me to do "gag" shopping at. This jacket would have been perfect for the 80's New Years party my husband and I went to this year, but with a price tag of $8.99, no thanks!

And with wedding season upon us, Goodwill had rows of wedding dresses all lined up. There were some great dresses, but like all things Goodwill, you have to hit the jackpot with finding the right size. Then I looked at the price tag...

holy smokes! $99.99 for this particular wedding dress from David's bridal. I know I've heard the commercials for David's bridal and know you can often get $99 BRAND NEW wedding dresses at their store. I've been a bride on a budget before and know that I would have much rather gotten my dress cheap from a bridal store, than cheap from Goodwill.

I also saw this lovely shoe display. These shoes were all marked for $14.99. That seems expensive to me for used shoes that aren't any special brand.

The Goodwill I remember operated on set prices and even those seem to be getting quite expensive. Check out the prices for books. We usually get our books from the library for free or at garage sales for a quarter a piece.

So I wonder, is this Goodwill trend just in my area? Is Goodwill getting to be too commercial and too expensive for anyone else? I am not impressed.

43 comments:

Andrea @ Keepin it Thrifty said...

Omg!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot believe these prices....what state do u live in?? Here n NC my goodwill prices are WAY LOWER! I shop at goodwill atleast once a week, this post has really inspired me to take a pic of my local goodwillso we can compare prices. Can't wait to see what others say about this


Xoxo Andrea

thopler said...

I live in a very expensive area (right outside of DC and Baltimore) and the prices are out of control at our Goodwill as well. I refuse to shop there. I don't want to pay those prices because I'm cheap but what about those who truly need to shop there? It's a disservice to them as well!

Christina said...

You are absolutely right!!!! I could've written this post for how I feel with my local thrift store right now...I KNOW that I can get cheaper things on clearance directly from the retail store instead of one that's already been worn...crazy!! And I also can't wait for yard sale season again!!!!

Cori said...

Oh! I think we would be great friends! My husband doesn't get the treasure-hunting spin, but he sure is glad I don't shop at Gymboree like my friends. I would NEVER pay $4 for a book at Goodwill when it's almost yard sale season and they're all 25-50 cents. You were strong for not buying that cake stand- I think I would have caved... : )

Ruth H. said...

Okay, all of that seems really overpriced. I live outside of Indianapolis, and there are still set prices at the local Goodwill stores. I've found shirts for $1.99 that still have tags on them from J.Crew, Banana Republic, etc. I bought a purse this fall for .99 that had tags on it from Target, clearance marked for $7.99. I have noticed that the furniture prices are creeping up, and I have to wonder if that is because of the trend to refinish old furniture--the demand has gone up?

So sorry that the Goodwill in your area is so pricey!

oneblessedmama said...

WOW! Our goodwill is not that pricey! All shoes are 4.49, and while some of the new target clearnace goods are overpriced, the clothes are always priced like the used clothing. I find the best furniure at our salvation army, because goodwill IS too pricey on that end, but nothign like this! I once found 4 pairs of genuine kids brand jeans, tags still on them for The regulars $3.99 each- you can be assured I scooped them all up! :-) Try to find a DAV, or a thrift run by a local mission there- you might have better luck!

Here On Crow Creek said...

Gah! I could not shop there. Here in NC the prices are a lot lower. You are right that would be no fun at all! You can come to NC and go goodwill shopping with me:)

The Extra Ordinary Bree said...

I hate the Goodwill! The Salvation Army is a little bit better and I know my money is going to a good cause as they do so much for our community. But there are no local thrift shops in my little east texas town... I have to drive 2 hours to Dallas to find them... sometimes it's totally worth the drive!

Amanda said...

I live outside of Indianapolis and I think our Goodwill prices are high too. Our clothes are set prices but they raised them...Adult shirts about $5 each - no matter what brand. Jeans $8/pair. I usually don't look at the specialty items because really? I can usually dig and find that they put out a Burberry shirt on the rack and have some RUE 21 shirt on the specialty rack. Our store does do 1/2 off once a month and every sunday the color of the week is 99 cents for clothes and shoes. If it's not 1/2 off (or 99 cents) I generally don't buy it. Our pictures are ridiculously high. Makes me mad everytime. Trying to hold off for garage sale season --- wooo hoooo!!!!

kristin said...

I think it all depends on the location. I have 3 near me that i visit frequently and they are all so different in their prices. The one closest to my work is the cheapest by far. The only thing thats not, and ive noticed it in all of the stores.. are the Target items. I actually got christmas stuff AT tarted after christmas cheaper than they were selling it for at Goodwill. But I have noticed that the two other stores are more expensive than the one store, which is why I go to the one store more often, and they have a better selection!

bryana said...

YES YES AND YES! I don't even go anymore! Even with the 20% off coupon they send out. I was in target yesterday and found RACKS of boys clothing 75% off. So the new pants were $4.00, the shirts were $2.90 I grabbed a ton, Because 10 min earlier I was in goodwill looking for a few shirts to tied my boys growth spurt over until summer clothing. $6.00 for jeans and $5.00 for shirts IS NOT a goodwill price IMO, and I was a bit disgusted that target had NEW stuff cheeper than at goodwill...it's nice to know i'm not the only one who things so!

Sarah said...

I live in Wisconsin, and every Goodwill store I've been to is priced like that. Goodwill is run like a corporation...their executives make a lot of money. I do my thrift shopping at St. Vinnie's and Savers now.

Suzy said...

I've found that in the Atlanta area, I can get the better prices at the privately owned thrift stores rather than Goodwill. Unless of course, they call it an "antique" store. Ha! And flea markets are an awesome place to find interesting things at decent prices.

Suzy

Sassy Sites! said...

I LOVED this post!!!! I live in Arizona and they opened a Goodwill down the street from me. I now have 3 within 5 miles of me. The "new" Goodwill that just opened is waaaaayyyy overpriced! I'm thinking that maybe because it's new means that they can price things high??? I spoke to someone about it as well, and she said she all the Goodwill stores are priced the same...they are NOT!!! The other day, they had a wedding dress priced $200! That's how much I spent on MY wedding dress, brand new, on clearance at David's Bridal. It's so frusterating! The dresser and bed frame you posted cracked me up! I can totally relate to those prices at MY Goodwill... UGH!!

LF said...

WOW- Those prices are crazy!! Our local Goodwill has started pricing things higher and higher too. Although they are still lower than the prices you show. At one time I shopped at Goodwill at least once a week. Now it is more like once every 2 months. When I am there, they are never busy. I think they are hurting themselves. Years ago, our GW had 1/2 price days or $1.10 sale days. They discontinued those. Plus now they have started pricing anything decent as a "special" item - translation = higher priced! I prefer our other thrift stores. Goodwill has taken away the fun of thrifting!!

Amy said...

You're right about Goodwill. You can still find good stuff for cheap, but you have to really dedicate yourself. I prefer the grungier thrift stores... they are full of surprises and are usually priced extra low.

Christa said...

Wow! Those prices are insane. Just last month I walked out of my local Goodwill with a huge garbage bag stuffed full of kids clothes and a pair of leather boots for me and my total cost was $28.00

Joanna said...

Unfortunately the thrift stores seem to be marking a lot of the name brand things up. Our Goodwill marks things up and figures if it doesn't sale at that price it will sale when that tag color goes half price. Fortunatley they don't know a lot of the great brand names out there, only the ones that are a bit more popular. Although good quality items have a look to them and they figure it out sometimes! Its disapointing that they do mark things up ridiculously high like that, it makes it hard to find a real treasure, to me half of what makes it a treasure is the bargain!

Cerise said...

I stopped going to big thrift stores a while ago because of this. If they are trying to raise money for charity they are totally going about it the wrong way. I can go to Walmart and Target, shop the clearance racks and get stuff cheaper and NEW...why bother with Goodwill. I would rather go treasure hunting at a garage sale and help out my neighbor.

Kimber said...

Surprisingly the Gig Harbor Goodwill is cheaper than that! Well, most of the time. But I totally agree with you....garage sales first, then craigslist or the Goodwill. Just wish garage sale season was longer here in the NW! :)

wingchick99 said...

Our salvation army's here in MI are nothing like that and every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday they pick a color tag and do a 5 for $5 sale

Fourth Daughter said...

All the op shops (thrift stores) here are getting pricier too now, the bigger ones, at least. They're all turning into more of a business than they were before. It's a shame but I suppose they have overhead costs to meet, just like any business. I still shop there but things are definitely not as cheap as before.
By the way if you want to check out some op shop finds from Melbourne, go to http://melb-opshopping.blogspot.com/

and I also blog about how I remake my op shop finds (among other things) at http://stylewilderness.blogspot.com/ so visit if you like!

sjk said...

Our goodwill is way cheaper than that,but still sometimes I wonder if its even worth it,womens jeans are $4,babys 0-2 are all $2 each item,and all other kids items are $3 each.I have started shopping at Walmart for the few items of clothes I cannot make for my girls,although more and more Im deciding if I cant make it they dont need it.Look in your areato see if you have a Meals On Wheels Mart,I find they are cheap,like all clothing is $1 unless otherwise marked,but Im finding their prices too are slowly rising.Im planning on going garage saling every saturday morning this summer,last summer I was able to get a $400 fireplace for $45,I have much better luck with garage sales.

donna said...

totally agree with you! i'm in california and the prices at my goodwill is just like yours. i did notice the target stuff a while back. i only buy items that are on sale (color tag sale) b/c it's just too expensive for used items.

maybe they're hiking up the prices knowing that thrift shopping is the trend now and they want to take advantage of it.

Cristofina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
goldonarrow said...

this is exactly what we are dealing with in east palmdale, california. if anyone knows where that is it is in the high desert about 60 miles out side of LA and not the rich area AT ALL!
I was in the GOODWILL there today and saw boots, used by Timberland for $29, heck you can go to the outlet and buy them new for that. The manager told me that they have to mark up all brand names now . Shirts that are from the Gap are 9.99..used!!! Thats insane, Im not going to donate Im going to sell my own stuff and make some money!

goldonarrow said...

one more thing i forgot to say!
This is a great post!!

N @ Cheap Like a Birdie said...

I couldn't agree more! I was once a huge goodwill shopper but I've lost interest in them for these very reasons. I even wrote a post on my blog Here called BAD GOODWILL

Check Out- Cheap Like A Birdie Blog

Barry said...

I just saw a children's toy at a "boutique" Goodwill here in Portland, Oregon that was missing pieces and priced at $12.99. I know this toy cost less than $10 new at IKEA. It makes me angry when I see junk and obsolete technology priced as if they were new. It astounds me that they think they can price things so high - in some cases more than if the item was new. Goodwill does indeed suck.

diannaray said...

I have noticed the exact same thing- outrageous prices on used, often scuffed or damaged products. I used to truly LOVE Goodwill shopping, but now I just leave empty handed and angry at their silly high prices ($10 for a $1 vase??! $500 for a 70's dining table with rusted legs?!!) and clothes as you mentioned rising by the second- I'm on the prowl for new options for my quirky sense of style and my budget. I no longer donate to goodwill and advise others against it. GW is becoming just another greedy corp.

Solange said...

I went in yesterday for the first time in six months. I saw broken items with stickers charging 99 cents. All the prices were outrageous gouges. I asked a chick working there: "So what - has Goodwill become the Dollar Store of Junk? It's ridiculous." She apologized and said she thought so, too. I won't ever check the Goodwill again. I'm going to a local hospice thrift shop with my donations.

Kimberlee said...

Goodwill is also outrageously priced in my town! They had a used rug that was fraying priced at $125! The other day all of my other thrift stores that I frequent were closed for the holiday and I was bored so I stopped at Goodwill... bleh. TOO EXPENSIVE! Today I went to a different thrift store in my town and ended up getting 4 awesome purses and a trivet for $5... Goodwill would have had one of those purses priced at $5 alone!

Meg said...

Your goodwill IS way overpriced! Man, I can't believe what they are charging. And I absolutely LOVE Andrea @ Keeping it Thrifty's idea to take photos at your local goodwill and compare prices. A fine idea for a link party, I think!

Jesma Mohan said...

No kidding. I live in Pittsburgh and it is the same story here. There are three Goodwill stores where i live and the smallest one is the cheapest( but it is still expensive). They had target curtains which were on clearance in target for 10 bucks for 7 bucks which was okay and then i go to the other goodwill and they have the same target curtains for 20$. It was insane. I have not been there ever since. They are a rip off

Jeanne said...

I shop Goodwill for tops & sweaters which are priced at a gut wrenching $4.07 each. But I rarely find my size at a garage sale. At this one particular Goodwill they always have a large changing variety. Even my plus sized specialty shops rarely mark down that low. I always find at least one item I like. Surprisingly this one store also has other items reasonably priced, but I have also seen completely out of line prices like you show. The Salvation Army is better (tops are $2.07!) but nothing really beats a garage sale!!

~StEr~ said...

I know it has been quite a while since you posted this blog but YES! I went into the good will today and I hadnt been since June 2010 when I first got my dog, I simply went in to look for a couple of stuffed animals for my dog. I remember I used to get big about a foot sized stuffed animals (some even new, but mostly all used) for a buck...actually ANY size was a dollar, it was great! my dog tore up so many of those! But just toady I walked in and WOA BUDDY! a small stuffed animal like a 6 inch one was $1.99!! and larger ones anywhere from 2.99-5.99!!! I was like NO WAY! but Since i saw this I started to look around, looked at the books and yes they were all over 1.99, and no familiar titles, also looked at shorts (even though I dont buy used clothes but curiosity just kept increasing) and they were 6.99 for sweat pant material shorts!! Just yesterday I went to JcPenney to but shorts and found them at 4 bucks!!! Not only was all the furniture I saw scratched and bumped or old, but none was less than 49.99 even a small coffee table! I feel sorry for the people who buy there, they are getting ripped off! and the sad part is these people probably dont know how to shop out side of the Thrift store so this is all they have!:(

smalltowngrl said...

It's ridiculous. & makes me so sad, I love the treasure hunt! I won't even donate to goodwill because they'll just overprice my free items. We have an awesome local salvage store that benefits our Boys & Girls club, trinity mission, and SOON a salvation army! Maybe goodwill will learn someday...

Unknown said...

I live in Indianapolis and our Goodwills have some great deals. The first Saturday of the month everything is 50% off, plus with the Goodwill rewards card (completely free by the way) there is always 10% any purchase of $20 or more, so first Saturday of the month I can get 60% off my entire purchase.

I do agree that things are overpriced usually, which is why that's the only day of the month I shop at Goodwill. It's always packed too no matter which one I go to, people are lined up across the parking lot waiting for opening.

I find so many expensive brands, lots of times with original tags still on. I usually walk out with 40-60 items of clothing and never have paid more than $90 at a time. My family is always dressed very nice :-)

Unknown said...

I just posted about the Indianapolis Goodwills and forgot to mention...all prices are set on clothes (expect for shoes), so brand names are not marked up higher than cheaper brands. For instance all jeans are I think around $5.99 regardless of brand. Shirts and non-jean pants are like around $4 each.

Kid clothes are all $1.99 per item. So with 60% off those prices I can't complain. Plus they randomly put coupons on your rewards card for $5 off your purchase.

K. Barber-Flower Farmer said...

I just Googled "Goodwill prices too expensive," and found your blog. I agree our Goodwill is expensive for used donated items? Crazy isn't it. I rarely shop there I usually go to Ross and it smells better not like old musty clothing. P.S. our Goodwill is only a year old.

Susan D said...

I totally agree. While your GoodWill is even more expensive than mine, I think it has gotten out of hand. There is a Salvation Army right next to a Wal Mart and I can find cheaper clothes at Wal Mart.
The Outlet is even worse. I can find clothes at garage sales for $.25 each, but the outlet is $1.59 a pound. You can only get maybe 2 shirts for a pound. Jeans or a jacket are all more than that.
No thanks!

Teresa Bohanan said...

I stopped into Goodwill in Peoria, IL yesterday to find their prices have skyrocketed. I thought the store was designed to help those in need??? We are not poor, but struggle very hard to make ends meet. Goodwill needs to change their name now. They no longer cater to people like my husband and I. You have to make a good income to afford to shop there. I saw many items I could get cheaper at Walmart. They will no longer get my donate items. Somebody is gettin' rich off of donations!!!

Brad Brown said...

I live about 30 minutes north of Atlanta, GA. There are three Goodwills I shop that are within 10-30 minutes of one another. Pricing for clothing is reasonable for the items I purchase ($2.96 tee shirts which are sorted by color, $4.96 blue jeans/polo shirts also sorted by color) at all three stores. I have not yet seen premium pricing for named brand men's clothing.

I have, however seen increased pricing for other items I shop for regularly - Sporting goods mostly. $2.71for three used tennis balls in a can continues to baffle me to the point where I've been tempted to approach a store manager and ask if they seriously believed they would sell used tennis balls for that price. Maybe it's GW's way of keeping those on a limited income off the courts. Oh, there were two new igloo coolers with wheels priced at $24.95, basically retail.
There are good deals to be had for savvy thrift shoppers. Just this week I picked up a full sized Ole Miss football helmet for $3.47. Since I'm not a Rebel fan (Hook Em'!), the helmet has been listed on Ebay.
I hope it sells for $50, seed money for my next thrift shopping trip.
Happy hunting and happy holidays!