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Shop Other Thrift Store Before Goodwill

I was just reading the comments on the "Saving Money On Jeans" post, and I agree with the poster who said that Goodwill is getting "expensive"! There was a bigger, nicer Goodwill building built here in my city a few years ago, but on recent trips there, I've noticed that the prices are rather high (at least for a thrift store, in my opinion). My best friend used to work for them, and said that they often get brand new merchandise donated to them from Target and other stores. However, there are at least two other different thrift stores here in my city, and I know that at least one of them also gets donations from Target, and they have much lower prices.

Once I bought a Target item from Goodwill, only to find it about $1.25 cheaper at Salvation Army! So my tip is to check out all the thrift stores in your area and compare prices. You might find some of the same items there, and get them cheaper than you would at Goodwill. I do still shop at Goodwill, but after I've looked at the other thrift stores first!

By Lisa from Kenosha, WI

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By Edna01/03/2010

I have been volunteering at a church thrift store for the last year .And for the last 6 months now, they have free stuff Mondays, (clothing,books household and more). And have given things for a lot of causes. Very nice and clean place and very low prices, 80% of all clothing is always .50 each. A real old fashion thrift, on the north side or racine, (revival thrift store).

By cybergrannie [30]12/21/2009

I have found that Goodwill & Salvation Army are entirely different even in the same city. Local managers have a lot of room to make changes and they usually do as they please as long as money is coming in. Gainesville, FL has a "new" Goodwill that looks like a dump all the time. Their Salvation Army is a true dump. Prices are still not cheap.

Ocala, FL has a beautiful Salvation Army that sells great items but prices have recently gone up also. Goodwill here is known as the "Goodwill Boutique" because of the high prices. Another Goodwill sells everything by the pound so sometimes you can find a good buy but it takes a lot of time sorting through as lots of stuff is just thrown in "tubs".
Bargains are usually found at church or true charitable thrift stores and some yard sales. It is also very difficult to find truly disabled workers at the Goodwill stores.

By Anonymous [848]12/21/2009

EIW, I hope you reported that instance to the Goodwill superviser with a description of the worker. That's a decades (probably centuries) old way of employees being able to steal items. They come back after store hours and trash dive to retrieve them.

By EIW [13]12/21/2009

I used to donate to Goodwill on a regular basis - every time I cleaned out my closet or house. Last time, as I was pulling away from the behind the store drop off, I observed one of the employees throwing my NEW pair of woman's boots into the dumpster. I now take my donations to Salvation Army and shop there and church thrift shops avoiding Goodwill if at all possible. I have talked to the men from Salvation Army and they showed me how, when they have an abundance of clothes, they bundle extra items and ship to 3rd world countries to help them. Nothing is wasted. And, they keep their prices lower so others can afford to dress warmly and neatly.

By Lelia Jo Cordell [49]12/21/2009

I've discovered the St Vincent de Paul thrift store in our town to have excellent merchandise at great prices. In spite of the good I know Goodwill does (I'm a former client after a car wreck going on 7 years ago,) I've found their prices consistently too high.

By Jane Rader [3]12/20/2009

We used to get a $10. coupon for every $100. we spent at Goodwill using our Goodwill card. NO MORE folks. They raised it to $400. Now you must spend $400. before you get a $10. coupon.
Goodwill is not for the poor. The CEO of Goodwill is the highest paid CEO of all charitable organizations. I urge you all to write letters of complaints to Goodwill CEO and boycot Goodwill. Don't expect a reply. They don't want you complaints, Just your money. Readers are right, You do better at other thrift stores.

By Wendy Early [1]12/20/2009

I too shop at our local Goodwill(s) and have found the prices creeping up. We go to Salvation Army and other local thrift stores. Can't understand why Goodwill's prices are going up. It's very annoying!

By kimsukie [3]12/20/2009

I worked at Goodwill in the late 80's. I thought their prices were high then for them to be receiving donated (free) items. They also would only reduce there prices so much, rather than next to nothing like they got it. If they didn't get what they wanted they would trash the items rather than donate them or sell at the old Goodwill prices Cheap, next to nothing, at a price a homeless person could afford, or a single parent with very little money. I have not donated 1 item to Goodwill since 1989. And never will.

By Betty [104]12/20/2009

I've quit donating to Goodwill for the reasons stated. I have my doubts as to the help they give the community. I give to people thru my local Freecycle online. Probably some of the people there are acquiring things to sell but if they are trying to make a living going that route, it's fine with me.

By Betty [104]12/20/2009

I quit shopping Goodwill long ago after I found things MUCH cheaper even at department stores. I really don't like shopping at Walmart because of the way they treat their employees. I've found my best bargain at other thrift stores and clothes I buy my Grandsons are more often than not cheaper at Kohl's than Walmart using the coupons from Kohls.

By Bailey36 [7]12/20/2009

I've noticed that Goodwill for many years is going the same route as the Red Cross, they are for profit agencies that claim to be non-profit, Goodwill [and Volunteers-of-America] pockets most of their income, and charge huge prices for all-donated item, it is shameful. I prefer St. Vincent De Pauls, I cal it Vinnies, the one by me allows me to buy a huge basketful of goodies for $3.00.

I've sent people for help to the above agencies and both Goodwill and Volunteers tell them there is no money, right. After i saw them deposit a van load full of five gallon buckets of cash! Yes, literally they take their money to the bank in five gallon buckets. Go to Vinnie's.

By Linda [1]12/20/2009

As a former Goodwill Production Manager I completely agree with you Lisa. Goodwill knows that people will keep shopping their stores so they will keep raising the prices. It has gotten out of control and outrageous over the past few years. They know it!

I now shop at the local Habitat Store for a mere 10¢ on the exact same item at GW for $2.00. To me, it is worth the extra mile of gas to get the much better deals.

By Pamela [3]12/20/2009

We have all but stopped going to Good Will or Salvation army stores in our area. They fix their prices according to prices in the cities and we are rural. Another reason is we have seen things thrown away by Good will that were perfectly fine to sell. I don't know what that was about, but folks started going through their dumpster and Goodwill had a fit about it. (and no, it wasn't drop offs)
Seems strange to me so I would just as soon go to another store.

By Gloria Hayes [18]12/19/2009

Amen, sister! I have actually found a set of glasses which used to be carried by Dollar General, and I never saw them anyplace else, until I found an odd-number, pieces-missing used set at Goodwill. More expensive than the exact same glasses, Brand new, at Dollar General. Dollar General was still carrying these glasses at the time, so it wasn't an issue of them being antique or a collectors' item. They were just overpriced!

If you will notice Goodwill locations,the ones near housing projects seem to have higher prices..lots of people in public housing have no transportation to go anywhere else,so they have no choice but to pay the higher price.
As far as all that ballyhoo about 'providing job training'-where are all the jobs in a flooded,hurricane ravaged area where thousands of people are homeless?
During Hurricane Katrina,the shelves and racks in my hometown salvation Army were almost bare, and they were understaffed because most of the employees were already in Louisiana, or were taking their shots to provide them at least some protection while they went bravely into the cesspool New Orleans had become.

At Goodwill, that same day, I spoke with the district manager who happened to be in the store, and asked him why it was business as usual;weren't they sending goods or personnel? His reply? "We don't provide any sort of disaster relief".

I asked, "then what DO you do to help people in need?'
Him: "We train people to become employed"

I said "So does the Dept. of Labor, Job Corps,employment agencies and the like" He stared at me a couple of seconds, then turned on his heel and walked off. I wonder how all that"job training" tasted that night to the hungry children; how warm it was to the rain soaked, shivering thousands...you get the picture.

I have never known anyone who was fed at the local Goodwill shelter, or received assistance to keep the heat on,or got a new start when the house burned down, or even received one can of food from Goodwill.
So where does the money go? The ratio of income from sales and expenses for training have got to be out of balance! And where are all these Goodwill-trained executives? I knew a lady once who said Goodwill trained her for her job. She cleaned the toilets and living quarters at a federal training Center.

My father said in World War Two, he was trapped in a foxhole under fire for two weeks in the Philippines, cold and wet and hungry, and suddenly someone jumped down in the foxhole with him.Before he could turn and fire his weapon, he saw the thermos of hot coffee, and the Salvation Army uniform. Amen

By Mike Urciolo [5]12/19/2009

Another good "buy" at thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation army, whatever) are picture frames with good matting. Doesn't matter what picture is already inside - you can throw that away. I've had about 15 pictures matted and framed at a local art dealer who does beautiful work, but it's costly. The bulk of the cost isn't labor - it's parts (frames & matting).

I usually keep a xeroxed copy of smaller art prints I want framed and bring them into the stores to see how it looks against their frames & mats.

By Cyinda [214]12/19/2009

Remember the Goodwill help others.

Goodwill may be expensive, but they literally saved my ex-father-in-law's life when he was living on the streets about 30 years ago. Eventually he worked his way to becoming one of the higher-up's & started helping others (it's a very long story). So I just wanted to remind you, that when you shop at Goodwill, you are helping lots of people get back on their feet. Goodwill also helps the handicapped, both the physically handicapped and those with mental handicapped that can't get other jobs.

Goodwill and the Salvation Army are a wonderful organizations & are having a very hard time this year because people that usually donate money don't have jobs & may need help themselves. Don't get me wrong, I always shop where the prices are cheap, but it does take a little bit of the sting out of the higher prices when you remember that you are helping others with the extra money you spend!

Another tip, look for other Thrift Stores that are run by volunteers working to help organizations like this. In Seattle we have a wonderful thrift shop that's totally run by volunteers that helps kids without money or insurance at the Children's Hospital Thrift Store. You can even get a tax credit if you donate to them. We also have several thrift stores run by local churches and one ran by the American Cancer Society. It's always nice to know you are helping others with your donations and your purchases.

By Anonymous [848]12/19/2009

A very good idea to 'shop' but what about the price for gasoline being spent driving shopping around? There's no savings there :-(

As for the negative posts here: I know Goodwill stores price differently in every state and city because prices are all relative to your particular area. It depends on the amount of rent and utilities that particular store has to pay (imagine the rent in a larger city for the square feet of their store and how much they have to pay for electric, water, etc) and the whole point of Goodwill Industries is to train the less fortunate (whether simply uneducated, mentally, emotionally or physically disabled, or a recovering addict) to be able to work a future job that the majority of people turn their noses up at! The majority of people who work for Goodwill donate their time and the ones being trained are not paid.

As for clothes being so crammed on the racks, well, maybe that's because so many people are donating for a good cause but no one is willing to spend time and effort and pay the local going rate as in the days of old. Also, clothes on the rack might get stretched out from people pulling on them and being crammed in but they go back in shape easily by being tossed in the next wash load ;-)

As for if anyone thinks a price is too high for any item? How about old fashioned asking for a lower price at the counter even if it means a bit of time to wait for the supervisor to come on the floor to talk to you ;-)

By Joan [13]05/21/2009

I have thought all of the thrift stores in my area have been getting higher priced for several years. Also I have an awful time finding decent clothes those places. They jam them on the racks so tightly that it doesn't take long for the clothes to get stretched out of shape.

By lockhart (Guest Post)01/21/2009

The Goodwill today is much over price for what they sell, and in many case's you would be better off going to walmart and looking for sales, or a real thrift store. These items were once given to them to help others in need and at afordable cost. What happen to that?

By Virginia Gudgel10/22/2008

I couldn't agree with you more! Additionally with Goodwill their prices are all over the place. An example: The PC I'm using at the moment is a Strawberry iMAC I paid $20 for at one Goodwill about 5 months ago. Over the weekend I went to a different Goodwill and saw another iMAC in the "special" case (you know, for those valuable items) with $300 written on it. WTH?? I had them remove the iMAC from the case so I could test it (they also had a mac keyboard/mouse with it); it powered up slowly but the mouse/keyboard didn't work. A different thrift store in the area was trying to sell similar models for $129 or higher. They sat for months (actually they're still there). Yesterday I was at a thrift store that's recently jumped on the whole green movement by renaming themselves to EcoThrift. They had an "ok" Dell laptop w/dead battery (but powers up) in the case for $400. I told them and a few customers around that this wasn't a good deal since you can buy one on Craigslist for $250 or less. Plus a new battery would be around $70.""

By Kathy (Guest Post)03/09/2008

Here in the south, Goodwill has gotten so high that I can buy almost everything cheaper elsewhere. I stopped going there years ago. We have some really good thrift stores that go for many worthy causes, AA ,battered women,etc.. Once you check their prices,you'll never pay "retail" prices, like Goodwill again.Just my personal opinion. Thanks

By FRUGAL THRIFTER (Guest Post)02/24/2008

I volunteer as manager on Saturdays at a church thrift shoppe. Every month that has 5 Saturdays in the month, on the 5th Saturday we have a $5 bag sale. Whatever fits in the bag sells is $5.00. Many frugal people visit our shoppe then. Our prices are low and we have good quality items. Many other church thrift shoppes also have the $5.00 Fill a bag sale several times per year. I live in the ft. Lauderdale area, everything here is very expensive.

The goodwill here is super expensive. The salvation army has all clothing 1/2 price on Wednesday for people over 55 years old and also each week there is a different colored ticket 1/2 off. I need good quality clothes to wear to work. Sometimes I can find items in great condition super cheap.

By Mary Koehler [8]02/08/2008

Lisa, Where are the other thrift stores in Kenosha that you shop at?

By jean (Guest Post)02/08/2008

In the western NY area, there are AmVets and City Mission thrift stores whose prices are very reasonable.

By Debbie Dzurilla [24]02/08/2008

I prefer garage sale prices over the thrift stores in my area but occasionally do find some good things for decent prices at the thrift stores. YES, Goodwill is very high....I am amazed sometimes at the prices I see.....I looked at tops and such for my daughter and the prices were in some cases as high as sale prices at Wal-Mart for brand new...and these were used! A very nice large new Goodwill was built in my town and I do go there on occasion but I rarely make a purchase!

By (Guest Post)02/08/2008

The Salvation Army is much more expensive around here. The Goodwill has raised their prices, but they are still a good deal. I think garage sales in nice neighborhoods are still the best deals.

By pam munro [447]02/07/2008

Prices in thrift shops vary - But watch - even they have sales...I got a vintage colored lithograph, framed, for $7 at a sale at the Salvation Army! It helps to have a repertoire of stores - and to visit them regularly - & also look in at ones when you are out of town...I got a hair straightener for $7 (worth $35, at least) down in San Diego on a visit -

By Cyinda [214]02/07/2008

This is true, Goodwill IS getting expensive... BUT, unlike Value Village (a chain of super-clean but expensive thrift stores on the West Coast) AT LEAST you know your money that goes to Goodwill Industries DOES go to a good cause... They picked my Ex-father-in-law up off the streets when he had drunk himself out of his home & he stayed sober long enough to become their regional manager! ... We also have several thrift stores in our area run by The Cancer Society & Children's Hospital... This money goes to help fund families that can't pay for medical treatment. I live in a suburb of Seattle & when I see higher prices at thrift stores I ask myself "WHERE IS the money going?" & will I at least help someone by paying these higher prices OR is this a "for profit" Thrift Store? Also, recently at a Cancer Society thrift store I showed them a super-high priced item & told them I do a LOT of thrift shopping & the price was 4 times what it should have been & they reduced the price for me, Which I thought was very cool! This also happened to me at the goodwill. It all depends on who's working the counter & their store policy... Now, we all know that doesn't happen often, but don't be afraid to ask (in a nice voice) & with good manners about them reducing the price of an over priced item... You MAY get lucky!

I have seasonal employment & live on a super-tight budget part of the year, so it gets pretty hard when even the thrift stores (which I depend on) raise their prices! We recently had a super-cheap chain of local thrift stores go out of business because their large building rent was raised... They couldn't afford it, so they closed down ALL of their stores... BOY-OH-BOY were a bunch of us loyal customers bummed out (I'd been shopping there for over 25 years!)... Let the GOOD thrift stores know that if they DO bring up their prices you'll take your business elsewhere and don't be afraid to tell them when you can buy something NEW for less money! They may very well think change their prices.... It's usually the people working in the back who can't speak English (in Seattle) that do the pricing, but I DO ask their manager to relay to them that their pricing has been high lately. (Usually it's a new employee) Especially when I think a new "pricer" has gone to far & made something totally unaffordable & is ridiculously priced... & sometimes, they DO have a "little talk" with them.... This helps ALL the customers, so speak up (nicely) Guys!

By Ann02/07/2008

If you shop at Goodwill on the 10 items for 5 dollar days you can get jeans for 50 cents.

I dont wear pants or jeans but those days you can get good clothing for cheap.
I buy all my clothes at Goodwill as I am not a slave to fashion and prefer the classic styles.

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