Thursday, February 24, 2011

On My Soapbox About Goodwill Stores

I may get a backlash when I post this, I'm ok with it...I already know that Goodwill does good things, and that they help people find their way to a better career.  I also think it's great that for the most part folks who cannot spend or do not want to spend extra cash can shop there.  I do not have a problem with them trying to make a LITTLE extra with the whole Shop Goodwill Online thing.

But I think it has gone too far.

I have all but given up on shopping Goodwill stores, and I have been a faithful customer for years!

First-- they cleaned up the stores.  Now, I know that sounds like a crazy complaint.  What?!!!  They color coordinated?!  They stopped smelling funky?!!  They separated the glass plates from the shoelaces?!!!  How DARE they!  Well, okay--some changes were necessary...but I didn't like it, it lost all the fun of the 'dig'.

---Sidenote---as a child digging was really important to me, I used to secret myself away to the recycling center/land fill about half a mile from my house.  I thought I was an archeologist, this was abruptly put to a halt when I brought home pieces of a very used old toilet.  When my Mom came into the backyard and saw my friend Holly and I with our ancient potty shards I lost my funding so to speak.---

Second-- they raised prices.  Still I shopped there, I thought...shame on me for being upset about paying a bit more for clothes or what not, Goodwill is helping people!  Nevermind that everything is donated...this is a good company.  So I dished out the 4.99 when it used to be .99 cents, and kept on shopping.

Third-- They started to build fancier stores.  All the Goodwills around here--except the one in Marysville, Ohio (which thank goodness is still a fun place to shop) are in these new free-standing buildings.  I know that they have said it's cheaper to do it that way, and maybe it is...but really?  In St. Mary's Ohio there is a sad empty storefront in a downtown area that could really use a boost to the community.  It's not a place where there's lots of crime, there was parking there and even a little coffee shop near by, and it helped people shop in the downtown area which was good for other businesses.  That Goodwill was moved to a free standing building in a town 7 miles away right across from Walmart.  And they raised their prices again.

Fourth--And this is the one I am most put off by...they have now ordered all their shops to send anything that has vintage value...or is signed or looks nicer and older to ship it to their center for the Shop Goodwill Online Auction site.  That means lil old me, who makes my living hunting for things of value that others have given away, or are getting rid of has to bid against Jo Schmo in LA with extra cash who can take a gamble on the big bag 'o' jewelry that is now up to 75.00 dollars in bids.  I can't afford that.  75.00 is a car insurance payment, or groceries, or GAS, lol.

I read recently that CEOs of Goodwill make upwards of 200,000+ every year.

 Hmmm...Is it possible that the good idea of a Non-profit company with good intentions has gone astray?

I now enjoy estate sales, and little church thrift stores, and garage sales of people I have come to know...people in the communities Goodwill claims to help.  I think they are helping, but I think they could maybe do more if they reigned themselves in, reset their vision, took a smaller corporate salary, and kept some of the terrific things that are donated in the communities that donated them.

Just a thought.


  1. Amen, sister- well said! No backlash here, we've noticed the same things in our local stores as well. I desperately miss the old way of shopping there; the rummage bins, the in-store auctions where you could leave a silent bid in a book (and not have to compete with Joe Schmo in LA!), finding honest to goodness treasures on the shelves, even the funky smells!! Goodwill jumped the shark for me when head office mandated a chain wide cancellation of the auctions. Soon after, the prices spiked, the treasures evaporated, one store closed, and the other down sized. Wonder how much in the way our of vintage valuables we're sending stateside for the online auctions...
    Thanks for the post! :)

  2. Thanks for the comment! :) I am sad to hear this is even happening to our neighbors to the North. I have often wondered where the best places to thrift in Canada are! I guess we know one place that isn't anymore. :)