Monday, July 8, 2013

Thrift stores, Goodwill and Deals or no Deal

I love thrift stores!!  I have been shopping at thrift stores since before they were cool. Maybe they still aren't cool, and only I think they are?  I always did think they were cool, but then I loved going through the neighbors trash on bulk trash night and wandering around antique malls at the age of 9 so maybe I am just a freak of nature...

I am so lucky that my "real" job as a traveling daycare photographer gives me the opportunity to find and explore thrift stores all over the state, and in some cases in other areas of the country too! So what is a good thrift store, and what makes a good bargain?

 In Baltimore and Maryland, in general there are several thrift store chains - we have Value Village - which also goes by the name Savers, and 2nd Ave. I think they are trying to make their image seem a bit more chic; well maybe with the 2nd Ave name. The Salvation Army still has a few locations - they were really great with prices, although they stopped bargaining a few years back. Recently one of the few Salvation Army stores shut down due to fire or some sort of catastrophe in the building. I was sorry to see that one close. It was right across from a Goodwill, but ahh Goodwill, how I love and hate you at the same time.

 Goodwill does good things - please don't get me wrong and I have found some awesome items at Goodwill. I know Goodwill has helped thousands and thousands of people over the years. However things have changed. Goodwill has changed it's pricing to try to match retail stores. If they know they have a treasure, they price it as, well a treasure. I saw a painting in a Goodwill store priced for $150 last week - $150 at a Goodwill! I would think that may not be such a bad thing - except that a large portion of the money they are making on the FREE DONATED Goods goes to pay the CEO's. yes there have been reports that the CEO's are making upwards of $400,000 a year. A non-profit CEO, making that much well is just wrong. Especially since the reports are that some of the workers that they are "helping" don't even make minimum wage. Many earn only 20 cents an hour. They are paid on how fast they work. REALLY? Now on the flip side of this I can understand if they are on disability and can not make more than say $700 or $800 a month. But to only pay them pennies on the hour, is shameful; and to then pay the top CEO's over $400,000. Well, words can not express the disappointment.

As other options. there are church thrift stores, and privately owned thrift stores to support. For me it is the thrill of finding a new store and supporting the locally owned business; recycling, keeping items out of landfills and of course the thrill of finding an item at an amazing price to love for years and years! (or to share with someone who will love it, I can't keep it all, because that's called hoarding, and they have t.v. shows about that)
Here are a few of my latest thrift store finds .... Later I will talk about Estate Sales, Garage Sales, Auctions and Dumpster Diving - all great (fun!) ways to find great things. and then what to do when you get that great item! Keep it, fix it, paint it or sell it??


  1. I can relate to the Goodwill pricing aggravation. They've "wised up" and are no longer competitive in their prices where many things are concerned. I mean, for pete's sake, they get the stuff for free! I still like to peruse them occasionally, though, because I still find the odd item they've overlooked or totally misjudged price-wise. I didn't know the workers were being paid so little or the CEOs so much. Hmmm...

  2. Hi! Found your blog through Etsy. I haven't found anything at Goodwill or at Salvation Army in several years. But I did find a necklace once at GW that I paid $3 for and later found out it was worth $150. Naturally, I sold it in my shop! Love your blog. How do I become a follower?

    Here is my blog about going to estate sales in Oklahoma. Maybe a little nostalgic road trip, too.

    Liz (aka Ninny)

    1. Hiya Liz - I found your blog through Etsy too! just click the button and subscribe by email and you can get notified when I post new blogs - got a few in the works! or follow me on facebook -

  3. Hi Patti!
    Found your blog from our epsteam thread.
    I do Goodwill some, and I feel like I should play the other side of the coin. I am guessing they have started paying attention to what things are worth since they found out about cheap finds bringing in big bucks. Plus, they have online auctions now, too. CEO and over-pricing aside, who can blame them for wanting to get as much as they can?
    I haven't noticed over-pricing in the couple that I have been to here in TX.
    I have even felt a pang of guilt walking out with so much and spending so little...ha...kidding, of course.
    Follow my blog where I will have FREEBIES!!