21 August 2012

Who should shop at Goodwill?


I take our family's unwanted recyclable household items to Goodwill, and when doing so I stop in to find occasional treasures (especially terrariums).  I have read or been told two quite contrasting viewpoints on whether middle-class and affluent persons should shop there:
a)  When people shop at Goodwill, their purchases support the business and thus provide work for a variety of employees who might have difficulty entering the conventional retail workstream.  And purchasing those products prevents them being shredded, dumped, or shipped to the third world.  Or...

b)  Goodwill's clothing and houseware pricing is designed to accommodate the budgets of low-income demographic groups.  Middle-class and affluent shoppers should buy new items and leave the bargains to those who really need them.
I don't have an answer, but I did see an interesting article in the StarTribune today re how thrift stores are upgrading their merchandise and their services:
When the recession started, middle-class shoppers such as O'Dell flocked to thrift stores, many for the first time. Now Value Village, Salvation Army, Goodwill and others are getting creative to keep those customers coming back.

In addition to offering personal shoppers, some secondhand stores are bringing in new merchandise, stepping up their advertising and adding loyalty programs. And all of them have literally cleaned up their acts, by remodeling their stores and raising the bar on the used merchandise they sell...

Salvation Army is buying overstocked items and returns from Target, Wal-Mart, Costco and others. Recently, area Salvation Army stores sold flat-panel TVs (returns from an electronics retailer) for about half the retail price...

Goodwill has identified its average shopper as a 44-year-old woman with an income of $53,000 and a concern for the environment... In addition, all of Goodwill's stores have been converted to the same footprint, look and feel. Some have added coffee bars to their book sections...
I'm off with a trunkload of old clothes and things to Goodwill this afternoon. I plan to do some shopping as well.

Embed image found at Reddit, reposted from 2009;  I agree with the comment there: "I never noticed this before." The little smiley-face is a letter "g." Interesting graphics.

20 comments:

  1. amazing thing .... graphics, I have seen several stationary graphics that seem to move, I am sure you have prolly seen these also

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  2. Another interesting company logo is the Fedex logo. The white space between the e and x makes an arrow.

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  3. I actually did notice the goodwill "smiley-g" a few years back when I used to drive past a goodwill every day on my way to work.

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  4. I have also read that Goodwill stores receive way more donations than they can use, including a lot of junk and garbage that they can't sell. A lot of donated items go straight into the dumpster, because the stores are full. I see no reason why a person earning over minimum wage shouldn't shop at thrift stores. There is no shortage of bargains to be had.

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  5. Just an interesting note

    I had a great uncle who was worth 20 million dollars when he died. Or at least that what the feds said when they came to collect the death taxes.

    Despite this he did all his shopping at Goodwill and other bargain outlets like Ollie's. And when on occasion he did venture out to a luxury store like Giant Foods he would walk down the isles with a pad of paper and his 1970s vintage TI digital calculator to make sure he wasn't splurging.

    I guess you don't go from rags to riches if you don't know the value of a dollar.

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    1. That about answers my question: "how many people OVER 44 making well over $53,000 a year were needed to offset the multitude of minimum wage families and pull it down (or raise it up) to that number?"
      I do know of a lot of folks who resell things online, craigslist, and their own yard sales...

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  6. I've donated many, many carloads to them and to other charities over the years- normally I don't like to go into Goodwill soon after donating because I think it would be odd to see my own things on the racks.

    Because I am outdoors and in barns most days, I need to have inexpensive long sleeved shirts. On one trip to Goodwill, shirts were 3 for $1.00 and I came away with crisp Polo, Brooks Brothers and J.Crew dress shirts, adding a touch of class to normally grubby days. I'd say yes, the stores should be open to anyone.

    If anything, our country is awash in clothing- at one soup kitchen I've volunteered at, they have a free clothing room. I learned there that if your children have battered backpacks at the end of the school year, donate them- they are a much needed item. Homeless women need dark clothing (to hide at night, they told me) and blankets in any condition are snatched up immediately.

    Goodwill helps a lot of people from the money they make, but local charities may get the clothing directly to those who need it.

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  7. I worked in a resale shop in a small town in S. Tx. for a few years. There were 5 churches and one community system that worked out of the building. The shop was able to donate over $600k a year to the community.

    We threw away a lot simply because it was unfit so sell. Every month we threw away all the merchandise that was more than 2 months old. The street people and the winter Texans swarmed over the dumpsters like it was their last meal. Many of the winter Texans resold what they found.

    A friend of mine here in Austin worked for the local Goodwill Ind. company for a few years. She said that the salaries of the president and his 5 veeps was $1.5 million which was more that Goodwill gave back to the community.

    Goodwill is not a charity-it is a business on a big time scale.

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  8. I buy lots of hard-back books at Goodwill....$1.50 each and always in good condition.

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  9. The downside: Proceeds from their operations are used to fund a pretty unsavory right-wing agenda: stopping Planned Parenthood, anti-GLBT legislation, privatization of welfare services and public education. True, they do a lot of good, but not enough to make me give them any support.

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    1. I don't know anything about Goodwill, but just because you don't agree with a practice doesn't make it "unsavory."

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    2. TB, you attack an incredibly stupid line of thought that Anonymous gives no appearance of having engaged in. Why?

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  10. Are you sure you're not confusing The Salvation Army or some other charity with Goodwill? Can you provide a link to back up your assertion?

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  11. Inflation -- that's the reason I shop at Goodwill. Once I shopped at Dillards & chic specialty stores. I even owned a pair of Bruno Magli's. I was young, the times were flush, and savings accounts offered 10% interest. Now I'm retired, my savings are losing value every day, and I shop at thrift stores.

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  12. Just went to Goodwill this weekend. Some items were pretty pricey. They had some new in package items from Target for sale that were priced above what I could buy new at Target or Walmart. Did find some books and a neat storage container for my sewing supplies though. Our store just got remodeled and it's pretty spiffy.

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  13. I think that Goodwill's business model is fabulous... if you want to make a ton of profit. Get free stuff from people, hire disabled people that you don't even have to pay minimum wage because of Vocational Rehab and other government programs that support the employees, and sell everything for inflated prices.

    In 2008, Dan Rogers, the organization’s President and CEO, made $354,605, according to tax returns. That number may seem staggering for a charity’s CEO, but during that year OC Goodwill spent $1.4 million on salaries and benefits for its officers while chalking up $50 million in expenses.

    http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/2010/08/02/goodwill-charity-exec-earns-354605/61979/

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    Replies
    1. "sell everything for inflated prices"


      ??? have you ever shopped in goodwill stores ??

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    2. Debora, yes. I have. You can buy a onsie for a baby for $2.49 at my local Goodwill. You can buy a 4 pack of those same onsies brand new at Target for $6. Do you do comparison shopping?

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    3. Dan Rogers, the organization’s President and CEO, made $354,605

      Goodwill is a massive organization, that's hardly out of line for a salary to run it. If it was a regular private sector business of that size the paycheck would be millions and millions.

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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