The Goodwill outlet experience

Hmmm. The Goodwill outlet experience. Let's say that I will likely go back when I am prepared.

I read about the experience online and will let you do your own research. But, I'll also share my experience. I was not comfortable and if asked last night, would have likely responded that I wouldn't go back. This morning, I realize that even though I'd read about it, I wasn't ready. First, I was dressed for work. Do not go to the goodwill outlet in nice clothes. Second, I did not have gloves. I saw two people get cut in the bins on broken stuff. My research said I should do both of these, but I went straight from the office without the necessary trip home.

It's just open bins of crap. And, my overwhelming thought as I wandered the aisles was bugs...fleas...lice...bedbugs. And, dirt. Remember, this is the stuff that didn't sell at Goodwill. For most of it, there's a reason. But, there are real bargains sitting there waiting to be discovered by someone that knows what they're looking at.

Everything at this outlet is sold by the pound. There's little to no furniture, but mostly clothes, linens and housewares. I got 3 twin size sheets and three full size sheets, a "milkhouse" electric heater, and a table top ironing board. The weight was 13 pounds and it cost me $18. Now, one of the articles I read said a lady got 48 pounds of stuff for $25, so my Goodwill might be more expensive than most. In Austin, Goodwill is a way of life and there are a LOT of regular shoppers and we don't get the bargains that so many other bloggers seem to get.

My only valid complaint about the place was electric. I wanted to plug the heater in and see if it came on. But, they don't let you do that at outlet. It's sold asis, no returns, no testing. Didn't care for that.

Anyway, I would likely wear jeans, long sleeves and workboots and leather garden gloves and go back one day to look for shirts. I've never been able to do any of the breaking down shirts because around here, Goodwill store shirts are $5-$6 each. But, I saw things at the outlet that would likely have made great quilt fabric, but I wouldn't dig for it yesterday. Later will be plenty soon enough. When I'm dressed for the digging.

Take care. Sydney's shirt is ready to hem and I took apart my really big shirt and have re-cut it and it's almost back together. I'm going to remake one for Rob and then, maybe I can make new things...and only have to make them once.

Have a great Saturday. Lane


Andra Gayle said...

I totally understand how you feel. When I get out of good will, I always feel like I need a GOOD hand washing! I get mostly books there, some ties for a quilt I hope to make some day-though they are still costly, and I have been looking for fabric for a crazy quilt-not purchased anything for that yet. Tempted to buy my sons blue jeans there because he rips holes in the knees the first day but you can usually find new ones at walmart or target for the same price. Good luck with your hunting for fabric.

Anonymous said...

We have Goodwill, Salvation Army and VOA stores in my area, but no outlet stores. So the prices are too high on regular days, but they do have half price days that draws a crowd. Usually as soon as I get home, the stuff goes into the wash. Now you're prepared for further advantures at your outlet store. Have fun and thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Wellllllll......I guess this is enough for to know to know I ain't going to the Goodwill outlet. Oh my. I ain't even that good of a good thriftstore shopper when the stuff is culled and displayed nicely ala ThriftTown around the corner! ;-D

Wish my Mama were still around to share clothes sewing tips with you (and to sew for me!), but you might be the kind who like to learn for himself!.
Have a happy 4th Lane!


Shay said...

No outlet stores here in Australia either but I'd probably go for a look if they had one. As you said I'd go with a face mask, dettol hand wash and gardening gloves.

Why do thrift stores always smell old? I shop the op shops a lot but Im pretty fussy about what I bring home.

It was an experience !

Pauline said...

Be more picky about the second-hand places you shop. Hospice in most areas have fairly nice junk (lol) I found a place recently where they had several packages bound in masking tape with some quality material at give away prices. Also, keep a bottle of germacidal hand cleaner in your car and use it liberly before you even start your car. Wash everything when you get home. When you find a place you like and feel comfortable going to, shop often, they have fast turnovers.

Michelle said...

The Goodwills around here have containers of hand wipes right inside the front door. Our GWs are pretty organized. The GWs around here are run by region. There are two stores that are run from a different region, and they do things differently. Linens are hung on a rack, on hangers, and electric stuff is returnable within three days if you leave the sticker on it and it doesn't work. Tshirts are $2.38, shirts are $3.38, jeans are $5.38 and most shoes are $4.38. Shoes that look brand new are $12.38. There is usually a 'color of the day' sale (by the plastic sticky pins they put through each piece of clothing and linens, or by the color of the price tag).

When we first started going YEARS ago, we felt like we were overdressed too, but then we say ladies pull up in Cadillacs and expensive cars and decided that they probably had money for nice cars by being thrifty, so we didn't feel bad anymore. People like us who can afford to shop there are what keeps the stores open. People who have nothing can get vouchers for free clothing and necessary items. It's all a good thing.

The items being dirty do not bother me. I grew up with nothing, use an outhouse every day until I was seven, and used to rummage through the city and county dumps with my dad, barefoot, no less.

Just my two cents. I hope you learn to enjoy shopping there. There are a lot of bargains to be found if you are willing to 'dig'.


Bonnie K Hunter said...

You gotta be willing to dig and willing to get dirty to find the true bargains, and I love the thrill of the hunt!

Remember, even fish need to be cleaned when you catch them! And yes, you go prepared, and everything hits the laundry as soon as you get it home....

Have a great adventure!


regan said...

Lane.....try looking for a church thrift store for shirts for cutting up. My GW has shirts no less than $3, but a local church thrift has the men's shirts for $1 each....can't beat it! And the church ladies have thoroughly inspected everything....so no bugs, or anything gross! Also, we have an animal shelter thrift store.....you might have one of those, too!

I love thrifting! :o)

Coloradolady said...

We don't have an outlet here ....but I'd be there if they did.
we do have one store that sells everything for 1.00. Jeans 2.00 but shirts, shorts, skirts, pants, all other clothing is only 1.00. Even coats. When they first started doing that I found some great mens shirts and bought them, great fabrics and colors. I was there this past week, and only found one shirt I'd have purchased. You just never know what you will find...but it is fun looking! Just go prepared next time!!

qltmom9 said...

Around here, at the END of church garage sales, they often have a $1 a bag sale. That rounds up a LOT.
We have a thrift store that has $3 ANY SIZE bag sale day also. F-U-N!
There is a church that has a clothing giveaway once a month also. That is the clothing leftover from their thriftstore. Warning though: some of the workers might offended if you mention you're going to use the items for quilts. I didn't do that, but I overheard a teen girl talking after a different worker told her some people used the items for quilts. That made her mad. Then later, I saw a (more mature) worker from the same church that I KNEW and she wanted to help me find items she knew I'd use in quilts. She enjoyed hunting for me. I'm not competitive, if someone else wants it, they can get it, but I'm not going to let them throw those shirts OUT either! And, SO many of the items, by the time they make it there, have some REASON they are there, I can cut that stain or rip OFF!
Your story was fun. I go by an outlet next Tues. to take my son to the Indy dental school. I ran in ONCE (too far for more), but NOW, thank you, I will be more prepared and inspired.
Lucy (in IN)

Anonymous said...

Got a feeling you are hooked just will go back prepared to shovel out that bargain fabric. Lol! i mostly troll when I take things there to donate but I definitely look through those $1 sheets,tablecloths and draperies on the hunt. I don't take any find into the house until it gets into the washer. Once dh was very unhappy finding a bag of stuff in the freezer when I didn't have time to launder right away. I have been collecting 100% cotton vintage sheets for some time with the idea I might eventually want to dye them for quilting or sleepwear. The poly blend prints I use for muslins or pjs. I am picky about what I wag home often going away empty handed. I have a pretty good stockpile and now it is for the thrill of the hunt that I endure the stinky textiles. The last time I was in there I got a length of blouse fabric and a very nice flat sheet (hot Pink) that was a 70% cotton blend for a total of $2-for that I am willing to take an extra bath and launder them. mssewcrazy

Paul said...

I don't think I've ever seen a GW outlet store. Here in Columbus there are several GW stores, and other thrift shops, but they all sell shirts for $3 or less.

I always go directly to the XXL section... Lots of fabric in those XXL and larger shirts. Paying by the pound is interesting. Don't believe I have ever seen that.

Take Care,

I have an idea... said...

Your Goodwill sounds like our Salvation Army store, although I went to the GW in Orange County CA (a highly affluent area) and found it to be hot, junky and dirty. My local one is clean, neat and well-lit and they run weekly half-price specials. Also try church thrift stores. And carry a roll of paper towels and hand sanitizers. Don't touch your face or hair.

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