Adventures at Goodwill

Let me preface this story by telling you that I had no clue that Goodwill had an “outlet” store. I was under the impression that when people donated items, they went to a centralized location, cleaned up a bit, then got sent to the stores or listed on their online store – then I guess I never really thought about what happens with the items after that. This is where the outlet store comes in, and where this story gets great!

My buddy, Zach, asked me if I’d be interested in going with him to the Goodwill Outlet store one morning to see if we could score some good finds to possibly re-sell. Zach runs a consignment shop and an eBay store to earn some extra income. Being unemployed myself, it was fairly easy for me to find time in my schedule to go on a new adventure like this. Zach said he likes to go on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays due to it fitting into his schedule that way. So we decided that we’d go first thing Monday morning. He told me to meet him at his house a little before 8:30am.

Monday morning rolls around and with my Monster in-hand, I roll up to Zach’s and find him waiting on the porch with his daughter; the school bus was a little behind schedule. So his daughter gets on the bus and we jump in his truck and head to Indy – to the Goodwill Outlet store! We arrive a little before they open the doors and there are a few other people waiting for the doors to open up already. It was a rough looking crowd. A fella who reminded me of a real-life Cartman. You know, the chubby little kid from South Park. Yeah, it was him, I’m certain of it. This kid looked like he just rolled out of bed, picked a shirt up off the floor that hadn’t been washed in quite some time, and showed up ready to shop ’til he dropped! There were a few other guys there waiting for the doors to open too, but none as memorable as Cartman.

Doors open up and we head into the store. There were large blue bins everywhere with the most unorganized chaos of goods I’d ever seen. This put my senses into overdrive being that I have a touch of OCD and I’m a huge fan of organization. Anyway, these bins were everywhere and people started digging in right away. There was some order to the way things were placed in bins. Clothing was grouped together in certain bins, shoes were in other bins (though not all shoes were paired up), then there were the random items bins. That’s where Zach and I began our searches. We gloved up and started digging.
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After spending some time going through this stuff we decided that we had gone through things sufficiently. Zach found about 60 rolls of Christmas wrapping paper that retailed for $3.99 a roll, he ended up paying about $15 for all of them! He found some interlocking shop mats that retail for about $5 each, they weigh next to nothing, so not a lot was spent on those. Most items are paid for by the pound; $.74 per pound. Books, glassware and shoes are the exception to the pound price. They are priced a little differently. Anyway, we had gone through these bins with a fine tooth comb and we were waiting for the employees to come out with new bins. The bins are changed out about once every other hour.

Zach and I met this lady while waiting for the bins to be changed out. She seemed nice and fairly “normal”. She said she was a nurse and she shopped here to get good deals on items that either she would personally use, or that a family member would use. Nurse lady seemed genuinely interested in what Zach and I were there doing. Meeting new people here was a pretty cool experience in and of itself.
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The bins were changed out and by this time, there were several new shoppers who had shown up. There was a group of Hispanic gents who were loading up on the shoes here. Apparently they purchase these shoes and send them back “home” to Mexico. Good for them, at least some of these shoes are seeing a second life!

This trip was an “off trip” of sorts. Not a lot of stellar items were found. We did come across a nice set of rare earth magnets though. Zach paid about $1 for them and they sell for about $50-$60 on eBay! With all the items loaded up in the shopping cart, we headed towards the checkout. Zach placed the cart on the scale and after things were weighed, he paid just under $38 for everything!

A few tips if you’re thinking about hitting up a Goodwill Outlet store near you:

  1. Get plenty of rest the night before and show up early. Other shoppers can be aggressive sometimes – especially for some of the better items.
  2. Leave kids at home. For the same reason as above.
  3. Always keep an eye on  your cart full of goodies. You never know what someone else might try picking up out of your cart.
  4. Wear gloves. Some of this stuff is rather dirty!
  5. Go when you have plenty of time. They change bins out every other hour throughout the day.

On a more somber note – most of you won’t know who he is, but Tim Perry who played basketball in the 90’s; I feel kind of bad for him. His basketball card was found at the bottom of one of these bins. Sorry, Tim!
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About John Shue

Just a normal guy in pursuit of happiness.
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