This month, my daughter Pat, grandson John, and I went shopping at the Goodwill store. This was my first time shopping at a Goodwill in many moons. John is a veteran Goodwill shopper. He could spot something unique, and if the price seemed right, he immediately checked Amazon or another site to verify the price or authenticity. I was also surprised to learn that John makes a good income reselling his Goodwill “finds.” That shouldn’t surprise me. The mother of daughter Pat’s friend also makes a living reselling online. Who knew?
So Pat, John and I got on our brooms and invaded the local Goodwill. This is what we learned:
Furniture, in general, was “dirt cheap.” You could buy a real piano for $29.95.Of course, it would be costly to haul it to a specified location and get it “tuned”, if you could find someone who knows how to tune a piano. There were lots of quality tables and chairs, all inexpensive. Anyone setting up their apartment for the first time could easily furnish it with mice-looking furniture for little money.
Clothing was another story. I could not believe they were selling ratty-looking tee shirts, covered with names and other advertising, such as “Billy’s Buxom Beer” for $6.95. Rack upon racks of similar pieces looked well used. I’d wait for a sale at The Dollar Store or a similar outlet to buy something new for the same price.
What initially motivated me to visit the Goodwill store is the seemingly regular griping by local seniors about Goodwill’s high prices. The seniors are on a fixed income for the most part, so inflated prices on everything, in general, hurt them financially. They tend to rationalize that the high prices at the Goodwill are due not to inflation or other factors but to the “excessive” salary of the Goodwill CEO. The salary figure is never revealed in a gripe, so I Googled it and was surprised to learn that the annual CEO Goodwill salary is roughly $150,000. From my perspective, that’s chicken feed when considering that a CVS head honcho is said to earn a million plus. Consider the following:
“A nonprofit CEO can be paid anything from $133,458 and $227,599. However, the average nonprofit CEO salary is $150,000. And it takes a lot of work to become CEO of a retail company with an average salary of $250,000. CEOs need to be paid well to motivate them to do their best.”
“Karen Lynch is the CVS President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). She obtained total compensation of $20,388,412. Of this total compensation, Lynch earned $1,429,167 as salary or base pay. She also got a bonus and non-equity incentive compensation amounting to $5,616,000. She earned a total cash compensation of $7,045,167.”
I understand the value of Goodwill shopping if you are looking for a decorator item, wheel covers for your car, a toaster that works, or an artificial Christmas tree that’s almost as costly as a new artificial Christmas tree. Whatever. But used clothing? I don’t think so. I’ll buy a new if I can afford it.
I’ll explain how I get “good stuff” without paying a fortune. It may not be for everyone, but it works for me.
Buying from online Draper & Damons when they have a sale is an excellent place to start. Draper’s clothing caters to older, traditional women. Here’s my system: Become familiar with what they sell. Know the items you want. Wait for a sale, then wait for a clearance of the sale items you want, and you are off to the races. It’s a learning process. Once you understand the game and know your size based on their sizing chart, you are good to go. I can buy five or more items for $100. However, there are no refunds or exchanges. How I shop may not be for everyone. It’s just an example of what’s possible. There is life beyond Thrift Store shopping.
Here are photos of items I have purchased, practically for peanuts. The first is a zippered jacket of beautiful fabric, beautifully made with high-end detailing. Yes, it’s new. I could buy it because it was the last Petite Small left. In the other photo, the plastic bags contain new shells($3-6 each) to wear under a jacket. Will I ever wear any of it? It doesn’t matter. I will be ready when and If the occasion happens.
How do you shop for new clothes? Please share your wisdom here with other women who love a bargain.