Are Thrift Stores Becoming Too Expensive: Part Two

Posted On Friday, June 29th, 2012
Filed Under: How To, Looking FLY on a Dime, shopping, Thrift Stores

Two weeks ago I posted what may have just been my most commented on {via the blog and Facebook}, shared, liked and tweeted post. When I posed the question, “Are Thrift Store Prices Becoming Too Expensive?,” you guys chimed in and the overwhelming answer was yes, the prices have increased.

Some people blamed the lagging economy {more people need to thrift so the prices are reflecting that}, others feel since some re-sell thrifted finds, the stores are upping the prices and a few people even believe bloggers like myself are responsible, since we’re putting a spotlight on thrift shopping and making it “chic.” 

Hmm, whatever the cause, us frugal folks aren’t too happy with it. 

And Goodwill was the one thrift store in particular that everyone kept singling out. 

I’ve been a long time Goodwill supporter {shopping, donating and I even styled a Goodwill fashion show for disabled workers}, so I wanted to hear their side. I reached out to the New York and New Jersey branch of Goodwill to see how they determine prices and what percentage of sales are dedicated towards providing services to those in need.

Here’s what they had to say….
First off, thank you and your readers for your feedback. We really mean this as your comments, concerns and compliments help us serve you better. 
As far as pricing goes, the stores’ profits support Goodwill’s mission – a dedication to providing opportunities to those outside the economic mainstream. You can learn all about that mission at our programs/services blog, Where the Goodwill Goes, detailing our youth programs (like ballet lessons, summer camp, after-school activities), veteran programs (like Goodwill Suits Vets, giving out a free interview-appropriate outfit to veterans on special holiday weekends), recycling initiatives, rehabilitation programs (like PROS), and many, many more. While our stores serve to fund our programs and provide jobs for those otherwise facing barriers to the economic mainstream (including visible and non-visible disabilities), we also aim to provide an interesting array of like-new clothes at affordable prices at our Goodwill stores. 

To do so, we rotate goods, run weekly sales and have a shoppers award program for frequent shoppers. Still, please remember every dollar you spend at Goodwill is put to incredible use, benefiting the less fortunate members of your community – in fact, 92 cents of every dollar supports direct service, whether to single mothers, people with disabilities, veterans, kids, or others in hard circumstances looking for an opportunity to create a better life.

So there you have it…

 What do you guys think? Does this change your mind about Goodwill or other thrift stores? Are you okay with paying higher prices if you know the money is benefiting those in need? Has “thrifting” become too chic, so should we just expect higher price tags?



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103 thoughts on “Are Thrift Stores Becoming Too Expensive: Part Two

  1. I love Goodwill and everything that they do. I don’t think their items are very expensive. Other “thrift” stores that try to sell you over the top vintage finds are the ones trying to make a profit :/

      • So true goodwill gets all items free, and now they spend money not just in ceo’s salary but now and increasingly on brand new buildings and ADVERTISING!! ADVERTISiNG is not an answer when your excuse for higher prices is inflation. Goodwill has become a racket and no one can point it out because it uses,the one name on thousands upon thousands of stores but hides its true nature by dividing up into a bazillion different branches so no one can point it out how much they spend on advertising and ceo’s. Please donate to a REAL local CHARITY who GIVES to the poor the MAJORITY of what they get from an all too trusting of the goodwill name, public

        • the sad thing is you can go to retail stores and find prices cheaper. money doesn’t come easy. if I had a choice I will pick the new and cheaper over the used and more expensive.

          • I used to love shopping at Goodwill. Last Friday, I made my last venture inside one of their stores. All the prices in our local store has DOUBLED in the past few weeks. I can honestly go to the Dollar Store or Walmart and buy new merchandise cheaper! What’s up with that? I am so dissappointed in them. Have heard lots of people saying that they will no longer shop there from now on. I will not only no longer shop there, but I will definitely no longer DONATE anything to them. I would rather take my used belongings to the dump rather than have them sold at such rip off prices!!

          • I use to be a faithful Goodwill shopper but their prices have gotten ridiculous. I can find better prices at Walmart and get something new. I use to shop there all of time but no more. I too would rather throw my donations away than give them to Goodwill. They use to offer a 20% off coupon for your donation. They have even stopped doing that.

        • I agree with you completely, they get everything for free and take advantage of selling their stuff way above what it is worth, nothing thrifty about this store, way to much money going into their own pockets. i quite giving things to them for this very reason.

  2. I’m torn! As a budding mini-philanthropist, I’m all about supporting orgs and causes that help people live better lives. That being said, I’m NOT spending $20 on an item at the thrift store with a Forever 21 tag. I’ve seen items like that too many times. I think pricing should ALWAYS remain as low as possible. The clothes were donated, so it’s pure profit.

    Happy to learn that 92 cents of every supports someone in need. That is awesome!

    • There is no way that 92 cents of every dollar made at Goodwill goes to someone in need, unfortunately, even if this article is 2 years old. With the amount of money going toward store maintenance, advertising, employee pay (I’ll get to that in a moment), and CEO pay, they claim that 83% goes to charity. However, according to the Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938, workplaces are allowed to pay their disabled workers lower than minimum wage. There have been some cases in Pennsylvania of disabled workers making 22, 38, and 41 cents PER HOUR! All the while, top managers at 150 Goodwill locations across the country are raking in over $30 million, collectively. Not to mention that the company’s CEO, Jim Gibbins, earns a base salary of $434,252 as of 2013. You would think that a “nonprofit” like Goodwill who can pay their CEOs & managers six figures could spare their 117,000 workers a fair minimum wage pay. Is what they’re doing illegal? No, but that does not mean that they are not exploiting these workers. It seems as if the company is in the mindset that the disabled workers should appreciate whatever crumbs they are thrown because they often do not have job opportunities. But regardless of their state, they are working and deserve a decent pay that will be able to help them support themselves. It is sad that a company who says it’s their mission to support their workers and the people in their community are so willing to exploit a group of people who typically do not have any other choice of jobs. They get tax deductions for hiring those who are disabled AND pay some of them unfathomably low salaries? It’s disgusting and horrifying.

      I have been a shopper of Goodwill for years, and I will occasionally stop in. I now want to focus on shopping at local resale shops to not contribute to the disgusting corporate greed that has plagued Goodwill Inc. Goodwill’s creator must be rolling over in his grave.

  3. Let me ask a question of Tom: Where do you think the people you are helping have to go to buy clothes? If they are like me, the only option is the thrift stores. Once you start pricing used clothing that is as expensive as the new clothing stores, we are left without any options. So if you are saying ‘we are pricing our clothes for fashion shoppers to support our programs’, that is one thing. But you can’t also say ‘we are here so low income people have a place to buy affordable clothes’. It’s one or the other.

    • Finally some truth. I stopped in this afternoon and found a pair of 5 year old boots that smelled like attic priced at $129.99 (goodwill tag). Original price tag $229.99 and a tag marked ‘reduced to $124.99’. Someone probably purchased them for 1/t2 off the reduced and put them in the attic for years and just gave them to goodwill cause they smelled. The prices have gone to what I believe is the greedy corporation side. Instead of helping the less fortunate have, goodwill decided to help themselves to what little the less fortunate do have. Thanks you all for sharing your thoughts and comments, reading that others have similar thoughts regarding Goodwill’s price gouging makes me feel no so alone in my observations.

  4. This is basic economics. If something at GW is more than you are willing to pay–then don’t buy it!! That is the only way that prices will come down. If someone else is willing to pay the higher price, don’t blame Goodwill for trying to maximize their profits. Especially when the money goes to fund such worthwhile programs.

      • I don’t think Goodwill is still the cheapest! I bought the other day a nerf gun for my son for $4.99 I though it was a good price but guess what? same day I saw the same gun but New with darts and everything for the same price $4.99 so I don’t buy anymore at Goodwill.

    • I agree as well. With many other products and services increasing in costs, I am sure Goodwill isn’t pocketing the extra profits as much as they are just trying to offer the same amount of additional services to those in need, and those services may be costing them more to provide.

    • I don’t think people are complaining about paying a fair price. People here are saying ‘hay Goodwill, you promised to cater to the disadvantaged, which you did for a little while…now you are praying on the disadvantaged and now we all know you are using this platform for a different purpose’. I have a suspicion their new target audience is ‘people with money’, o yes, and if anyone says something call them cheap and try to embarrass them into not calling us out. You know what they say…one mans garbage is another mans treasure. Perhaps Goodwill thinks all their stuff is treasure! Haha

  5. And another point about the fact that something was donated. If you donated a valuable item (say something worth 100 bucks) wouldn’t you rather see it sell for 30 bucks instead of $10? If you’re donating to help an organization, it would make sense that you would want them to get the most money for your donated goods as they could.

  6. I like to shop at thrift stores to find a bargain! If I choose to give my money to a charity, that’s my decision. It’s great that they donate to charity, but Goodwill is a business!! I prefer to shop at thrift stores where their staff are volunteers and the profits go to a local homeless shelter.

  7. I wait for sale days.But I find it absolutely valid that these stores are raising prices while they have such a high visibility. The stores are meant to raise money for programs and if demand is up, then prices go up too with the ultimate benefactor being the people who take advantage of their programs. Still the best deal in town- got a cashmere sweater two days ago for $4!

  8. I mean i think people should remember this is a non-profit organization, and I have a aunt who benefits from their work as well. So i get it, and yes, they are one of the fewr organizations that give more of a percentage to their programs instead of Admin cost, and working for a non-profit in the past i get it, they have more people coming and took it as a chance to mark up prices, but I also remember when Goodwill didn’t even have tags in the clothes and everything was equal.  I don’t know I still don’t like that the prices are jacked up, but at the same time, it’s still ALL very Cheap, especially when i just saw a full on Dior vintage suit in there for 10 bucks. I guess it depends. For those who really depend on this to clothe their kids, and themselves when they are really doing bad it sucks, for us who might just be looking to add to our closet, and aren’t sruggling then it’s probably not as bad as it could be. 

  9. I’m all for supporting non-profit organizations. BUT, the bottom line is Goodwill is getting their merchandise for FREE. If their prices are equal to or close to store prices such as Walmart, Ross, TJ Maxx, etc it defeats the purpose of “thrifting” in the first place. There are other non-profit organizations who do work in my community just like Goodwill and they have not increased their prices. When I feel Goodwill’s prices are too much for my budget I will just simply take my money elsewhere. To each their own. 

  10. I love shopping at Goodwill but I don’t feel that their explanation really answers what you asked. It just sounded like a regurgitated rah-rah mission statement. I agree with the comment below that says if the prices are too high, don’t shop there. As much as I love to shop at a few local Goodwill stores, I have put merchandise down because it was more than if I bought it new. Another one to watch? Plato’s Closet…

  11. At least at Goodwill, there are willing to help out if you can t afford their merchandise, and they give back to the local community.
    This is not the case of Value Village that has outrageous high-price, is clearly a for-profit organization – that is why you will never have a referal from a social worker to have free goods from Value Village. Prices are not to be changed, or discussed, wether you can afford them or not, and that is shocking given that they had them for free in the first place.
    That is why I would encourage people to give items to charities like Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or WINS (Women In Need Society) first before Value Village.

    • I do most of my thrift shopping at Value Village and Goodwill. Both are businesses, although GW is classified as a non-profit. VV’s salaries and wages are higher and their benefits packages are better. I have received consistently excellent service at both stores. I have found items at very low prices at both as well but I have found VV to be the consistently better deal in my area. Probably due to pricing, the merchandise on the shelves at GW doesn’t move as quickly; over time, I find the selection at VV far better.

      I consider thrift shopping like any other kind: the primary beneficiary is me. It’s nice to know that the money I’m paying is supporting the community (and this is true with both stores) but if I’m getting the better deal at VV with better selection and better-paid employees who offer great service, I’ll continue to shop there. I don’t shop as an act of charity. I write checks to several local organizations each year — that’s my form of charity. And I donate to both VV and GW frequently.

  12. oh, and Value Village doesn t state clearly how much out of your dollar goes to charity, nor to which charity. Basically it is their own pocket first, and for sure they don t seem to care much about the people in need in their own community.

  13. I shop a the thrift stores for a work outfit or dress. The Goodwill in my town the prices are pretty cheap. I also donate things too. BUT only things that I cannot sell myself rather it be a yard sell or Ebay. I have seen the store workers go through my things and it put to the side not to even make the floor. So I make my own money by selling things myself. It helps me make money and I know exactly wear my money goes which is in my pocket. Sometimes you can find things cheaper at Ross or Marshall’s rather it be regular price or clearance. And it is clean.  Why not help yourself in the tough economy.

  14. They didn’t answer the question – they just issued the same statement they would give to anybody, for any reason.  Goodwill may be responding to the market, but keep in mind that they get all their merchandise FREE OF CHARGE.  People donate, and Goodwill makes money.  I wish I could run that kind of business.

  15. Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! I’ve gotten amazing steals at GW, but I’ve noticed lately that prices are on the rise. Salvation army is a lot worse in my area though. I’ve seen stores for both organizations charging outrageous prices for designer knockoffs lately. I visited a GW out of town and they had all of their “designer” bags in a locked display case. I know certain brands pretty well, and as soon as I picked up a “Coach” bag I was able to tell it was fake. I asked the associate if he was aware that it was counterfeit, and he said that he knew. I ended up getting a (genuine) Dooney and Bourke crossbody that was the exact same price! I also asked to see a Coach at SA the other day, which also turned out to be fake. They were asking $80 for it! Maybe I’ve been spoiled by spending $1 for Dior and finding similar bargains in stores that don’t price things according to brands, but I feel like things are getting a little out of hand.

  16. Goodwill CEO makes over 2 million dollars/ year. And doing a price comparison on a particular mens shirt, Kohl’s was cheaper. I’m not saying Goodwill doesn’t do a lot of “goodwill,” but other such thrift stores exist that are NON-profit, some even giving 100% of what they make away. I’d rather support a place that I can really trust is doing my community good.

  17. Goodwill is ripping people off, period. These thrift stores were once the hot-spot for hidden treasures and really reached out in our communities for those who couldn’t afford to go to commercial stores. Greed, like anything had ripped that notion to shreds. If you were getting free stuff and paid your workers as low as you could by federal/state law. Wouldn’t you want to sit high and dry while paying someone else to handle the e-mails? Goodwill’s got it made, free stuff, people have to get rid of the old and in with the new. People who donate have no time to care about the poor or thrifter’s who shop there. They just wanna get it GONE. It will continue to get worse as folks now-a-days just want to sit back and watch someone else handle the problem.

  18. I would really like to see their financials before I could make a judgment on whether their prices are fair. While it is true that I have seen items priced in their stores equivalent to or more than retail “new”, I wonder what it costs them to do business. Keep in mind that there is probably a high percentage of garbage that gets dumped on them as opposed to items they can actually sell and it costs money/manpower to get rid of all that garbage. So to keep Goodwill in ”check” as far as my budget goes, I just buy those items that I KNOW are a bargain and leave all the high priced items for someone else to buy. I am glad I have that choice.

  19. A couple years ago, a new GW store opened here (Northeast Ohio) and the manager was interviewed in the media. He said GW as a company is trying to lose the “thrift” image and trying to position itself as a competitor to Walmart or Penney’s. This is pretty bold talk from a company that gets its inventory for free. Penney’s and Walmart sell NEW items. And they have to pay their suppliers. Goodwill is still a bargain hunter’s haunt, but much less than it used to be. I saw a Longeberger basket at a GW a few days ago for $90. I used to buy Longeberger baskets–that basket wasn’t that much when it was new and I saw similar Longeberger baskets at a consignment store for one-third that price. GW sells its used shower curtains for $5-$6 yet you can buy brand new ones for $2 less at a closeout store down the street.

    I have a feeling the administration at GW setting the prices caught on to flea market mavens and Ebay buyers who were shopping GW and then reselling the stuff at a profit. I suspect some manager decided that GW may as well cut that middleman right out and make that profit themselves. Unfortunately, that hurts the shopper who uses GW as a way to clothe her family.

    My daughters work and, like lots of teenagers, shop the mall. I no longer donate their nice clothes to GW–I give it to the Salvation ARmy.

  20. I bought One scarf and Two belts..$16.00! I can do that good or better at Macy’s.
    Yes, I know the goods are donated and they have overhead, salaries, electric bills, etc.. but this is absurd.

  21. I know this thread is old But I have something to say.Being that the goodwill is suppose to help families in need they should set their prices accordingly.I saw a family in the goodwill shopping for Christmas her son saw a shirt that he wanted he begged his mother to buy the shirt but she couldn’t afford it.That was heart breaking to me. I was told by an employee the workers set their own prices after she was in disbelief over them setting a price of 49.99 for a used pair of heels. Basically the goodwill is suppose to be a store where family who cant afford retail prices shop.If they want to act like Walmart they shouldn’t receive the tax exemption

  22. i would like to emphasize a very important point here…this is not a thrift shop, its a front for a supposed “non profit” organization that helps people. There upper management get 6 figures income, I know this because I know personally and upper manager in California and he drives a freaking 80K BMW.
    Oh yeah like today, a woman standing outside the goodwill in Lancaster California, with swollen legs and feet, her feet were swollen she had taken off her shoes and couldnt get them back on. SO she was desperate, I saw her enter the store and learned about her story later. But what was horrendous was the fact that GOODWILL would not sell her a pair of shoes for $5 that she had been able to collect from patrons prior to entering the store. The only pair of shoes that would fit her were a pair of mens tennis shoes but they were asking $29.99 for them. A pair of used free donated NIKES! It broke my heart listening to her try to explain to the cashier she had to begin her walk back home but couldnt without shoes. The manager appeared and refused her as well. I was dumbfounded, I will never donate to this store again in my life, they are nothing but heartless, gouging and greedy in every way. They treat their employees like slaves too! Please for the love of Pete , next time you go in the GOODWILL make a complaint about their ridiculous pricing and lack of empathy to their community. All they care about is profit.

  23. 92 cent per? yeah right. At $719,147, Goodwill chief Michael Miller is the highest-paid nonprofit CEO in Oregon. Goodwill of the Columbia Willamette booked $106.4 million in 2010 revenue. So much for non-profit.

  24. Actually this article isn’t even factual. They do not support people with disabilities, at least in my county and the next they do not. They will not hire them or help them get jobs. The owner is a billionaire and the CEO makes almost $600,000 a year salary. They get their merchandise for free and then price it close to retail. They are out to make money and that is the bottom line! It should be a place where a family can go and be able to clothe themselves for a decent price. However, I am middle class and I can’t afford their items. They want $12.99 for a blouse and I can go to Ross or watch sales and do better getting a new one. They are asking $100 for used throw rug when the store downtown has the same size new for only $59.99. When I need a good laugh, I stroll through there, shake my head and then leave! If everyone stood up and refused to shop there maybe they would get a hint and lower their prices?

    • The article is definitely factual and they do support those with disabilities. Maybe you haven’t seen it in your area, but it’s true.

  25. It’s funny too, all of a sudden brands like Tommy Bahama jump to more than triple in price, even if the shirt is tattered…

  26. I have “Goodwilled” for years watching the business morph into a nearly new item like retail outlet store. They search eBay and the Web, etc then prices accordingly. This is an acceptable practice except for one glaring issue, (and it is not because they get it for free, though this is a valid point, cost versus mark-up retail price). No, it is the fact most of the items are VERY used, often have something wrong requiring repair or are just broken junk someone dumped on Goodwill rather than tossed in the trash. Wasn’t the idea to price items at a point to reflect this risk? This is how it used to be but not anymore. Now they ship items off to be listed online, stuff you’ll never see, if they think it is worth it. For instance, you need an old computer for parts or maybe a person in need. Not anymore! You don’t get them at Goodwill. Non-profit my butt, just another way of twisting words. The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.

  27. no its def BS…what about single mothers like myself SHOPPING there?!?! trying to find affordable clothing and are better off going to walmart or similar stores because its basically the same price if not CHEAPER!!!! i saw a lamp for $25 at good will (lamp shade not included btw) and bathing suit top and bottom $4 each..then went to walmart and saw lamps WAY cheaper (BRAND NEW) for $12 and it came with the shade..and never before worn bathingsuits for $8..same frikkin price!!!! ps i also got my flipflops at walmart for $1 when i saw flipflops at goodwill for $5

  28. Goodwill where we live is so dumpy. Never has soap or papertowels in the ancient bathrooms. Still has the retail prices for used junk though. Went to a new goodwill by my sister-in-laws and the bathrooms have automatic everything and the new building was beautiful. I basicly will not go back to our dump after seeing that.

  29. I just bought used heels there for ten dollars more then new online… Tell me how that’s ok? I’m a single mother to… Thanks goodwill. Lets see if they care when I call them tomarro. I feel like I’ve been robbed and we used to love that store…. Crooks.

    • How true, past few times I purchased trinkets for gifting from Goodwill & had to throw them away. The items were torn and broken. I did try to return damaged/ broken item and GW manager said, “What am I supposed to do with it, we don’t sell damaged items…no refund”. So I looked into GW’s return policy and was informed Goodwill does not have to take back items, it’s up to managers discretion. I used to shop there constantly, I have kids, years ago Goodwill was the place to go. Now I’m just too embarrassed to gift anything to anyone from Goodwill; anyway Goodwill does no cash refunds even if item is defective . I suppose we shop at our own risk when it comes to Goodwill stores. If Goodwill went back to being an honest bargen I wouldn’t shop any where else. I suppose that’s what bothers me so much, I used to love shopping GW and taking my children to pick out anything they wanted…no more, now I shop online and get much better deals.

  30. Once in a great while I will find a killer deal but more often than not I leave empty handed due to their prices. When they can’t mark something down two dollars to make it the same price as an identical item (two of the same pair and size of jeans) to make a sale then forget it. It makes me just leave the item at the counter and leave. I’ve shopped at 5 stores in the Eugene Or area and they all treat their customers the same. They have even adopted the rule of no backpacks in the store. Even though I was on my motorcycle and had to carry in my helmet, jacket, bag and gloves. The lady tells me you have to leave that at the counter. My response was “will you take responsibility for it if someone take my stuff”? Of course she said no, so I said fine I’ll leave then. Oh and my “bag” was a Camel pack smaller than the size of a large purse but they never ask any woman carrying purses in to leave them at the counter.

  31. The goodwill in my town (Gaylord, Michigan) is a joke. A family friend’s home burned and the local dept. of human services gave them a referal to Goodwill to get $50 woth of free clothing/items that they could use, and the manager refused to honor the voucher, and told them, “Goodwill was not in the charity department.” Correct me if I am wrong but Goodwill’s mission is to help those in need. I will never shop at Goodwill agin after that, it is for profit not to help those who really need it.

    • My husband and I own a consignment store in a small town. We are not a non-profit organization but, we have helped many people and families in need. Whether it be fire victims, someone who just had a spouse walk out and leave them with the children and all the bills, or someone on a fixed income that could really use an updated sofa or some clothes. We have had churches come in asking if we would be willing to help a family they knew and we did. We try to keep our prices fair and offer nice items to our customers. Many times, people have not had quite enough money to pay for their items and we have just told them to have a great day as we handed them the items that were partially paid for. As much as we would love to say that we are making good money off of our store, we are not. We sometimes struggle to pay the rent on the building, let alone the other bills that accompany the business. However, knowing that we are able to help those that really need it, makes every minute worth it for us. We considered becoming non-profit for a few reasons but instead decided that we would help people as they came in and as we could in any way that we could. Some people just assume that if you have a business like ours that you are making a killing. I guess for some, that is true. I have had people come into the store in need of furniture that is on consignment but could not afford the asking price. I have reduced it to the point that we do not make anything off of the item but, the consignor gets their share. We have seen families come in to shop for clothes for their children and overhear them telling the children that they can only get some clothes but not all that the child picked out and that they could not have any toys because that is all they can afford. I like to find what they were wanting and put it in a bag for them as a gift from me, as long as I ask permission from the parents first. I am a person that has to be thrifty when it comes to shopping for clothes and things, especially since we are raising a grandchild. I know how tight money can be. I once was a single Mom and learned what tough times really were. I gave up my last year or nursing school so that my husband and I could take custody of and raise our grandchild. We opened the consignment store in hopes to make a little money and to offer flexibility for raising a child. It has given us the flexibility for attending school functions and doctor appointments and family time. It has not made us a bunch of money but, it makes us happy to be able to help people. We may be the people that need help one day and I hope there is someone out there like us. Too many times, I have been in thrift stores such as Goodwill and overheard people talking about how “much” things were and how could they price things so high when they are donated to them. I just went into a Goodwill today with a few others. I happened to see a metal dog crate in the store. I asked how much and the employee told me $45.99. She looked at the other employee and said, “What?!?!? Why did they put such a high price on this???” I asked if the manager could come out since they told me that is who priced it. Manager came out and I asked him why such a high price. He told me that they sell for $120.00 and up. I asked him where and he told me online. I asked where online and he said Well, I have been in search of one for a while now for our little dogs. I did not recall that particular one being anywhere close to that price. So, I came home and looked them up again. The prices started about 51.00 and went up but they went up as the size of the cage went up. Not to mention that the manager came out, did not smile or greet us…just simply walked up to us and looked at the employee and said, “Who called for a manager?” He was rude and actually provided humor to all the others in line near us with his response to the pricing. Some people put their items down and walked out after that. They too, were wondering why such a high price on something that is donated to them. It saddens me to read the post from holliwoodky about the family that they would not help. I just hope that there are plenty of other stores out there like ours with people like us that really do care to help. If you know of any, please share so we can be supportive of them. Thanks a bunch 🙂

      • Love your story on how you and your husband put help out like this to people in need. I love that about people who do these kind of things it shows love from one human to another. I just went into GW yesterday to check some items since I am low income. I been thrift shopping since I was a baby with my mom, But my story is I walk into goodwill and see some items like wow that would look nice in my kitchen, A Ninja Ultima Blender, decided I might buy that then I looked at the price and come to see $119.00 for this blender, My mind was boggled and I was thinking why so high. I decided to get on my smartphone and google the same exact item it brings one up from walmart for 139.99 with everything included, mind you this blender at GW is used and had none of the extra parts or anything just the blender and one container. I believe i’m going to talk to the store manager and request a price reduction on items in there. I looked at a buzz light year which my daughter loves thinking 5 bucks tops for this item because the box was crushed and opened and buzz was exposed. 24.99 WHAT! so if they don’t comply with a reduction for ones who are in needs or want to buy things on a low income basis for my children to make them happy. I will contact the news and see if we can get something done about GW being next to Retail prices on items that are used, missing parts, or damaged. God Bless You and your husband and i hope the best for you guys and your grandchild.

    • O my goodness, how did Goodwill get so crappy?!? I don’t think the Dept of Human Svcs made up false vouchers. I seems as though agreements were made between the two businesses to help people in need and looks as though Goodwill wanted no part of that.

  32. Goodwill is a thief and more expensive than discount stores like Target/Walmart. Many in my neighborhood go to a new store and I had to look into this. The CEO gets over $700,000/year while they pay some disabled folks $0.22/hour. Something is definitely wrong here. Support decent retailers like Costco which pays a living wage and has decent prices. Goodwill is out of control. No one in my family will ever donate to Goodwill again. We donate to the mom and pop resale shop or give our clothing to real charities. Even a garage sale is better than donating to Goodwill.

    • John, thanks for that info. We didn’t know that about Goodwill’s CEO. We never donate to charities that pay their CEO corporate salaries. Just not where we want our money going. Thanks for the heads up.

  33. Pingback: When Does Affordable Fashion Become Less than Affordable | Looking Fly on a Dime

  34. They all check Ebay and see what others are paying for the item or they create their own auction site ( and soak as much as they can out of people. Instead of donating the items to Goodwill we should go elsewhere. The Rescue Mission or Salvation Army seem to be a good place to go. Face it we gotta admit, we either go to goodwill to resell on Ebay or we more legitimately we need cheap clothes. No darn way are we going to pay Ebay prices for stuff!!

    • Smorf–that’s a great idea. Our family moves a lot for work & we used to donate our goods to Goodwill. We stopped doing that a few years ago out of a sense of resentment over the mushrooming prices–and now we feel vindicated in making that decision. You’re also right about high Ebay prices. And we’ve even found Craig’s List owners’ used for-sale items’ prices have drastically increased over the last 5 years. The economy has been tough for a lot, but we’re with you–we refuse to pay exorbitant prices, especially for “stuff.” Time to stick with the stuff we already have.

      • I just reread my post. Those last two sentences didn’t make sense to me. Boy what was I smoking? Anyways, your right, it’s just stuff! We should sell our stuff or give to the needy ourselves instead of letting Goodwill get our stuff for free and then turn around and sell it ridiculous prices. An old computer that runs windows 98 is not worth more than 10 bucks! Are you listening Goodwill?? An old couch with cat hair all over it is not worth 75 dollars!! Seems Goodwill also sells the good stuff online then sells broken stuff in the actual store as far as gadgets go. Idiots. We should be selling our our own stuff.

  35. I’m not sure how to verify that the number (92 cents of every dollar) is accurate. I saw this recently, and it says “82 cents of every dollar on programs and services for people in need” (5th paragraph)

    I realize this article is over a year old, but a ten percent drop off is dramatic. I would assume they do an annual report?

  36. All new item prices have been raised to retail or above. In the Albany location, notebook was priced at $7.99…the listed retail price on the back cover. The same one was priced at a reduced $5.99 at Sears, right up the street. This “Charity” has lost its way. Give and buy from Salvation Army. They are absolutely non profit…and a good organization.

  37. I walked into a goodwill store today… they had a very simple 14K gold thin flat chain bracelet on display. I looked at the price-tag and it said $350 on it. I realise that it’s gold, but for $350 I can buy a better new one at a department store. I looked around some more and found a sterling silver chain necklace in pretty beat up shape… The tag was for $30 which is what it would cost brand new at a department store. On that note I walked out. I think I won’t be returning to goodwill any time soon…

  38. I would never shop or donate to goodwill!! After how I saw them treat a worker there I have no longer shopped st any goodwill!! And all the above is bull !! Just go to Ross and get the same deals for new stuff!!

    • Thrift Shopper–exactly. We also find we can beat Goodwill’s prices for brand new items that are far, far higher quality. Goodwill is pricing itself out of the market.

  39. I’ve heard they pay their workers below minimum wage. And frankly? Let’s see their so called good works they are claiming to support.
    What about us who shop there? None of us are exactly rich, and I don’t care what it is selling for online either.

  40. First, the prices have gone up at Goodwill to pay for their shiny new buildings. Second, they look up anything they think is worth a buck on eBay. Third, If you donate something with a retail price sticker on it they will usually mark the item half of the retail price. Goodwill has become a joke in the Houston TX area.

  41. Regardless Goodwill’s official reply, our family no longer “shops” there since noting exploding prices beginning years ago. We shop thrift stores for value. But when used, banged up, often incomplete (missing key components) items cost a significant percentage of new items–and in many case more (Target…), we have no incentive to shop at Goodwill or other thrift stores. An example: whenever we need kitchen supplies we used to check Goodwill first. Dismayed at scratched, chipped, badly discolored articles (Bellevue, WA) costing upwards of $20 each, we started looking in Marshall’s just up the street. Now we find FAR superior quality, brand new, for HALF or less of what Goodwill charges for others’ throw-aways.

    My first priority has to be my family’s financial well-being, which means we’ll either find other paths to bargains OR we’ll buy new, high quality and keep for as long as possible. Either way, Goodwill is off our shopping list.

    CEO and owner Mark Curran profits $2.3 million a year.

    Goodwill is a very catchy name for his business.

    You donate to his business and then he sells the items for PROFIT.

    He pays nothing for his products and pays his workers minimum wage! Nice Guy.

    $0.00 goes to help anyone! Stop giving to this horse’s ass, again the american public good nature getting rooked!

  43. I have never once seen a disabled person working at a Goodwill store in Oregon.
    Yes, their prices have gone way up. Their clothes are getting close to Marshalls and Ross NEW clothes prices and most of them look like they have been closeted a long, long time. I am all in support of charities. But, has anyone asked how much of this charity money goes to the CEO of the company. Seems to me that he probably is earning his salary because he is smart enough to have the stores charge a lot for stuff that comes in free and call it a non profit. You hear people grumbling about the prices when you walk through the store and putting stuff back. It’s only a matter of time because profits fall and they get a clue. Seriously, when you see a left on price tag from the store it came from, and the goodwill price also on it that is larger ….. makes you think.

  44. 92 cents per dollar goes to help WHO? I guess their CEO’s that are making 500-750k per year are included in that estimation.
    Michael Miller is back up to $850,000 a year! Can you get greedwill to answer these allegations? Being a nonprofit their tax records are public record.

    Jim Gibbons get $over 400k a year, PLUS bonuses. It’s sickening.

  45. Here in Colorado the stores have gone up 200% in just 1.5 yrs. I don’t shop there anymore because of their prices. Yard sales are more fun anyways, especially when you hit a jackpot sale!

  46. I have been shopping thrift shops for years and i get this sinking feeling that these shops especially good will, Salvation Army, community aid plus many more are not trustworthy. I am sure some money goes to help but i bet more money goes in other people’s pockets one way or the other. The people that run these should be auditied. I know for a fact that there are groups of antique dealers that heads of good will’s etc hold back so dealers can get things for cheap while they help price the mediocre stuff expensive. There are payouts for this and i know it goes on all the time. That is why you will you don’t see that much good stuff as it never hits shelfs nd then then good will has an auction site too. I want to know where the government is on these places. Why don’t they have audits, finding out how much money these places are taking in. Quite a few years ago I was in Florida and was in Salvation Army, clerk said they just spent a million dollars in cash for the building. My beef this stuff is given to them free of charge and they are getting away with what I think is criminal. Thanks for listening I could go on and on.

  47. I’ve been shopping Goodwill and other thrift stores for years (like, decades). I also have used their online site a great deal (for at least 10 years).

    I believe that, during the 2000s, Goodwill as an organization got tired of being a wholesale source for people who resell on Ebay, and for people who, in general, act as pickers for vintage clothing and collectibles stores and sites. Note also that as “vintage chic” and recycling and upcycling and thinking green came into being as fashionable concepts, people no longer scorned used clothes they way they did just a couple of decades ago. People with deeper pockets were now willing to go to the thrifts to find “cool stuff”, and blogs flourished online with what to look for and what the bloggers had found. Social media celebrated the new, fun thing! A treasure hunt through junkland!

    A treasure hunt, yeah. But only for the well-to-do. The effects of all this aggressive thrifting have been felt: no more bargains at Goodwill Stores.

    I seldom shop at Goodwill stores any more for the very reason others have pointed out—if you are going there to clothe yourself and your family in good quality items at lower cost, you are out of luck. Used shoes are priced very high, fake handbags the same. Polyester scarves for $7. Junk jewelry if any jewelry at all. Decent quality ceramics and glassware items have become ridiculous. The good stuff we used to trawl for (for ourselves, not for resale!) is going online, leaving us with in-store stuff we wouldn’t buy new if we had the money to do so, because the quality is inadequate.

    Goodwill has positioned itself to catch the money that people were making on Ebay and in the vintage clothing stores. The trouble is, at those prices, resellers don’t want to buy as much, because they can’t make the money on it. And the best goods are no longer in the stores, so…the cagey resellers go to estate sales and yard sales and Craig’s List instead. And Goodwill is mostly left with the people who just want inexpensive clothing to wear and serviceable Pyrex to use in their kitchens, and they are being gouged for them. You would think if only the junk was left in the stores and the good stuff was online, they might lower the prices in-store to reflect what they actually have to sell now. Well, no. That higher price legacy has apparently come to stay—the market has grown used to it.

    So GW stores are selling overpriced used crap (and sometimes junky new stuff donated by Walmart and other discount stores for a tax writeoff) to people who are forced to pay higher prices to lock out Ebay resellers, but many of the people who shop at Goodwill Stores and don’t go elsewhere, don’t really have many elsewheres to go to shop. They don’t have the money for it. Some of them can’t afford cars to drive somewhere else. So they shop where they live.

    I say go to church thrift stores if you can and forget about Goodwill. They are greedy people, and they use their employees badly for tiny paychecks. They really don’t care about their customers, I have sadly concluded.

    In regard to the online site:

    Watch out for that shipping, folks, before you bid; they are notoriously high at many of the online GW stores. Sift through carefully. Reject any item that has a blurry photo, also. As for the total end price, figure it in advance with the shipping before you do your maximum bid and don’t fox yourself into overpaying. Always consider what you are getting! Don’t assume you can find a bargain; that’s not likely (although it’s occasionally possible). Better to think of it as a site for unique collectibles. I still shop there for some things, but remember: for what you overpay for many things on that site, you would be better off paying that price or often less at Ebay, where you have genuine buyer protection. The Goodwill site has none of that. And for heaven’s sake, don’t buy any consumer electronics on there. Unless you are a geek who is looking to repair things, you will most likely lose your money; Goodwill guarantees nothing whatsoever.

    Be a savvy shopper.

  48. I hate goodwill. They are over priced! Everything they get is free and they should not sell anything over $5.00 . I am pretty and young and I would like nice clothes but I can’t even afford to shop at thrift stores. That’s sad.

  49. The Goodwill is a scam. I know it in my gut. I know greed when I see it. And I know corporate cold calculating regimes when I see them. I am too old to fool. When you confront a manager with questions about where the money is going and how you can sense bean counters in the air you get that vacant spokeshole response. It is the face of corporate greed. The souless stare of a predator. And apparently it will have to run its course because people are generally asleep at the wheel and wander thru life in a half concious stupor wanting to believe that they live in a nice warm womb and everything is on the up and up.

  50. I just walked out of a GW and I feel violated. I only went to see what I could get for 1/2 off. I recently moved to Illinois from Indiana and the prices were so different. Illinois kids clothes prices were $3.99 a piece but had a slash through that and marked at $2.99…shocking right? Indiana kids clothes are $1.99…that’s a fair price…and they have a rewards program. None of the GW’s around here have that. As I was looking for clothes for my kiddos I seen a NWT’s Bonnie Jean dress. $30. Seriously? $30? A hat for $15, a pair of shoes for $25, a kid’s fleece zip up jacket for $20, and an old broken down chair for $20. What the hell is going on? This stuff is donated! Furniture….mark it between $5-$10. Clothes…..mark everything a damn $1. Guarantee they wouldn’t have anything left and people would feel better about donating. That they are helping not only those in the “supposed” programs but those in need coming in to clothe their families. I refuse to donate to them. The only way I can afford anything in there is when they have their 1/2 off tags….which of about 90% mysteriously seem to disappear. They are con artists plain and simple. They are out to help themselves. It’s ridiculous. And on a side note…if they put a coach purse in their glass case and mark it as such and it’s a fake….they could get in big trouble for that.

  51. I don’t like the keyboard I got, it hurts when I write my books. I noticed that since I look in GW a lot to see if there is anything that I would pay their price for, I noticed that they always have these keyboards for sale. Usually at around 2.99. When I looked in Wal-mart and other retail stores I found that the low line keyboards go for around 10.0. Well I thought I would just go over to Goodwill and pick up a keyboard that is more comfortable for me to use, and I also thought it would cost me around 2.99 but guess what, they started pricing higher now and there was this Logitec that I liked but one leg was broke.

    They wanted 9.99 for the old used broken leg keyboard. I said loudly: “No Way! I can get a nice brand new one for that, what happened to 2.99? Goodwill sells mostly junk on those electronic shelves and I only find a deal that I know is a deal when they don’t know what something is worth.

    The only time you will get any real savings on an item is if either they don’t actually know what it is and they price it low or if it is clothing that is half off or less. There furniture is mostly trash but some people will buy it…imagine that! I will admit to buying a desk for 20.0 that I thought was a fair deal but then I see stuff that isn’t worth 5 bucks and they want 55. for it.

    One example was an HDMI wire that was in the package which was opened. The store that it came from had a price tag on it at 8.99 and so I went to the counter and asked them if there was a Goodwill price for the item and they said it is the 8.99. I then told them that this price was put there at the Best Buy, so why would I buy it here for the same price? And they just looked at me like a dog with his head turned sideways.

    Goodwill is growing into a major enterprise but they hide that and you and I keep allowing it by not only going there to shop or just look around but bring our trash there to get rid of it and let them sell the trash to people that pay it without caring that it is trash.

  52. Goodwill’s price gouging continues to escalate especially in the past two years. Talk to a store manager and they blame it on corporate and tell you to complain to them but pricing many items is at the individual store’s discretion especially wares. Many of the little knick knacks and porcelain plates etc that they were selling for less than $1 last year are now being jacked up to $2.99 – 5.99. Much of what they sell is garbage ready its sad the people donate it and even sadder that they put it on their shelves and then slap on high price labels. I told a store manager today I no longer donate anything good to their stores. Are the jacked prices really going to job training and pay of employees or is to to pay for the expensive HDTV Advertising set ups they added to front of stores running a loop of Goodwill TV? It’s time to Occupy Goodwill and Boycott their overinflated prices.

  53. I’ve become very upset with Good Will.

    As a mother of 2 young children, one who is chronically ill and medically complex, I need to find cheap clothes for them.

    When I started shopping there 2 years ago, kids clothes was usually $0.79 a piece. I went in yesterday, the TODDLER clothes went up to $3 a piece at the CHEAPEST!! $3 for stained, old and frayed clothes and for the decent clothes, it’s over $5. Anything with a well known tag or new tags is priced over $10.

    This is insane. It’s FREE CLOTHING, everything the get is pure profit.

    And to add insult to injury, you go to check out and they ask you if you want to donate your change to their employee training program. So not only are they raising their prices, but they want you to donate to cover training their OWN employee training.

    And most of the Good Will’s in our area have stopped the 50% off color tags.

    It’s just insane. This has made it so much harder on us, but I really can’t stand Good Will anymore.

    It used to be about offering decent, quality clothes for cheap so that disadvantaged families could afford clothes, but now they’re just about profit.

  54. If you’re broke and living on beans and rice, It would be crazy to spend $6.99 for a used sweater just because you don’t happen to have a blue one. Doesn’t matter how pretty that shade of peacock is. The Goodwill is supposed to serve the needs of the financially strapped as well as the employment needs of the challenged. I am disappointed by the place and have cut ‘way back on trips there.

    Also, our Goodwill store has stopped carrying sewing patterns. What is that about?

  55. While browsing in our local Goodwill store in Concord I overheard the manager telling an employee to make sure they check on line before pricing and item. It all made sense now. This is why I see a Coffee Cup with a crack in it selling for $2.99 or a Barbie doll all torn apart for $19.99. If we can all just wake up and take our hard earned money somewhere else maybe they will get the hint when sales drop.

    • I have a thrift store and I have a sign on Display that reads “some prices may be high and some may be low but I’m trying to be as fair as possible. Remember Ialso have rent and utilities to pay for.

  56. My daughter and I went to 3 different Goodwell in 1 week. The prices are crazy…$129.99 for a infant car seat? $99.00 for a comfort set??? 6 piece dish set $79 ??? I could go on and on…If a mother was in need of a car seat would they give them the $129.99 or find one for $19.99? I was there it sure wasn’t the one she asked for.Never again will my family give them anymore items.. They should be investigated….

  57. Good Lord! You all actually believe that Goodwill helps people and are a not-for-profit charity?! Goodwill gives NOTHING to anyone! If you take training classes from Goodwill–you pay money for said classes. Donate your car to Goodwill so I can BUY it from them. Goodwill buys shipment lots of goods–just like Big Lots, The Dollar Tree, etc.— but sells the items for retail prices. I have seen Goodwill employees throwing merchandise in the dumpster that they can’t sell—instead of giving the items away. Round up your change? Ha ha–NO! As much money as Goodwill makes from their THOUSANDS of stores, they should have more room for 2 buggies to pass each other, have enough shelves to place items instead of piling items up, and throw out the torn, stained, stinky items. Everything I touch in Goodwill is filthy. Salvation Army has gotten just as bad, but at least they help without charging for the help.

  58. I agree that Goodwill has made a complete change in providing the less fortunate a place to buy clothes, furniture , books etc etc.. at a reasonable price! I also see desperate folks buying used clothes that are not clean and stink to high heaven! Most electronics priced way high without remote controls to work them. I was in a store in Lakewood, CO that was charging two hundred dollars for a dinning room table and chairs ..looked like it came out of a dump? But I guess there are folks that are willing to buy that stuff thinking they got a great bargain. Also I thought they hire the disabled? Not so in this store …they all look pretty healthy to me? They have really taken advantage of poor people who really need to provide essentials for themselves and their family’s. I will never go into another store again!!! I will also ask the local news broadcasters and advocates to really look into the so called charity stores to help the disabled and provide training for the deprived.

  59. I went to buy infant tiny clothing through size 2t and couldn’t believe I was better off shopping clearance online and applying coupons and earning rewards was far cheaper.

    Brand new in cheaper.

    • I went to good will to find a sofa and chair, i did i loved it but i couldn’t believe what they were asking for it sofa 299.00 and chair 250.00 a futon set, really i priced the same items at a furniture store and theirs was cheaper.

  60. The prices are to high here in Fort Worth tx. That’s why it’s better is this donation goes to churches, because they give the staff to real poor people.

  61. I have seen items from the 99 cent store (Momentum Brands) marked up to several dollars. I pointed out to employees that something originally sold for 99 cents, now in used condition and priced at $4 is unreasonable. They shrugged and said they were unable to adjust prices.

  62. used to be a good place to find a rare hidden gem now what the employees dont steal or put aside for themselves has been marked up to nearly retail.

    if i was a politician I would lower to boom on Goodwill and clean house.

    Goodwill is a racket. They get free stuff then they mark it up to make a profit.

    I am done with Goodwill

  63. why don’t goodwill ship the items they sell to disaster relief areas where all these families have lost EVERYTHING THEY OWN!! THEY DONT !! THEY CRUSH IT AND TRASH IT!!

  64. The problem we have is how they sort the donations and route them to different venues for sale. So when I go down to my local Keizer Oregon Goodwill Retail Store, I am left with all items that didn’t make the cut to be sold on On-Line Auctions (very expensive) and the markup is out of this world. I can now go to my local big box store and get brand new clothes cheaper than at the Goodwill…sad. I went to buy my boxed Christmas cards a few weeks ago at Goodwill and the ones I picked were marked $6.99, I flipped the box over and they were marked with a Bimart price sticker of “6.99”!! THIS IS NOT RIGHT!!!

  65. I think Goodwill should be investigated by the irs and congress
    I would like to see the results they come up with
    I believe that goodwill is taking money out of resellers hands that pay full taxes on there profits
    At the same time decreasing these people profits are competing with these resellers online causing even less profit for those resellers
    What this causes is less money collected in taxes due to the fact Goodwill is considered a non profit
    At what point does a non profit get taxed as a corporate entity
    There should be a clear answer to this
    I have some suggestions for when they should be taxed as a corporate entity
    When they create or use a online site to sale goods of any kind
    There online activity should be limited to advertising and collecting donations with no gods exchanged
    Set a max on the amount they can charge on all categories of goods they sale
    Another words electronics , a pair of pants, a shirt or top, a pair of shoes, a toy, a book etc.. can not be sold for more then the max price set for that category in order to retain a non profit status.
    Goodwill, the Salvation Army, many churches, religious organizations, community organizations and others are now using the non profit stays to move into corporate entities that are improperly taxed as such.
    The problem caused by these entities using this non profit status is they are acting in a way that decreases taxable income from individuals.
    This non profit status and the way in which they are using it are causing a loss in income tax.
    Perhaps there should be a limit on gross sales receipts Nationwide for any and all nonprofits activity before fully being taxed as afir profit organization
    Something needs to give with those so called non profits that are taking actions that decrease the total income tax being collected and total income being earned by those in there communities
    We as individuals have been abused by the corporate giants for a very long time and now our nonprofits are moving into the same direction as the corporate giants
    It is that time in history for all non profits to be invaded by irs accountants, financial investigators and questioned by congress when taking advantage of or flat out abusing the not for profit status is found.

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