Tuesday, September 3, 2013

An Intro to the Goodwill Outlet

The first time I went into a Goodwill Outlet, I thought the people wearing gloves and pushing around industrial-laundry-style wheeled carts with canvas sides were people who worked at the outlet. Nope. Those were the experienced shoppers.

The outlet works differently than the standard Goodwill store. Instead of things being arranged on shelves, you're in a warehouse environment where things are piled into bins. The bins are fairly shallow so that things don't get buried too deeply, but they're long and somewhat wide. So you've got a lot of ground to cover just to look through the stuff in one bin.

The other big difference from the retail stores is that stuff at the outlet is sold by the pound. There are different by the pound prices for different types of items; for example, clothing is $1.49 a pound, and housewares are $.49 a pound. The workers at the outlet will also give you a price on a specific item if you ask them, like if there's something heavy you want to buy that you don't want a by the pound price. And a few items do have per-item prices, such as books.

Not every city has a Goodwill Outlet, but they are spread around throughout the US. Where we live in Seattle, we can drive to two: the Seattle Outlet and the Everett Outlet. We went to the Seattle one a couple times (it's located just south of downtown), and then last Friday we went to the Everett once for the first time. It was interesting to compare the two stores. On the surface level, both are similar in that they have the same huge bins that people are sorting through, looking for those rare treasures (or, looking for who knows what?). But something felt more relaxed at the Everett store. I think it's because they are in a roomier environment, and they had things divided up a little more (for example, they had linens and clothing in separate bins while Seattle has these categories combined).

It takes a lot of patience to shop at an outlet because basically you have to sort through piles of stuff, and every now and then you turn up something interesting. But you do find great stuff sometimes! Last Friday we found this 100% wool Indiana Jones hat.

These Indy hats look to be good sellers on eBay, and I'm hoping that with Halloween coming up, we'll get a good price. At a retail thrift shop, I'm sure a hat like this would have been at least $4.99 (and I bet it would have been snapped up pretty quickly), but when buying by the pound, it cost us a fraction of that.

1 comment:

  1. :) I'm going to have to try going to one soon!