Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Goodwill Pound Store Experience: Great Scores for Pocket Change



We've had chats about how thrift store prices are too high. I hunt at flea markets, and I've been spoiled by the pocket-change prices. For the majority of the year the most I spent on a second-hand item was $6.99 for a vintage car bike rack and even that felt outrageous.

Perhaps the local Goodwill Pound Store (Also known as a Goodwill Outlet Store), which charges by weight, can be a solution for the hyper-frugal hunter? Let's take a look at the pros and cons based on my experience:

Pros: - You can't beat the prices on light items.  - My friend bought 28 paperbacks and 14 hardcovers for $7.22! - Once I left with a tidy stack of books for $5 and resold some immediately at a book store to earn back my investment.

Cons:  - They've hired security guards to control the fighting! - Items get broken while people aggressively hunt. - Employees bought items out in huge carts; you dig for deals! - When a new cart is bought out you cannot explore it until security gives the word, then hunters pounce it in unison! - Heavy items will cost more and must be avoided.

The Verdict: I've gotten 10, 25, and 50 cent deals at flea markets and yard sales many times. Just look at how much I got for one dollar at a favorite flea stop! So is making the pit stop at the pound store worth it? Ah, what the hell, it doesn't hurt to have another source for lower-priced merchandise. As a bonus, it's fun to stand back and watch the carnage as people rush to be the first to pick through each bin! ;)

Hunting in a Goodwill Pound Store/Goodwill Outlet Store is a unique experience that makes you feel like a real Vintage Vulture! It's a cute vintage hunter term of endearment Dabito (Old Brand New) uses.

Have you ever shopped at a Goodwill Pound Store? What's your source for low-priced thrift finds?
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49 comments:

  1. Never HEARD of it! It takes awhile for things to "find" us here in NE Indiana!

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    1. Get thee to work, find one and get your deals :)

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  2. I've found a few things at ours - and once made the mistake of buying a heavy typewriter and *really* paid for it too. Ours mostly makes me sad because of all of the items that get broken. And all of the stuffed animal faces looking pitiful under piles of junk. I love getting in there and digging but am left with a little sadness when I think of all of the stuff that is destroyed in those bins.

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    1. Same here. There was a pretty old typewriter but when I couldn't lift it into the cart I knew it needed to stay right there in that bin! ;) I ain't paying no kinda crazy price for nothin'!

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    2. you can always ask for a set price if something is heavy! they almost always say 5 bucks! which I am happy to pay for things like a full set of letterpress type, a bowling ball, or a life sized bust of hank williams. the one here in nashville is great about that!

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  3. I LOVE the Goodwill Outlet. But then, I shop for costume and decorative elements, while most people at my store are more interested in baby clothes and useful stuff. So I wait until the crowd clears from the newly brought out bins before I look through them. I once found six beautiful saris that cost me a total of about $1.

    I agree that it can be a little sad, though. Things get broken, and you find lovely things that someone clearly made by hand. Still, it can be fun. Just be sure to take gloves (I never do, but everyone else seems to) and plan to contend with crowds.

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    1. I see others with gloves and can understand why- when you really did in there you never know what the items could be covered in.

      I've thought the same thing- for clothing/costume designers, and pound store offers deals that can't be beat!

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  4. Hi Van! How do you know which ones are outlets vs. regular Goodwill stores? Thanks!

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    1. I think we only have one Outlet/Pound store in Jacksonville, it's on Edgewood down the road from the normal Goodwill located on Cassat directly in front of Lowes.

      I found it by asking about it at the Cassat Goodwill. I'd start the investigations there, talking to Goodwill workers and asking if they know where the Outlet/Pound store locations are.

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  5. I have to drive three hours to get to the nearest one, so I've delayed going. But soon, my friend, soon. Thank you for the reminder :)

    Also, I recently saw that "Taste makes Waist" mug somewhere, and it confused me. Now I look at it, and say, "Duh, Megan."

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    1. Better make it worth the drive and load up :) ! We recently took a 2 hour pilgrimage to the Orlando Ikea. Always worth the trip- even if I just hit up the cafeteria and take pics for inspiration.

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  6. I'm so impressed you found intact mugs! Our Goodwill Outlet always has great furniture, book, and luggage deals, but the housewares and clothes are kind of meh. I also find it's something I really, really have to be in the mood for to deal with all the crazed people.

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    1. Same here...most days I'm not in the mood to bother with it!

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  7. my husband and i go to the pound store all the time. at ours if something is heavy you can just ask for a set price. i got a whole set of lead type for 3 dollars. by the pound it would have been over 20! sometimes it is a bust, but sometimes i've come out with a whole cart full of awesome vintage for almost nothing! i love the pound store. that is where i got my life sized bust of hank williams!

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    1. That's good to know, I'll have to ask about that next time I visit.

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  8. Call me crazy, but I think the pink suitcase may be mine that I just donated to Goodwill!! It was exactly like that and in great shape! I love the pound store but the crazy people scare me some. I have gotten great clothes there before :)

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    1. It could very well be! :) Too funny.

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  9. I have heard of them but never been to one. Closest one to me is two hours away Phoenix. I definitely want to give it a try though.

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  10. <-- Loves Goodwill Outlet. When something is really heavy I ask for a separate price on it. I know the people that work there from frequent shopping and they usually price heavy items around 2.99. Lots of broken stuff at ours too... But I have found some amazing pieces despite that. The biggest ick factor to shopping there is the fighting over items and kids running rampant. I have to be in a very tolerant mood to shop there. LOL.

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  11. I have never seen or been to one of the pound stores... don't think they exist in Canada???

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    1. I'd ask at the Goodwills your frequent. I'm not sure since the ones in the US and the ones in Canada operate completely differently.

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  12. We have one of those near me, and it is terrifying! One of my friends started going there a lot and I went with her one time when they pulled out 6 new tubs of stuff. They had sheets over everything and then security said the word and the pulled the sheets off and people started just throwing things everywhere! Good news, I found a really great cast iron skillet, and although it cost like $4.00, it was a deal, as this one will probably resell for $40-$60!

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    1. That's the exact way they ran things here, too. People truly attack the tubs like starving vultures on a fresh carcass!

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  13. Replies
    1. After my first time I didn't return for a long while!

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  14. I've never been to one but have always wanted to go!

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    1. Try it out- I bet you'd find a lot of light merch for your shop!

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  15. I just discovered these outlet GW stores when I went to one in San Francisco. I went on Saturday when everything was $2, but during the week they have auctions. I live in So. Calif. and Googled Goodwill Outlet and found a couple within my driving distance. Haven't been to one yet, but really want to! I'm not afraid of the "aggresive" hunt - I can get in there with the best of them. I think I have more than my share of aggressive genes! You got some great items!!

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    1. I -could- go in there and fight with the best of them but there's just too many picking options out here to justify that. I just came home with many goodies from the flea market for a quarter here, dollar there... :)

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  16. I had my first experience at the GW outlet two weekends ago, and probably won't go back. I don't mind flipping through racks and looking high/low/behind, but this was a whole nother level. I was afraid of getting stuck by something when reaching into the bins. I even saw a guy wearing heavy duty construction gloves (smart) while sifting through! I don't mind dirt, but the outlet we have here is just plain filthy. Ack!
    Now, I didn't go to the other side where they had the recycled computers, but it looked super organized.

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    1. Yes, you really have to wash up after digging through these bins. I didn't aggressively dive right in for fear of broken glass.

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  17. I'm so happy you did a post on the GW pound store. I go every Monday. You can find really good stuff for a cheap price. If things are too big they just tell you a price. I got a old mixer for 2.50. I got a clock for .50 and a recliner chair for $5.00. So don't be afraid of something that is too big, the one in jax will just give you a price and not charge by the pound.

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    1. Good to know! I'll ask about an item next time I'm there.

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  18. I actually have a few pics on my blog from the "pounding" experience!! (a little scary)http://smalltowntreasures.blogspot.com/2011/01/thrift-bender.html

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    1. Oh, thanks for sharing! They actually don't let us take photos at our local pound store.

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  19. I've never shopped at a Goodwill Pound Store - what great finds, though! I love the rainbow mug and the wristlets - so cute!

    XO

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    1. I loved them too. As you can tell by the site's color scheme, I've got a weakness for bold primaries! :)

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  20. I love the pound store, but I definitely have to prep for it! I have to be dressed right, especially in the summertime (no AC, S. Florida) & in the right mindset to look intimidating & wrangle those bins. I find the best strategy is to throw anything mildly interesting into the cart and cull at the end. Also, in my area the most ridiculous time is when the shoe bins come out...there are some people who are serious about getting first shot at the shoes. True for you all too?

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    1. Yep, I noticed the same trend with the shoes. I ignore the shoes entirely so that gave me more time to look at the books and knick knacks in peace. I use the same strategy, toss it in the cart, cull at the end.

      Here in North Florida you've gotta be dressed for the heat too. Gets crazy hot on the hunt! But I love it :)

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  21. Interesting, I didn't know a GW had a pound store (let alone what a pound store was) before reading this. I wonder if they have one in Orlando?! The competitive stuff doesn't bother me, I kind of figure that if it's meant to be I'll find it and get it.

    Thanks for the head up! :)

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    1. I'm sure they have at least one in Orlando. Any time I go there with mom we stop at the thrifts, the Goodwills have great/very clean stuff for decent prices when we visit.

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  22. I would love to find one near me...I'm going to google GWO right after I post my comment.

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    1. I hope you find one! They seem pretty prevalent!

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  23. I went to one in Des Moines. Although when I got there it was late afternoon and the "new" bins were done for the day. What they had were the leftovers from all the earlier bins. It was easy to go through them since they were supposedly picked over. I found some great stuff and ended up putting quite a bit back because it became too expensive when they weighed it. It really does add up quickly if you are buying dishes and things. I will go back and try to get there earlier and see if the place is full of crazy people. It would be something to watch!

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    1. It is indeed fun to watch. Sometimes I like going at the end, the bins are pre-picked so you can just look inside and find goodies. People leave behind valuable finds sometimes!

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  24. Rats! None in my city, but it sounds like a crazy adventure.

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  25. I kind of wish there was one close to us! SO jealous!

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  26. Ok...just found your blog and am thoroughly enjoying myself. I live in Upstate SC...there is a GW outlet store in Greenville that is known as "The Big Dig" to some around here. When my kids were in elementary school I volunteered to help with costumes for the class plays and found awesome vintage pieces of clothing for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". I also have an obsession for scrabble tiles...vintage or brand new. I love vintage sewing patterns. One time when they brought out a new bin it had oh so many vintage sewing patterns!! The wait for them to bring out the other 3 bins was painful. Here is a post from my blog about that experience:
    http://koolbeanz65.blogspot.com/2010/10/archeological-dig.html
    I find going to the Big Dig therapeutic.

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