Saturday, August 9, 2014

Reality television...all at your local Goodwill store!

These are trying times for a garage sale picker. With many folks on vacation and the weather being hot, August is always a slow month for yard sales. The last few weeks have been particularly slow for me. I've found a few yard sales here and there, but it's been tough going. This hasn't slowed down my sales, however. I am still doing well with the few good pieces I've found. Shopping the local thrift shops has helped a lot. I've found that even though yard sales have gone cold, the action is crazy at my local Goodwill store. Although, not in a way that you might think, more like reality TV crazy! I'll get to that in a minute. First, check out this great summer time score....

Coleman Cooler 
Everyone knows I am a big Coleman guy. About a week ago, I found this awesome Coleman "Steel Belted 54" cooler at the local Goodwill store. Although it had a crack on the bottom corner, overall it was in pretty nice shape. Most importantly, the inside was clean as a whistle. It was tagged for only six bucks. This was a lower price then many coolers I've found at the yard sales! Even the cashier lady was impressed with the cooler, marveling over the condition and cheap price. With summer winding down, I decided I'd better sell it quick. Big coolers like this are always best sold on Craigslist. Reason Number On: No shipping costs. If I sold it through eBay, shipping for such a large item would be brutal! I've been burnt on the big items before, with my buyers invariably being on the West Coast. Since Money in the Garage corporate headquarters is situated on the East Coast, this always means higher postage costs!

To avoid all this, I sell the really big stuff exclusively on Craigslist. Following my usual practice, I listed the Coleman cooler under Craigslist's sporting goods equipment section for $75 dollars. About a day later, a nice lady e-mailed me asking if I would take $50 for the cooler? Of course, I countered back at $60 and she agreed!. We met that evening and she greased my palm with three crisp twenty dollar bills! I am no math major, but that's a pretty good return on my six buck  investment. Six turned into sixty...try getting that return at the local bank!

Coleman burner stove
In addition to the nice profit, I am always a little extra giddy when I successfully avoid using eBay. Imagine if I had sold the cooler on eBay. With a sixty dollar sale, eBay would have taken a nice bite out of my profit. As a quick comparison, I recently sold this portable Coleman camp stove for $51 dollars. ( I paid $5 for it at Goodwill.) After I charged $10.50 for shipping, eBay grabbed six bucks in final value fees. Crazy, right? That's 12% of my sale going into eBay's pocket! In the case of my Coleman cooler, my entire profit went straight into my pocket instead. Not to mention avoiding the drama of eBay's new and insane, "defect" policy. No worrying about some dopey buyer sabotaging your hard earned seller rating. With Craigslist, you'll never see, and more importantly, hear from that buyer again!


Better then a reality TV show !

Speaking of drama, I witnessed quite a scene the other day at my local Goodwill store. Two customers were arguing about some merchandise. It was like watching a reality television show! I should have pulled out my iPhone, because it would have been a real YouTube moment. Voices were raised and a fight almost broke out, as the man accused the women of taking an item out of his shopping cart while he wasn't looking. The guy got louder and louder, jabbing his finger in the women's direction. The women acted confused, claiming that she didn't know what the guy was talking about. (I had my doubts over her act.) Finally, when it looked like a boxing match was just about to break out, a Goodwill employee got in between the two and told the man to leave the store. The employee began yelling at the guy, "You're a grown man, now don't be yelling at this lady! Get out of my store now!" At that, the guy backed off and stormed out of the store. Crisis averted, thanks to the Goodwill employee stepping in.

I have to say these little shows are not that unusual in my local Goodwill store. On another recent visit, I was patiently waiting in line to pay when an angry women in front of me began arguing with the store manager. She was demanding a refund on a dress she had bought. Now if you know anything about Goodwill, you know the store has a strict "No refund" policy. While it's pretty much a cardinal rule at Goodwill, this didn't stop the angry lady who was now holding up the line. She insisted on a refund for her dress, claiming it was torn when she bought it. (If true, she should have looked it over carefully prior to buying it.) The manager calmly attempted to explain the Goodwill refund policy, but the lady was having none of it. Looking slightly possessed, the women glared at the manager, telling her in a low, scary voice that if she didn't get her money back, she would start screaming and creating a scene right there in the store. Seeking to avoid what promised to be a major hullabaloo, the manager wisely gave in and refunded the women.  Another drama averted and not a moment too soon. These little dust ups are better then watching a reality television show...shouting, screaming and finger pointing...all happening at a local Goodwill store near you!

How's the summer  treating you? Any drama scenes playing out at your local thrift store lately? Share the story in the comment section below....




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24 comments:

  1. I found the same cooler in red at an early spring garage sale for five bucks! I too sold mine on Craigslist for $60 just a couple days later! Gotta love it!

    They need to make a tales of the thrifts show on TLC or something. Mix in people who resell and show some of the drama that occurs over the stupidest little things. Genius I tell ya, million dollar idea! Haha!

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    1. Samantha- Coleman coolers are money in the bank! That's funny that you flipped yours for the exact amount. That pretty much verifies their value, around $60 big ones!

      Yeah, we may have given some TLC producer a great idea for a new show! ( I know they troll these blogs all the time looking for the next American Pickers type show.) As log as they put me in it, I won't take then to court-Ha!

      Thanks for checking in....Dude!

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  2. I found 2 Commercial Bunn Brew Through Airpots with a rack for $12 at Goodwill (my Goodwill charges crazy prices). Sold them on Craigslist for $85 to a woman opening a bakery. Gotta love the cash and no eBay, Paypal, or shipping cost. Last drama I saw at Goodwill was some guy yelling for some woman to control her kids. Couldn't disagree with that.

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    1. Carolyn-Scored a few Keurig, but never a Commercial Bunn brewer-nice score. As far as rowdy kids in the Goodwill store, I've been there. It's the worse, isn't it? Blogged about it a while back....

      http://www.moneyinthegarage.com/2013/09/hey-kidleave-mickey-alone.html

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!

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  3. The GWs in my area have a 14 day return policy, for in-store credit only. I hardly ever shop there, but one of my more recent purchases was a vintage Babysitters Club sleeping bag. (I loved the books growing up.) I got it home and completely unzipped and it had a stain that looked like it could be blood. I took it back in a hurry.

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    1. Kari- I-yi-yi, gross, right? That would definitely hurt the sleeping bags value. Around here, GW has a no return policy, although. I think a 14 day return for credit is very reasonable, Wish we had it here.

      Thanks for filling us in on your local GW....Dude!

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    2. Ours has a 14 day return for store credit as well. I have used it on broken toys. Seriously I wish people would stop donating broken crap. Nothing like finding a $60 talking stuffed animal for $2 only to discover it no longer works.

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  4. ...didnt happen at MY Goodwill but I was visiting in another town went to one location, IT was crazy as a siren went off, and we were told to stand out of the isles...several then big tables of freshly donated items were rolled out, a group of male buyers became crazed and dug thru the stuff so brutally many of the items they didnt want they broke as they threw it across the table!! Mostly it was toys...we were pushed and insulted by some guy who sounded German or Russian he called me a redneck--WOW I told him not to push me or I'd push him back--they sell by the lb not priced! Wont ever go to that one again!

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    1. As Bart Simspson would say,"Ay, caramba!" I hate scenes like that with people shoving and elbowing. That's one of the reasons I usually avoid Estate Sales. Not quite as bad as the scene you described, but tons of people to deal with when your trying to find a deal.

      Thanks for sharing the ugly story....Dude!

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  5. If I were the manager, with the first incident, I wouldn't have allowed either of them to buy the item. The whole he said/she said, even if I had a good guess as to who was being truthful. Anyhow, I too wished you had recorded the scene. Lol.

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    1. Tami- I hear where you're coming from. I think the employee just wanted to break up the fight anyway he could. The guy was getting way to pushy, so I think he did the right thing.

      When you think about it, those employees must have some crazy stories to tell. Pretty sure refereeing fights isn't in the job description - lol!

      Thanks for writing in...Dude!

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  6. Yup, this week alone I witnessed 2 fights at the Goodwill Outlet store. One woman accused another of taking things out of her cart. It's an outlet with huge carts so everyone has to put there carts at the end of the room and hope someone doesn't take your stuff! Then , 2 days later there was a grabbing match between an older woman and man who were fighting over a doll- yup just like kids! When I commented to the worker about 2 fights in one week she said..."oh, you missed the one on Monday...lol".
    I don't do Craig's List but I do Kijiji ( same thing- local). I found 2 parts to an older model Bugaboo stroller at the Goodwill Outlet ( the basinet part) and they had no idea what is was but wanted to get rid of tem b/c they are huge so they said, take them for $2 each. Um. yeah! Sold for $80- no fees no problems:)

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    1. Love the Bugaboo part flip, that's a great score! Wish I was more versed in that area.

      Sounds to me like they should have TV cameras in your Goodwill store-holy cow! Talk about great television!

      Thanks for sharing the whole sorry story, Ha!....Dude!

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  7. Now if they could catch some of that kind of action on camera, I would watch more Thrift Hunters :) I must not go to GW at the right time. So far, no heated arguments- just some people nudging and stepping in front of other people to get their loot.

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    1. Definitely has the makings of a new show on TLC! HA!

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  8. Wow! Great deal on the cooler! I found one just like that last week for 3 bucks! I grabbed it right up! It's in really good condition. I've taken pictures but haven't listed it yet. Now after reading your story I might just try Craigslist first and see what I can get! Thanks for the info! ~~Pam

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    1. Pam- Sounds like you have a winner on your hands. Let us know how you do with it....Dude!

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  9. I've never seen bad behavior at any of the thrift stores out here. I don't doubt that it happens somewhere. I just haven't seen it. You know that since I've let those words come out of my mouth it there is no doubt that will change. I just hope that I'm not mixed up in it!

    Most of our GW stores are pretty nice. The one nearest me even has a greeter who opens the door for you!

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    1. Janet- Yeah, you may have just jinxed yourself. Just have your phone ready to record it. That's what I should have done...Ha!

      Thanks for checking in ....Dude!

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  10. the GW outlets can be brutal. If you have not experienced one in person, youtube a video about them and you will either want to go be part of the madness or say "no way in hell". Great bargains and finds can be had, but only if you can tolerate the craziness.

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    1. I've heard about those outlets, but never have been to one. Maybe it's for the best that I don't. I hate all that pushing and shoving!

      Thanks for the warning on those places....Dude!

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  11. People here in the Midwest are pretty civil! ;) LOL Here in Chicago we have a 10 day return policy on clothing only...for a store credit.

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    1. Margaret- I use to live west of the Appalachians and found that to be true. People are more friendly, civil and less high strung. Guess it's an East Coast thing!

      Dude!

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