Goodwill thrift stores have eliminated discounts and changed pricing on item categories throughout their stores, according to local store employees.
For years, Thursday has been Senior Day, when customers 55 and older could get a 20% discount, with no minimum purchase requirement. Not only has the Senior Discount been eliminated, an employee told me today that “all of our discounts have been discontinued.”
The price tags on the individual items used to be colored, and each week a different color tag would be discounted by 50%, but no more. Those colored signs on the doors and throughout the stores indicating whether the pink, green, red, or blue tag was the half-price color are gone. (The Sonoma County GoLocal discount will continue through the end of the year, however, with 20% off purchases of $20 or more, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays only).
In three different Sonoma County Goodwill thrift stores today, I discovered this reorganization underway, which the beleaguered employees indicated was initiated at the corporate level. Lest we think this is merely a regional change, two days ago I was in a Goodwill in Diamond Head, Mississippi, and employees there told me they had eliminated the colored tag discounts.
The pricing has also been overhauled, some for better, some for worse. All the clothing is now priced by category rather than individually, unless the item is considered a “special find,” with a special, higher price. (Let’s overlook that items are donated rather than found, shall we?) Dresses took the biggest hit, going from $5.99-$8.99 for most dresses, to a flat $10 each. In fact, it seemed to me that women’s clothing has been specially targeted for price hikes.
Which reminds me, they’re rounding off the pricing now, so tags that would have been $3.99 before are now $4.00.
I had a white polka-dotted bow tie in my basket, and the clerk told me sadly that “all ties are $4 now.” I still wanted it; the drop in book prices more than made up for it. Hardcovers used to be priced individually, most from $1.99-$3.99, but hardcover books are all $2 now, and paperbacks are $1.
This is a window of opportunity for the serious thrifter, though. The stores are in some disarray during this change, so ignore the overpriced categories and take advantage of immediate deals in categories that are currently underpriced. For example, I bought a black Ugly Doll for $2, and an interesting, custom framed picture for $4.
There was also a plastic gallon bag of Monarch silverplate utensils, perhaps 50 pieces, but the bag itself was unpriced. At the front counter, they had to call the manager (who happened to be in the loo at the time). The bag of silverware they thought would go for $10 was finally priced at $15, so I asked if I could pick out just the pieces I wanted. They agreed, and I bought the 8 dinner forks, the 8 gumbo spoons, and a serving spoon at the standard 25¢ apiece that they would ask for loose silverware, for a grand total of $4.25.
Let this be a reminder to appreciate our local store employees. Do not be the customer who makes life miserable for the line employee, while the decision-makers and highly paid executives never face their customers.
Our local Goodwill workers are still the friendly people they’ve always been, and they deserve a break.
Sample new pricing:
Belts, Gloves, Hats, Scarves, Ties, Wallets $4
Books – hardcover $2, paperback $1
Computer Monitors $5
Curtains & Draperies $3
DVD players $10
Handbags & Backpacks $7
Mics & Cords $2
Napkins & Placemats $1
Robes, Swimming Suits, Sleepwear, Undergarments $3
Shorts & Skirts $6
Televisions (flat screen) $10
Televisions (tube) $5
VCR players $5