Monday, September 17, 2012

Too Good for Goodwill

It’s summer camp time for my daughter (Aug. 2012). While considering the activities she’ll be doing, we realize she doesn’t have enough worn out, dispensable shorts. And the old ones she does have, are too small. The annual growth spurt has happened.

I dread the thought of her small supply of good shorts coming back home stained with mud or unidentifiable substances. The start of school is near and clean shorts are preferable.

“Hmmm… the Goodwill Store.”

I remember a friend going there to get cowboy and western clothes for a scouting event; i.e., cheap clothes for a one-time event. Maybe we’ll find some “camping” shorts.

“Hmmm… good idea.”
So Daughter #2, Daughter #3, and I hop in the car for our Goodwill adventure after I dig up my discount card that has been stamped the required four times for making donations. (Something told me to keep it.)

When we get there, we go to an area that has denim hanging on the racks, but discover it’s the women’s section.
“Quite an organized place,” I marvel. “Let’s find the teen section, girls!”

On the other side of the store, the junior and children’s clothes are grouped by size, and even color in a few places.  This is easier than being in a big discount store, like T.J. Maxx, where I usually get overwhelmed and a headache if I’m not in and out in 20 minutes.
The girls and I push the clothes to the left, and then one by one, but super-fast, slide each item to the right as we pull from a good supply of shorts, jeans, and light weight jackets.

Daughter #3, the camper, is a bit skeptical; however, when we go to the fitting room (who knew? although it makes perfect sense to have one) and she tries on the clothes; “Eureka!” Not the fresh from the factory look, but everything is clean and normal, appearing to come directly from my dryer at home.
There is one little episode that I have to address. Daughter #3 might have a twinge of embarrassment because another shopper is close by. She begins to talk about camp and about Daddy being “out of the country.” This is probably her way of saying to the shopper, “Surely we can afford regular stores if Daddy can afford to be on business out of the country, right? We’re just in here getting things that we will throw away or give away later.”

Sooo… When I have the opportunity to whisper to her, I tell her that it is not necessary to say things that imply, “We have money.” Of course, she denies this as her intention.


That little trip to Goodwill causes me to think about matters of pride and economic status.  Why can’t we (some people) shop side by side with poor people, low income people, and frugal people? Why do we feel embarrassed at Goodwill, but not at a yard sale? Why do we have to have a reason for being in a discount store or thrift store?  “Oh, I’m shopping for vintage clothing,” one might say.
Will I go back?

It was such a deal; nineteen dollars for several items! With my discount card and their “colored tag of the day” items being 50% off, I felt like an Extreme Couponer!
When I asked my 20-something year old friend (unemployed at the time) how she managed to wear a different dress to seven weddings she recently attended, she said, “Goodwill!” We laughed and then I told her of my conquest.

(By the way, I hear that the store in the rich folks section of town has some really good stuff.)

Again… will I go back?

Honestly… yes.

Here comes the but…

I will probably go for a particular reason; not to shop for clothes. However, if I just happen to walk by the jeans, I might just slide through a few things on the rack to see if I get lucky.

Am I too good for Goodwill? Are you?


Rob-bear said...

Salvation Army. Value Village. Yup; we get clothes there. And a few other things. Being retired, I really don't need fancy. But I'm also a bit hard to fit comfortably. (Comes with being a Bear.) Sometimes I have to get things new. But I'm not afraid to buy second-hand.

Judy Thomas said...

I've been shopping a Goodwill for decades, some of the clothes I love the most are from there. Goodwill makes sense for many reasons; economically, socially and environmentally. They have good buys and what I buy there helps the Goodwill charities. But the main reason I shop there is to be environmentally responsible, to reuse/recycle clothes and other items. I can go buy new, but I often choose to buy used, and feel good about it.

MissKris said...

Outside of my underwear, I have done 99% of my shopping for clothes, furniture, art work, you name Goodwills, Value Villages, Salvation Armys. I never go in when I'm in a hurry...I take my time and browse. You'd be AMAZED at the quality labels you can find. To me, it's a challenge and it's like "SCORE!!!" whenever I find something. I enjoy shopping there a thousand times more than I do retail. My husband is the same way. He's found quality Pendleton wool shirts, brand new even, for hunting that our daughter, who used to work at Pendleton, will tell him cost $125 retail for maybe $5-6. My parents were born in New England just prior to the Great Depression and their families survived mainly by wits and 'creativity'. I was raised with the adage "Use it up, wear it out. Make it do or do without." Most people who donate to those stores don't DO that...I have come across sooooooooo many things with the original price tags on them. Pride goeth before the fall...I don't have a proud bone in my body, lol!

Mari said...

Good for you! I do some shopping there, but never seem to find those great deals that others talk about!

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

LOVE the way you get so much Wisdom, into a post about lots of ordinary things. :-) You are a Master of Sneaking Your Wisdom In. -gigggles-

I don't go to Good Will since I only wear a simple cotton wardrobe, which I rarely add to.

But of course, I am NOT too good for Good Will!!!! :-)


Abby said...

Another thoughtful post, Anita.

When I first "retired", I lived at second-hand stores, especially for the kids stuff. There are a lot of second-hand stores just for kids, for GOOD reason.

And I actually get a fair amount of clothes for work at consignment stores. They have the better brand names I like and are usually well organized. Plus, the prices! I rarely buy new.

My kids don't like goodwill clothes - there's probably a good bit of pride in the reasoning. They want the latest and newest, and they're boys!

But I think they understand the usefulness of a good romp at goodwill. We do go there for specific reasons - camping/hiking stuff, dog beds, halloween...

Hilary said...

Like you, it never occurred to me to shop there for everyday things but I have certainly found inexpensive dress clothes for my boys when they were outgrowing everything at a great pace. You can dress them for a wedding much easier than at a regular retail outlet. And yes, I've also looked for themed party outfits. It's kind of fun but it really doesn't occur to me to shop there on a regular basis.. until now. ;)

Rebecca S. said...

When I was a teenager my mom used to lament that they had never had second hand stores like Goodwill when we were little. Unless you were given hand-me-downs, everything had to be bought new. We didn't have a lot of clothes, just what we needed for school and play. Since I was a teenager, second hand shops have been popping up in our part of the world everywhere. I've outfitted myself and my kids (and even my home to a certain extent) with great 'finds' from stores like Value Village, the IODE, Hospital thrift shops, The Sally Ann, etc. etc. Second hand shopping is something I'm actually quite good at by now! We do buy our kids some new clothes for school, but often we go to Value Village first to see if we can get some stuff for less.
To be honest, in this part of the world, a lot people see it as the smart way to shop :)

Rebecca S. said...

I think I should add: The West Coast of Canada is an expensive place to live. Every bit of cost saving helps.

yonca said...

Kiss Consignment. It's one of the biggest goodwill store of Long Island.(Jericho Tpke., Commack)
I went there a couple of times and got a sofa side table and a lamp which I really loved it;)Actually it was fun to go there.

Have a great weekend my dear friend.xx

Anonymous said...

Yes! I love Goodwill!! I wish we had one here in Japan! Japan is only recently coming around to opening up "recycle" shops. But from what I'm used to when I go state-side, the shops here are still expensive!

Peaches Ledwidge said...

I search for treasures when I go there and I often find things that I brag about to my friends.

InSeason Mom Cynthia said...

I always enjoy reading your posts, especially when you talk about your daughters. I feel like I'm right there with you and that your daughters must have been reading from the same comment booklet as my daughters!

Unknown said...

Heck no! I'm not too good for Goodwill. I love Goodwill! I have a favorite small thrift store that I shop for clothes. They clothes are super cheap and nice. I get compliments all the time about the way I dress. Just the other day, I found a really cool vintage coat. It needed a button but I have no problem with sewing. There is a used clothing store for teens here in Oregon called Plato's Closet and teens flock there. To me it's no different than being at a thrift store but it's just "cool" to shop there. My bonus daughter shopped there for school clothes and I was so thrilled to save a few bucks.

Linda Hensley said...

I love thrift stores even though I hate shopping for anything in general. I love finding business clothes there because I don't like spending my money on clothes in order to earn money. I figure donating and buying things are all part of the recycling, and all recycling is good :)

Tracey said...

I love thrift stores for kid clothes. Especially for my boys who wear them out faster than they outgrow them. Plus, they don't care.

I am not a big fan of thrift store clothes for myself, however. I am difficult to fit. (Read: short and fat) But, mainly, the idea of wearing used clothes just kinda oogs me out. Shallow, I know.

The pride of wealth is a weird thing. We moved to a street that is well known for having custom built McMansions facing a lake. My house is not on that end of the street. So, when I tell people where I live, I always feel like I should add a disclaimer. I have caught myself saying, "I live at the poor end of the street." Which, relatively speaking, is true. At the same time, my house is quite nice and I am more than grateful to have it.

I'm out in the weeds now, but come, walk with me. There is a character in the Bible called the rich young ruler. Jesus tells him that if he is too attached to his wealth to go to heaven. Someone pointed out to me, that no matter how rich that rich young ruler was, I am materially better off.

So, I'm rich, but not as rich as my address would imply, and...oh I say some stupid things because of this.

In conclusion...

I did get a nice skirt at the Goodwill store once.

Hilary said...

I have been remiss in commenting on your posts, so I'm playing catch up. I do frequent Goodwill, but more often than not, it's to donate. If I'm looking for something for myself, I do the consignment stores that carry the brands that I usually wear. Is that a little elitist? Maybe. It's all second-hand at the end of the day.