Monday, August 1, 2011

Goodwill Outlet

Hello, my name is Amanda and I am an addict. Addicted to the Goodwill Outlet store.

I just learned that there was such a thing last week, after I came across this blog. I read through several of her entries, in which she repeatedly mentioned something called the Goodwill Outlet. Huh? I thought to myself. Now I know Goodwills. I've been shopping hardcore at Goodwill for years. And I know what outlets are. I picked up my most favorite Gap sundress for only 10$ at the Gap outlet last year. But Goodwill and outlet in the same sentence. What?!!

Of course, I had to google this newfangled idea. What I discovered was like more crack to my bargain-hunting addiction. What made me want to snort it (are my drug references working? I don't know, I'm straight-edge!) was that there was a Goodwill Outlet only an hour away!!!

The Goodwill outlet is like a legal place to dumpster dive. This is where any merchandise that didn't sell at a regular Goodwill goes to hopefully get bought up. Instead of individually tagging everything, things are dumped into these big bins and you get to "pick". Then you push your shopping cart up onto a humongous scale and it gets weighed. You pay by the pound!

Well on Saturday my most-fabulous-perfect-wonderful husband of 2 years and 51 weeks drove us down to Dayton to check out the outlet. At first, I was a little weirded out. It was crazy packed for a Goodwill and at first I didn't dig right in. I walked around with my cart, and all I was finding was a really random assortment of junk. A "Happy 27th" birthday banner that I almost got for Amy Winehouse. Broken glasses. Pop cans. Pieces & parts to Lord knows what. But then the goodies started getting better and better. Ooh, a Little People person! That probably weighs an ounce or two, I can get that! Ooh, more Little People! Ooh, a laminated poster for class rules! Ooh, what's that? Let me throw that in my cart. And that, and that! Ten minutes later, I'm ravenously digging like the guy next to me. Begging DH to get me a soda from the vending machine because I'm working up a sweat.

This place was absolutely amazing. It was like I had died and gone to frugal heaven. I found the strangest, coolest things. And they were so cheap. I believe it was something like 68 cents a pound. Total ended up coming to maybe, $22; the receipt is in hubby's car. Let me tell you just some of the things I walked away with:

  • lots of old patterns, including some for making clothing for Cabbage Patch kids
  • a handful of Fisher Price Little People
  • addition Learning Wrap-Ups
  • Magna Doodle accessory kit
  • Jello Beans jiggler mold
  • a 1990s Jurassic Park T-Rex toy
  • 1990s Godzilla alien toys
  • new-in-box America Brain Quest
  • packaging tape
  • almost the complete alphabet in Sizzix die-cuts
  • Little People farm truck, which scared the daylights out of the dog
  • rubber stamp & ink pad
  • two decorative mirrors
  • Li'l Tuppers Adventures game
  • Star Wars Empire Strikes Back music cassette
  • Star Wars Darth Maul costume, book on computer programming, and a Star Wars folder (hubby's picks)
  • HDMI cord-splitter-thingamajig
  • two classroom posters
  • brand-new Purdy paintbrush
  • pieces for Mr. Potato Heads
probably more stuff that I don't feel like running downstairs to look at.

Like I said, most of it was so unbelievably random. Most of it is going to be put on Ebay. The Jello beans, Learning Wrap-ups, and action figure toys look promising.

What was so neato about the Goodwill outlet was that they bring out new bins about every 30 minutes. And everyone lines up. It's a dog-eat-dog world. People grab at the stuff before the workers even have a chance to stop the carts. A lady grabbed for something, lost hold of it, and it flew through the air and broke, falling on my toe in the process. Alas, it happens when you wear flip flops to the troughs.

Beware! When they bring out a new bin, it's like Black Friday on steroids. Oops, another drug reference. See DH there? He's the one under the TV monitor, wearing black.

Some of the people there are absolutely nuts! You know, those folks that give the whole thrift store game a bad name. Let me tell you a little story here. There was a cart sitting absently. It had several bags of yarn in it. I eyed the cart and walked away. Came back a few minutes later and it was still there, sans owner. Looked around, with no potential owners near. So I took the yarn. Isn't that the number one rule you learn when you're five and at the grocery store with your parents? Don't leave your items unattended. Well, about 20 minutes later, as I'm digging through more junk, some lady rudely comes up to Carlos and rips into him about "stealing" her yarn. He gave it to her, with some sort of tongue-in-check comment to "take it, obviously you need it more than I do"... Manners, people, seriously. It wasn't like I intentionally took something; a simple, "Excuse me, I think you have something that's mine" would have been enough. Or, if I had been that lady, I would have said, that's what I get for walking away from my cart. But anyway, if you ever have the privilege (or punishment if you're Carlos, but he loves me so much he lets me be) to find a Goodwill Outlet here's some advice:

  • Bring gloves. I wore a pair of latex ones. The stuff you will find is grody. And there's sharp edges, broken glass, etc.
  • Set aside a few hours. This isn't an in-and-out sorta thing. It's treasure huntin' time.
  • Be prepared for nasty people. Turn the other cheek and kill 'em with kindness. I thought about throwing my sweaty gloves into Yarn Lady's cart. But instead I helped someone else find trolls.
  • Remember, the heavier, the more it costs. See that Handy Manny workbench in the first picture? It was in great shape. But it was big and I didn't want to have to pay several dollars (remember, it's pay by the pound). So instead I looked for small doodads. The Little People, the patterns... Could you imagine the payoff if you found vintage Polly Pockets? Whoa!
So much fun; I'm already thinking of begging DH to let us go in two weekends. There's an aquarium down in Dayton so we'll make a day of it. It'll depend on how my goods do at auction... Is the payoff worth the drive? Stay tuned...


  1. Sounds like fun!! I love your tip about wearing gloves.

    I'm not much for thrifting, but I love getting old clothes at Goodwill and tearing into them with my seam ripper and sewing machine. It's tshirt-surgery heaven. It can get pricy to buy my fabric that way, though, so I think I might have to start going to yard sales to pick up cheaper old clothing (confession: I haven't been to a yard sale in over a decade). Anyway, do they have much clothing or other fabric there? It might be worth the price if I'm ever in the area....

    P.S. I totally owe you a letter. I know I'm a procrastinator. I'll get to it!

  2. I am so jealous of this! The Goodwills in my town are so sparsely stocked and EXPENSIVE (shirts for $5.00? Nope). The closest outlet to me is in Asheville, which is 2 hours away, so maybe it could be a special trip for us one day. It's good to know these things exist, though! I think digging through bins like that would give me a complex, though. Great pickin'!

  3. Oh my I never knew there was such a thing as Goodwill Outlets either.
    I have really enjoyed reading this post.
    I just recently found your blog, cant remember which blog directed me your way, but I am 100 percent sure it was from a blogger who buys at garage sales and resells on line.
    Could very well have been via Yard Sale Mommy's Blog, since I visit there every day. LOL

  4. You Took Yarn Out of SOMEONE Else's Cart and thought that was Ok ???
    If I saw stuff in a cart but no one around, doesn't mean it's free for all...
    I would never take something out of cart no matter how much I wanted it