Bargains await the urban miner at Spokane’s Very Own GoodWill Outlet Store. This treasure trove is located at 1406 E Front Avenue.
That’s the emotion felt by bargain hunters, treasure seekers and resellers alike as the new “boats” (That’s Goodwill talk for Giant Blue Carts) are rolled out. Pickers like me are looking for that next great score. Whether it be vintage clothing, collectibles or useable housewares, the diggers are ready to find some buried treasure.
I’m On A Boat
Boats rotate every 15-30 minutes, so before you think this is a a calm and orderly sifting through items, do realize this is serious shopping. It has been described to me as “throwing ‘bows,” with ‘BOWS being shorthand for ELBOWS. Pickers frantically dig shoulder to shoulder and elbow to elbow, sifting through multiple layers of donated items.
As a frequent digger, I’ve found cash, gold and yes, even some small diamonds. Those items are buried in the big blue “boats” far more frequently than anyone might think. For the most part, these treasures are from items that have been unsold at the regular Goodwill stores. Items that aren’t sold from the outlet are then bundled and sold to salvage companies.
On the very special occasion the Goodwill Outlet is filled with fresh, raw donated unsifted merchandise. This occurs when there are just too many donations to sort and sell. Occasionally you find that obscure, item that makes you wonder who purchaed it in the first place.
Wear gloves…Trust me. There are plastic gloves available for free but I prefer wearing more durable leather gloves to prevent cuts, scrapes or even worse. Check out these Leather Gloves!
If you make a habit of shopping at the Goodwill Outlet store, you’ll see a lot of familiar faces. Honestly, people watching is half the fun. Maybe it’s the lady kissing the dog in her cart or the guy with OCD that arranges all of the books in the boat.
Many of the regular folks are resellers. Others are Ebayers, or shop owners looking to stock their shelves. Some are just casual thrift store shoppers.
For me the fun is in the digging and discovery at a very low cost. You pay by weight. Up to 9 pounds at $1.69. The more you buy the cheaper it gets. if you go over 25 pounds you pay just .89 cents per pound. Trust me, it’s not hard to reach the 25 pound mark.
Clothing and Housewares
The Goodwill Outlet is much like a warehouse. It is separated into two sections. One is filled with rows of clothing and the other is filled with housewares.
On the clothing side, vintage clothing is mixed in with brand name items and yes, even your everyday nasty, gross donated item. It’s up to you to determine the legitimacy of the slick Coach trench coat but pickers have found the real deal and have made a career of doing so on a regular basis.
On the housewares side is where I do my business. I look for collectibles to resell on eBay (For the love of all that is holy, please check eBay for the seller comicgeek12). My house looks like an episode of hoarders and my garage hasn’t housed a car in 4 years.
In housewares you can find electronics, collectables and just about anything you can imagine that someone might donate to the Goodwill. People think I spend a fortune on toys for my kid. What they don’t realize is that for just 89 cents any digger can be a hero. It isn’t all glorious however. My daughter once asked if she could ever get any new toys. NOPE! The hottest new toys will be at the Goodwill in 6 months. Patience is a wonderful quality for any child to develop.
A Win Win Situation
Beware, shopping here can be extremely habit forming. If somebody is ever looking for me during my free time, they will most likely find me scouring for treasures. Ultimately, it’s fun. You can find some really great treasures and even make some money if you are so inclined.
An added benefit to shopping at Goodwill, is that you are supporting local jobs social assistance programs with your purchase.
Either way, it’s an adventure. And trust me, wear gloves.