Monday, June 18, 2012

A tale of two Goodwills

When I first started selling online, Goodwill was the nirvana of sources for me.  I had their patterns down, I knew when they put out fresh books, and, for the most part, I was the only dealer who frequented the multiple stores in the area on a regular basis.

One day, two years ago, the bookshelves at area Goodwills started drying up.  After talking to a few managers, I learned that Goodwill corporate had directed that all donated books be sent out of town to a Goodwill bookstore, which would, in turn, send books back to the local stores as needed.  Shelves in local stores never returned to normal, and what books they do get now are mostly old fiction, old textbooks, and multiple copies of the Left Behind series.

I was upset, and I think I wrote/called everyone but my Congressman to complain about the unfairness of taking donations out of my community, and sending them up the road to the big city.  However, I adapted.  Goodwill became a source of toys, some electronics, and various odds and ends.  I rarely ever look at the books now because it’s a waste of time.

Several weeks ago, a brand spankin’ new Goodwill store opened across town; I had heard about it, but hadn’t made the short trip.  On Saturday, after a fairly decent morning of visiting garage/yard sales, Ella and I decided to ride over there, just for fun.  The new store is impressive; it looks like a department store - well lit, with plenty of merchandise, including books.  Wait a minute … what?

Yes, the store had books, three long bookshelves, full of books, front and back, plus books on the end caps. Luckily, I had brought my scanner, and we walked out of there with about 40 good-money books.

I was happy for the finds, but irritated that other Goodwill stores, including the up to then largest one in the community (my favorite), weren’t getting the same treatment as this new one.  I also learned that Goodwill had shut down another store in a smaller city nearby when this new one opened.

The way I figure it, the new Goodwill is pulling the old bait and switch routine.  Stock the store well to attract customers, then cut back on the inventory, and hope the customers keep coming back.

Now, I know you’re wondering why, if I dislike Goodwill so much, do I keep shopping there. That’s a fair question, and it reminds me an episode of Hazel, a TV show from the early 1960s.  In a nutshell, Hazel bought a lottery ticket for her boss, but later learns that the boss believes lotteries, like all gambling, is bad.  After much hilarity (OK, maybe only a little), Hazel and her boss give the lottery ticket to the preacher of the local church.  The ticket wins, and the church benefits.  When asked about the morality of taking lottery money, the preacher responds that he would take money from the Devil to do God’s work.

I may not like Goodwill, but as long as I can make money from the store to put food on my table, it’s a necessary evil.


How was your Saturday?

Aside from the Goodwill trip, Saturday, as usual, was profitable, but nothing extraordinary, seeing as how it was Father’s Day weekend.

My best find of the day was a tub full of Nerf guns, both pistols and rifles.  I think there were nine in all, and I paid a princely sum of $5 for the lot; at another sale, I paid $.50 for a Nerf target set, including two more guns, vests, and the cool looking safety glasses.

Oh, I almost forgot about the new in shrink-wrap copy of Windows 3.1.  Vintage software sells fairly well on eBay, and you usually can get it cheap when available.  I paid $.50, and I expect to sell it for close to $100.

Have a great week listing and selling!

1 comment:

  1. I remember Hazel! Interesting about the vintage software. I'll have to remember that. We had a cool (older-Windows XP) Alien VS Predator PC game priced at a dollar at our flea market table. No takers.