March 11, 2012

Austin Goodwill Stores

My wife and I are thrifty and we like to peruse Goodwill stores, mainly when we are out travelling. In Austin we went to three different ones scattered throughout the city, and each was drastically different from the other.

The first, on the Southeast Side of town, was massive, poorly organized and an utter zoo inside. Instead of being organized on shelves, items were just thrown in bins, and organized in general categories like Clothing, Electronics, etc. People were picking up armfuls of items and slinging them into the adjacent bins.  I think as the items would cascade down, they scanned them to see if there was anything worth grabbing. Also, instead of charging a set price for an item of clothing or a book, everything was weighed and then you would be charged by the pound. For example, we bought a book, so we had to push our cart onto the scale,they subtracted the weight of the cart, and we were left with 1 pound of a book, so we paid the $1.69/lb price.
Massive Goodwill
The second Goodwill we went to was extremely well organized and had numerous items that were brand new and had been donated from large department stores. We had never seen brand new items in the stores before. Too bad these new items also came with higher price tags. I found 3 like-new cycling jerseys. These jerseys start at $40 new in the stores, but were for sale for $2 here! 
We ended up with a cycling jersey and a new pair of sunglasses.

The third Goodwill we went to was on the ritzy side of town and had some cool stuff on display.  They also had a live auction going on while we were there! Some of the items being sold in the auction were Louis Vuitton purses, a mountain bike and numerous paintings. On the shelves they had some barely used electronics, like Xbox 360s and iHome speakers! Also, Maria was really excited about the great book selection. I put a bid on a set of Chinese medicine balls, but lost out, and we ended up leaving with just a pair of books.

Xbox 360s at a Goodwill!
Goodwill Live Auction
Overall I was surprised to see how different each of thegoodwills were in the same city. We might make it a point to find the Goodwills on the "good" side of town again. 


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