Goodwill Outlet: Hell on Earth

Where teddy bears go to die
In this earlier post I kind of beat up on Goodwill.

Well, I'm back at it.

A few weeks I decided to give the Goodwill Outlet in Denver a shot. Is it Hell on Earth? Probably not, but it's close.

To back up a bit, a Goodwill Outlet World is where the thrift store dregs go to die. First, Goodwill skims the cream of donations for its online auction site or brick-and-mortar boutiques. Next, the remainder of items get put on the floor of the Goodwill thrift store.

Then there are sales and special deals. Even so, lots of stuff doesn't sell. Or it's busted and broken. Or it's simply trash.

Those items, they end up at the Goodwill Outlet World.

Lining up at the bins
And that's where I spent a few hours in this free-for-all warehouse. Every half hour or so employees wheel out huge tables full of, well, stuff and junk.

The main thing to remember if you go: make sure you don't step to the tables until staff give the OK. There's lots of yelling and gesticulating before the OK is given.

We all line up, working to get the best spot and trying to get a feel for what's in the bins. Then like like a murder of crows we hurl ourselves at the bin as if it were the last mouse in world. Make sure to grab anything that looks half decent, because it'll be gone in a second if you don't.

"The waiting is the hardest part"
The most depressing part of thrifting at a Goodwill Outlet World isn't the over-bearing staff, but the fact that buyers spend all day in the building.

Hardcore thrifters set up camps: think shopping cart fortresses to safeguard their finds. Just as we suggested in an earlier thrifting tips post, they gather all the goods and then go over their finds on a cell phones while waiting for the next bin to be wheeled out.

And then it starts all over again.





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