Are thrift stores getting too pricey?

Items for sale in my etsy store!

It has been quite awhile since I last visited Goodwill, so I thought I’d make the trip this evening. I got some really amazing finds this time, and I am really excited to get it all cleaned up and ready to photograph for you all. (Though they were great finds, they need some serious TLC — including dry cleaning.)

But… something is bothering me. Every time I visit Goodwill, I see the prices go up and up. Intellectually, I understand that stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army bolster valuable charity programs. That’s awesome! However, these stores are selling used goods, often in need of dry cleaning, laundering, and sometimes repairs. Today I saw six fall and winter jackets that were priced at $50. That’s essentially retail price. Sure, they might be real leather, or “vintage,” but that doesn’t mean they’re worth the price of a brand new jacket. Many of these coats had dirt, stains, and tears on them. This is absolutely ridiculous. Just because an item is made of leather doesn’t mean its worth the price of a new garment. Just because an item is old enough to qualify as vintage does not mean it is worth the price that a curated vintage boutique would charge. Vintage shops sell items for higher prices because the items are still chic and fashionable and still in a wearable condition. No one is going to buy those jackets. They were in cuts and designs that are not translatable to today’s fashion, and they were stinky and in very used shape. Shouldn’t the price reflect that? Is Goodwill getting greedy? Who is determining these prices? These are all DONATED ITEMS. $50 is just too much.

Intellectually, I understand that stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army bolster valuable charity programs. That’s awesome! However, these stores are selling used goods, often in need of dry cleaning, laundering, and sometimes repairs. I am forced to wonder if they realize that it’s not just the people on the receiving end of the charity efforts who stand to gain from these types of thrift stores — there are a lot of people who do all their clothing shopping at second-hand stores because of low income. A lot of families cannot afford to buy retail, and stores like Goodwill offer them a chance to shop for a variety of styles, brands, and seasons that would not be available to them otherwise. They get a chance to have some say in their personal style because of the variety second-hand shops offer.

How do you feel about this issue? Personally, if I want something bad enough, I will buy it anyway. The fact that part of the sales go to charity makes that easier, but now that they’re upping the prices on more mundane and generic items as well, I am disheartened. Is the art of the thrift store hunt in danger? Let me know what you think with a comment. Click the text bubble next to this entry’s title to chime in.

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12 thoughts on “Are thrift stores getting too pricey?

  1. Reblogged this on vintagethrifter51.com and commented:
    The fact that so many people are relying on the thrift store for their purchases has increased the demand, so those of us who have always thrifted end up paying so much more. It is so annoying. But I agree, if I want something, I will buy it, even if I think the prices are a little too high, it is still cheaper than the cost of buying retail and all it entails.

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  6. I totally agree with you! I have been thrifting for about 3 years now and I see prices go up and up. I don’t know if it’s because thrifting has gotten trendy, or what! I’ve seen a non-vintage a pickle jar being sold in the glass area for $2. People are being overpriced for junk and that is a total rip off. I think you really have to know what you are looking at to get a good price nowadays. I want people to thrift more and am glad it’s getting more popular, but at the same time, I feel bad for the people that are actually on budgets and need to keep these items at low prices!

  7. I totally, 100% agree. I see this happening in almost every thrift store I visit, but especially Goodwill. I am the same in that since it’s for charity, I’ll buy if I love it anyways. But come on. Little cotton tank tops for $4.50? Poor condition pants for $8? And yeah, jackets for $30-50? Completely ridiculous.

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  9. I’ve definitely noticed some charity shops over here in the UK creeping up their prices – as you say, their job is to make as much profit for the charity as possible, but in the same vein, I’ve seen donated items, retailing higher in the charity shop, than they were new from the likes of H&M and Primark – bonkers!

  10. I so know what you mean! They just oppened a new goodwill in my town even though we already have one. They had Charlotte Russe shoes NEW for only 10 dollars off the retail prices (and you know how that is!). I too have seen coats that are insane, even if the item has major flaws. I know that they are a charity, but they are making a TON of money off of the lower priced items, they are just being greedy pricing them so high. I know its hard to walk away from a good deal, but the best way it to sleep on it after thinking if its worth the actual price; you can always go back if you change your mind. Thanks ThriftyCent for bringing up this overlooked topic!

    • I have notice it getting more and more expensive as well. My boys and I live on a very limited budget and I find that the Value Village and the Goodwill are just too expensive to shop at here. I can get brand new clothes on clearance or during sales brand new for cheaper. I did like shopping at Sally Ann but the one in town here closed (although their prices have gone up I find it wasn’t as much as the others), we usually shopped on the fill a bag for $10 days. The ladies were always amazed on how many clothes I could fit in a bag. Now we just wait until we travel for medical and go to sally ann’s in other cities.

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