Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will

by Katy on September 8, 2015 · 35 comments

It’s been awhile since I’ve spent any time thrifting for pleasure, but yesterday was a rare convergence of nothing on my calendar, (work was over-scheduled so I stayed home) and nothing demanding my attention around the house. My son had an errand to run in North Portland, which was the perfect excuse to visit one of my favorites Goodwills. (The Lombard location seems less picked over than others.)

My son and I walked in and he immediately made a beeline for the shoe section. (He’s a sneakerhead through and through, and knows there are bargains to be found in the thrift shops!) I wandered through the shoes as well, as I’m on the lookout for sandals. My eyes were drawn by this pair of wedges:

Goodwill wedges

Not your average shoes, right? Well that’s because they’re Salvatore Ferragamos, a brand that normally sells for over $500!

Salvatore Ferragamos

How much were they selling for? Oh . . . just a paltry little $6.99.

$6.99 shoes

I was sorely tempted to buy them for resale, but the rope detailing was suffering from brown stains, which I suspect was the glue seeping out. I probably could have bought them as a project, but it’s such a specific buyer so I left them in the store.

Ciào, bella!

Stained rope

What I did buy was a perfect looking racquetball racquet, priced at a very friendly $1.99. It’s a $60 racket, so it should be an easy sale. I already have it listed on Craigslist for $15. A bargain for the buyer and free money for me. Not as sexy as a $500 pair of shoes, but certainly an easier sale.

Racquetball racquet

With racquet in hand, my son and I made our way home, although we had to stop at the main Goodwill mid-route. (I had a grocery bag of donations which I’d forgotten to drop off at the first Goodwill.)

The store did not disappoint.

I walked over to the framed art section and was met by this sweet vintage teenager.

Vintage teenager

Isn’t she pretty? I wonder how old this photo is, any guesses?

Closeup teenager
The knick-knack aisle provided this oft-seen ceramic lady:

Old lady

I knew before turning her around that she was the “Chopper Hopper!” (Denture storage.)

Chopper Hopper

But I do have to say that my straight up favorite find of the day was this delightful object d’art . . . say holá to the Mexican frogs playing dominos!

Frogs playing dominos

Please appreciate that these are real frogs that have been preserved and revoltingly jauntily posed for our viewing pleasure.


Please note how the feet are nailed to the wood!

nailed frog feet

It’s just what your home’s been missing!

My son and I only spent $1.99, but enjoyed at least $100 in entertainment value.

Thank you, Goodwill. Your treasures never cease to amaze!

Goodwill selfie

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

K D September 8, 2015 at 10:31 am

I love to see photos of your trips to Goodwill. I have been avoiding just about all shopping, except for picking up some food items to fill out what we already have. I may try to hit Goodwill on half price clothes day to see if I can score some items for charity layettes assembled by a church group I know of.


Angie September 8, 2015 at 10:36 am

To answer your question, I’d peg that lovely girl at early to mid-1930s based on the bias-cut satin dress and the pre-Veronica Lake perm.


Julie September 8, 2015 at 10:41 am

the frogs made my day!!


Katy September 8, 2015 at 10:47 am

You’re welcome.


Janice Ritchie September 8, 2015 at 10:44 am

When I saw the chopper hopper and thought of your “hope you are not easily grossed out” comment I thought you were going to let us know you found someone had left their dentures in it before they donated. Glad to know that was not the case!


Katy September 8, 2015 at 10:48 am

Eww . . . I didn’t look inside.


A. Marie September 8, 2015 at 10:49 am

Your PDX Goodwills are certainly excellent. (On a 2010 visit to your fair city, I stopped in at the upscale downtown store and was majorly impressed.)

And since I haven’t had a lot of time or legpower to get out to my local thrifts lately, I too appreciate the vicarious thrills. The one exception was when my BFF from Manhattan visited Upstate NY last month: She teaches at a Jewish women’s college and needs extremely modest work clothing, so she was very glad to hit two of our suburban thrifts and pick up six demure skirts for a grand total of $20. She admitted that she couldn’t have done nearly this well in the Big Apple; she lives within spitting distance of three good thrifts in the 96th St. area, but their prices are all higher than ours.


NMPatricia September 8, 2015 at 11:12 am

I am not suggestion, especially with your schedule and absolutely spot on priorities, that you should have done this, but I was wondering about a possible fix for the shoes (in case this should ever come up for myself, not that I wear heels at all). Could one dye/color, paint the heels to cover the stains?


Katy September 8, 2015 at 11:58 am

It occurred to me, but I’d rather not spend $7 on a pair of shoes that I might not ever be able to unload.


NMPatricia September 8, 2015 at 6:08 pm

I didn’t mean for you to do it but if I ever had a pair of shoes like them, was there a fix. From Isabelle’s comment, probably not a good one.


Isabelle September 8, 2015 at 5:24 pm

You would probably lose all resale value if you painted/dye the soles anyways. It’s like buying Louboutin and painting the red soles another color… a big no-no!!


Elizabeth B September 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Egad. The frogs…! Poor little guys.


Dale Emanuel September 8, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Oh Katy — those frogs. I’m still quaking. So happy you and your handsome son had a nice time. Smart find. I hope you rake it in on the racquet! You are a crafty, smart, smart shopper!


Katy September 8, 2015 at 3:38 pm

That means a lot, coming from you.


Betty Winslow September 8, 2015 at 2:14 pm

I bought a pair of like-new volleyball pads for 50 cents and resold them for $5 to our VB coach, for spares. I love making money like that…..


Michelle September 8, 2015 at 2:28 pm

I’m *SO* glad those frogs weren’t at our Goodwill. I know, because I showed him the picture, my 15yo son would have either bought them himself of tried to talk me into it. Because they’re already dead and nailed to the board… yuck!


Lea September 8, 2015 at 3:34 pm

I was thinking mid-1950’s for the picture – it looks a huge amount like my mom’s confirmation photo which was 1954. The dress is the same style and so is the hair. However, especially in rural areas those types of styles were worn from the 1930’s until the 1960’s so it might be hard to tell. Too bad it didn’t have writing on the back!

Those frogs – yikes. Funny but the real factor creeps me out.



KT September 8, 2015 at 6:05 pm

Loved your comment about rural areas, which probably explains my estimate. My Mother wore an almost identical dress as the Matron of Honor in her sister’s 1943 wedding. It would make sense to me that the first poster estimated early to middle 1930’s because by 1943ish, the style would be reaching the rural areas……my Mom lived on a farm. Her dress was a pretty blue color….I wore it for Halloween in the early to mid 1950’s. I loved that dress!



Anne September 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm

I was actually wondering if those shoes might be knock-offs, not that I know much about name brands and their imitators. It’s just that it seems $500 pairs of shoes should not be leaking their glue. Anybody have any ideas on this?


Lisa W. September 8, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Yeah, those are knock-offs. Besides the glue, the soles are coming loose and some of the stitching is crooked. I know nothing about designer items,
but I’ve read about how to spot fakes. Shoddy workmanship in even the smallest detail is a dead giveaway. 500 bucks is an insane price for a pair of shoes, but it generally buys a competent glue job. Good instincts, Katy, you wouldn’t have gotten your $50.


Katy September 8, 2015 at 7:40 pm

You are the shoe detective!


The Frugal Shrink September 8, 2015 at 4:11 pm

Those frogs!!! Who comes up with this stuff? As always, an enjoyable photo tour of your Goodwill. 🙂


Robin September 8, 2015 at 5:05 pm

The Bloggess would have loved those frogs.


Bettypants September 9, 2015 at 2:59 am

I had the same thought about the Bloggess! I definitely would have bought those frogs and listed them on ebay. People buy weird shit.


JD September 8, 2015 at 6:55 pm

I think the dead frogs topped everything I’ve seen here. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear.
I loved the picture of the girl, but I’m having a hard time pinning down her era too. The shorter hair and satin make me think late forties or early fifties, but that’s not saying it couldn’t be another time; I’m no expert. My question is: no one in this girl’s family wanted to keep this lovely photo? Are they all dead now? I can’t imagine giving up a picture like that. It always makes me sad to see family photos for sale in thrift stores and antique stores.


Vickie September 9, 2015 at 6:27 am

I feel the same way when I see family photos donated like that, JD. Some people just don’t care about heirlooms or photos like that. I think they end up with the task of cleaning out the home of someone who has passed on and they don’t have a clue who would want those items, if they don’t.
I’ve inherited all of my Mom’s family photos and I’m hoping my daughter will treasure them when it’s her turn to inherit them, because my nephews don’t seem the least bit interested in family photos or heirlooms.


Anne September 9, 2015 at 7:21 am

Vickie, I was just going to mention something along the same lines. If there are no females in the family line sometimes the heirlooms are not so wanted. I have two sons and saved many things from when they were babies, but when they look at me like I have lost my mind, or they “misplace” the items almost immediately, I realize I am fighting an uphill battle. Now, I just toss the stuff.


susan September 8, 2015 at 7:48 pm

Thanks for sharing your Goodwill/CL side hustle. I recently noticed a storage bin selling for 4.99 at my local GW (G-dub as we call it). Although I was pleased to see the bin, even better was all the playhouse furniture inside. Ebay was calling my name and $42.00 later, the stuff is sold and I netted my bin for free plus a profit! The only down side was that my coupon for 20 percent off was in my purse, that was at home…LOL


Erin September 8, 2015 at 8:03 pm

I seriously laughed out loud at the chopper hopper. Those frogs on the other hand… how strange!

I know how you feel about those shoes. I once found a Nanette Lepore skirt at a thrift shop for a couple of bucks when it would retail for $200+. Still to this day I think about how I really missed out on buying that skirt.

You gotta love thrifting, you never know what you will find!


MsSF September 9, 2015 at 5:00 am

The frogs really freaked me out. Why would someone do something like that? Anyway, I hope you make good money on your racket.

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Bettypants September 9, 2015 at 6:22 am

Your thrift store is WAY better than ours. We only have a Salvation Army, and I think the prices are just slightly below regular store prices. It’s tough to find a deal there. And yet the parking lot is always packed, probably because it’s a small lot, not because of the great deals.


Revanche September 9, 2015 at 10:30 am

The frogs were kind of funny until the nails in the feet – then they were a bit grotesque 🙂 A shame you don’t have a friend who can spiff up those shoes for resale, I’m always surprised by how they hold their resale value if they’re properly repaired or cleaned up.


Tara September 9, 2015 at 10:42 am

Hi, I reckon that lovely picture is 1930’s, I actually think its quite sad that someone has actually got rid of a lovely family picture like that. I need a chopper hopper ha ha I have my nanas teeth in a plastic box under my bed which my hubby finds quite creepy but I miss her so much I can’t bring myself to get rid of them. Xx


JP September 9, 2015 at 8:28 pm

OMG. The frogs. Ew. I’m guessing the ’30s for the photo.


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