Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will

by Katy on November 16, 2016 · 34 comments

I’m working on a project with Goodwill that requires me to stock up on hundreds of Christmas ball ornaments. Luckily, there seems to be an endless supply of materials at each and every Goodwill location.

Of course, it’s impossible to visit Goodwill without finding treasures and oddities. For example this Buffalo Bill decorative mug:

Buffalo Bill

I know it’s not the intention of the mug designer, but I’m pretty sure that the tiny Buffalo is trying to hump the head of Buffalo Bill. (Is it a big head and a regular sized buffalo, or a normal sized head and a tiny Buffalo?!) Either way, this mug gives me an uh-oh feeling.

Anyway, back to the Goodwill ornaments. I now own dozens of boxes of ornaments, which luckily only set me back between 99¢ to $1.99 apiece. Now, if only they sold hot glue gun sticks . . . .

Goodwill ornaments

I beg of you to weigh in on the regular head/tiny buffalo vs. big head/regular buffalo conundrum.

Which is it?

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 }

Kelly November 16, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Funny this should appear just after I watched a young deer try to mount a much larger female in my back yard. He didn’t have much more luck than the buffalo seems to be having. 😉


Denise November 17, 2016 at 12:05 am

Is the (tiny) buffalo trying to use the rim of the hat as a drinking bowl??


Kristen November 16, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Ooh, what are you making?


Katy November 16, 2016 at 3:25 pm
Phyllis November 16, 2016 at 3:51 pm

How heavy are the wreaths? Might be a good use for our box of ornaments.


Amy K. November 16, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Tiny buffalo. So cute.


Beth Anne November 16, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Katy- you can buy glue sticks at the Dollar Tree if you have one nearby. Or you can order online through them as well 🙂


Suzanne November 16, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Clearly it’s a big head and regular buffalo – you can tell by his eyelashes.


Kristi November 17, 2016 at 7:44 am

Suzanne, I don’t know you, but now I totally want to hang out with you.


Lucy November 16, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Tiny buffalo, definitely.

In the past your GW finds amazed me. Now I understand as a GW has opened in a town near me and I saw that easily a third of the floor space is occupied by shelving full of dust-collectors. Plenty to pick from but nothing I would want to bring home (and then have to dust)!


Katy November 16, 2016 at 3:37 pm

I’m very particular about what I bring home, either to sell or keep.


April November 16, 2016 at 3:00 pm

It looks completely proportionate to me. And I am very curious as to what your project is.


Stephanie November 16, 2016 at 4:22 pm

What a bizarre find in your Goodwill! I’m weighing in on the side of the Big Head, assuming Buffalo Bill probably DID have a big head. The buffalo seems to be doing to him what he did to its own kind.


Karen November 16, 2016 at 5:45 pm

Thanks for the laugh, Stephanie! And so true!


Denise November 17, 2016 at 12:04 am

Nah, Stephanie: it was Texas Ted.

“Texas Ted: big hat, big head.”

I’m so dim I was looking at the picture and wondering what on earth an otter had to do with Buffalo Bill…


Denise November 17, 2016 at 12:08 am
Deanna November 16, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Tiny buffalo hanging on for a ride. Looking forward to seeing what you have in mind for your Christmas project


Dayna November 16, 2016 at 5:08 pm

It’s a tiny buffalo. I don’t know why. It just feels right.


Jennifer November 16, 2016 at 7:05 pm

It’s just so weird. The tiny buffalo seems to be hanging onto the brim of his hat by his chin and balancing himself with his hind legs to stay attached. I guess the whole thing is symbolic of an actual buffalo on the bill of the hat as in Buffalo Bill? The whole thing make my head hurt.


Karen. November 17, 2016 at 6:31 am

My first thought was it looked like a maybe six-week-old kitten hanging on for dear life because he can’t quite figure out how his legs work.


AFS November 16, 2016 at 10:54 pm

Keep looking, I’ve purchased glue sticks at thrift stores at least twice.


Valerie November 17, 2016 at 5:32 am

I have been reading your blog for a while. Love your humor. I am going to go off topic of your current writing because I want to bring to your attention something I witnessed yesterday. I appreciate you wanting to display signs that “Black Lives Matter” but I want to let you know in a train coming from Penn Station NY to Hamilton NJ what I experienced. In Rahway the train I was in stopped, an announcement was made that if the red bag somebody left in car #… please retrieve immediately. One of the conductors ran through our car grabbing all our tickets but not saying anything. We sat, then it was announced that there was some light issue, we sat, then the engineer screamed over “This train is indefinitely staying until the police come, you need to go across to the other train. There was a mad dash to the waiting train. It was poor communications between the NJ transit employees to the passengers. So, off we go over to the other train that had been waiting for us . Off we go most of us standing, we go three stations end up coming close to Princeton Junction, a blood curdling scream comes from the back of the car we are sitting. A young man runs forward, people push towards the young girl screaming. She is having a seizure. I have never in my life seen a group of people go into action to help a complete stranger. Doors were opened people screamed down cars for a doctor, nurse or medical personals. At no time did I hear anyone refer to a color or sex of the victim or refuse to help her. 4 nurses ran down from cars, knowing exactly what needed to be done. They stayed with this young woman, found her phone called her parents, paramedics came to the station. So, how about we promote that ALL LIFES MATTER! Why is it just Black Life’s Matter, our country is divided because it’s being promoted to hate each other. There was every color in that train, there was not one negative comment made by anyone about being delayed. Those nurses were hugged and thanked by everyone. People of every color stood united, wishing each other a safe journey to our homes. We hugged, we cried, we were united as people. I want to promote unity not divide our people. Also, the 2nd trains staff should also be commended on the outstanding job they did by keeping the passengers informed.


janine November 17, 2016 at 6:03 am

This is a wonderful story.
As I understand it the implication in Black Lives Matter slogan is the implicit “also”. Not meant to divide or foster hatred, but a call to make sure everyone is heard.
Many have criticized their tactics, but that is a different argument.


Katy November 17, 2016 at 10:48 am

Of course all lives matter, but to say that “black lives matter” should be no threat to anyone. But to be black in this country is different, (especially for men) and to say otherwise ignores the very real challenges of what it means to be born into this current culture.

It sounds like your experience on the train was very intense and bonding with those around you. A good story to hear for sure.


Mrs. Picky Pincher November 17, 2016 at 7:07 am

OH MY GOD, THAT MUG. Why would someone spend money making that?? Or buying it???

But good score on those Goodwill ornaments! They look quite snazzy! I’m in the market for a Christmas tree, since our existing one is a “mini” tree that hangs on the wall with a hook. It’s also crooked, which makes for a very depressing and weird Christmas tree. Anyhoo, we’re on the lookout for a full-sized fake tree, so hopefully we can score one on sale at a thrift store!


JD November 17, 2016 at 7:10 am

I couldn’t figure out it was a buffalo for a minute. Maybe seeing it in real life would have made it easier for me, but maybe not, knowing me.
I say it’s a tiny buffalo. It was out on the range with the normally-sized buffalos, eating a grass blade and dodging hooves, when old Bill came along and shot them all, missing Tiny because he didn’t spot him. Tiny leapt onto Bill’s boots as Bill was leaving and is slowly but valiantly working his way up to Bill’s hat, because he has plans to get his revenge.


Shannon November 18, 2016 at 5:53 am

Yes. This is the only option.


That Other Jean November 18, 2016 at 12:28 pm

That works for me.


Vickie November 17, 2016 at 7:58 am

Given that buffalo were slain rapidly during his era – as the government hoped it would starve out the Native Americans who depended on their meat and furs for survival – I would say the buffalo humping his large head (big ego) as a “screw you” analogy is great! Hahaha!

What will you be doing with all the Christmas ornaments for your project?


Lisa L November 17, 2016 at 11:02 am

Definitely big head, tiny buffalo. creepy no matter which way you look at it.


tia November 17, 2016 at 11:37 am

This summer I was comming home from a hike on the AT and was detained on the interstate for 6 hours while Black Lives Matter held a peaceful demonstration on the Memphis Mississippi River bridge. It was hot and I was tired and so I was pissed. There are only a few bridges over the mighty Mississippi, and even if I could have somehow gotten off the interstate, I would have still added hours to my travel time to take a detour. I wondered how could this help their cause to upset thousands of drivers? Well it did get my attention. And it did make me think. Then on SNL Dave Chappelle talked about how Blacks have been “historically disenfranchised” in America. And there was a sketch showing Chris Rock and Dave watching the election returns with their white liberal friends, the friends were so upset they might have to take a xanax. That’s about the size of it. As a white citizen in the United States, we may be momentarily inconvenienced or made to whine “but what about me” while the whole Black race has been made to live with conditions that are unacceptable from birth.
Change is long overdue and if Black Lives Matter brings about that change then it is a good, and necessary thing.


Katy November 17, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Wow, great perspective, thank you for sharing.

I watched that SNL as well, even though I had to be at work at 7 A.M. the next morning. Although I never watched the Dave Chapelle show, I feel a connection with him, as his father taught at the tiny liberal arts college that I went to in Ohio. (Antioch.) Plus, he has chosen to continue to live in Yellow Springs, Ohio since.


Donna hill November 17, 2016 at 6:10 pm

I have just about stopped shopping at goodwill,I am tired of them wanting to know if I want round off my change.enough already.


Diane C November 18, 2016 at 8:45 am

Thanks for the touching story and BLM details.

I hate to go back to the topic, but do it I Will.

Katy, based on your inspiration and the need you procure over a dozen clear plastic pitchers for a holiday luncheon on a shoestring budget, I’ve been visiting all manner of thrift shops lately. I am shocked at the prices I’ve been seeing on housewares at GW. A two cup Pyrex measuring cup with worn markings for $4.99. An Anchor Hocking glass pie plate with original tags for $9.99. A stack of 12 pack cases of brand new half pint canning jars and lids for $9.99 each. The best one was some cute holiday mini-loaf pans priced at $1.99 each. It didn’t seem like a “buy” price to me.

My next stop was Michael’s, where I discovered an end cap full of the same pans for $1.00 each, regular price. There were more styles, larger quantities, and the store was clean, organized and well staffed.

I like keeping things out of landfills, but I’m not going to pay more for the privilege of buying used goods. Plus, if I need something, I know a retailer will have it in stock, whereas GW’s selection is always a crapshoot.

Considering that GW’s inventory consists of minimally sorted donated used goods, their overhead is far less than a typical retail store, and they are paying relatively low (i.e. non- union) wages, I am thoroughly disappointed.

I am happy for your successes and love the GW, BW, QW posts, but in the Bay Area, it’s a completely different story. Wonder what about their management model allows such disparity. I’ve read that GW is unhappy about H for H’s ReStores. Seems to me their own pricing policies might be responsible for pushing customers to seek other ReSources.


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