Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will — What Would Jonathan Adler Buy?

by Katy on January 27, 2013 · 32 comments

You know I like to economize by batching my errands, so it would have been downright irresponsible of me to not stop into the main Goodwill after my visit with John and Sherry from Young House Love.

Who me, rationalize? Never!

As always, the Goodwill was full of 99% trash and 1% treasure. Here, see for yourself:

And where, pray tell is this baby’s anus? This is what is called an “imperforate anus” in the medical field. I know this, because as a labor and delivery nurse, I have to assess the newborns from head to toe, making sure poop can occur.

Sids baby

Just because you know how to solder doesn’t mean you should. I cannot begin to imagine how anyone thought that attaching stained glass leaves(?) and a dragonfly would look good on a very formal antique pitcher.


Remember Dutch Tulip Fever? Well, someone went to The Netherlands without first getting immunized against this virulent consumer disease.

Tulip fever

I was always in the “shiny brass is tacky” camp, but Emily Henderson has me rethinking this mindset. I can totally see how cute these ducks would be all shined up and holding back a row of books.

Brassy quackers:


I fell a little bit in love with this wood handled vintage whisk. But I hardened my heart and moved on.


However, I have no self control when it comes to a well priced food storage jar. And at $1.99 apiece, they came home with this jarhead.

Fo sho.

jar head

And when I spied this pair of vintage lamps, my first thought was:

“What would Jonathan Adler buy?”

So I did. Buy them. (I am still rocking a Goodwill gift card from my birthday!)


But I did not buy this combination Rat-Cat , that I believe possessed actual rodent teeth.

Jonathan Adler would not have bought it.

So I did not. Buy it.

rat cat

Are your thrift shops better than mine, and would you have bought the lamps? How about the Rat-Cat?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Julia Park Tracey January 27, 2013 at 1:48 pm

The rat-cat is soooooo gross. Are those human teeth in its mouth? So gross. I would totally have bought the vintage whisk. And the brass ducks. For Mr Husband’s man-shelf. The lamp are very nice. My heart is softer than yours, at least regarding vintage stuff at the Will of Goodness.


Katy January 27, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I could easily have bought the whisk and been happy with the decision. But I try to only buy stuff that I really, really want, and I only kind of wanted it.



Alison Wiley January 27, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Right there with Julia: can’t imagine anyone saying yes to the Rat-Cat.
I go to the same Goodwill you do, so my thrift shop is the same quality as yours. But my last trip in was to drop stuff off, which satisfies me almost as much as finding new treasures. Just posted about taming my stuff.
Bad Will, Questionable Will, Will of Goodness . . . I am still Good Will Hunting.


Renee CA January 27, 2013 at 8:01 pm

I can’t imagine anyone making the rat cat.


Susan January 27, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I would have bought the jars as well, because I have a jar obsession! But I also would have bought the stoneware pitcher behind them. No sales resistance.


Ecoteri December 28, 2023 at 7:05 pm

@Susan, what about that square glass jar behind the lamps (which I totally would have bought)?


Carol Doane January 27, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I think the lamps are lovely. The rat-cat would make a nice office gift — the kind that gets planted indiscriminately in desk drawers and seems to illicit shrieks from the unsuspecting target.


Lois January 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm

No way would I have even touched that rat-cat, but yes the lamps I would have wanted. I don’t need another lamp but if I could have come up with someone who needed some then yes they would have come home with me.


Bridget January 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm

You could have bought the ducks and spray painted them and then they would be really cute!


Practical Parsimony January 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm

That Rat-Cat would only be good for Halloween, but it looked too weird to even stay in my house a moment, even stored.

The lamps would come to live with me if I needed lamps. However, the pitcher would have been rescued and freed from the solder job.


karen January 27, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I think the lamps are great, but I would have not bought them because I don’t need any…more…lamps! Would have maybe bought that awesome wisk, though!


Katy January 27, 2013 at 10:21 pm

I didn’t need any more lamps, but my house is big and I would have dreamed about them forever.



cathy January 27, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Love the jars…especially because they are square so they make better use of space. The lamps are great, but I wouldn’t have bought them because I’m trying to not have lamps…just overhead lighting. The wisk I definitely would have bought a few years ago, but now I’m trying to delete all the excess from my house…it’s not easy when I see something as tempting as this though! The cat…well, it would be an awesome white elephant gift…


terilyn January 28, 2013 at 2:47 am

I would have bought those Dutch shoes, repainted them, and decorated them for Christmas. You could “stuff” them with some candy or small tidbits each year instead of stockings. I remember my grandparents having little wooden shoes that were used instead of stockings.


Mary Kate January 28, 2013 at 3:11 am

My husband would have loved the food storage jars. I love the size, the square shape, and the screw on lids.


Catherine January 28, 2013 at 5:06 am

I haven’t been to our Goodwill recently, but I did check out an amazing place here in our neck of the woods yesterday:

It’s a gigantic warehouse (really gigantic-think BJ’s times 5) full of materials salvaged from renovation and house, and building demolitions. Dozens of old solid wood doors, windows, hardware, many entire kitchens. It’s amazing. And quite a resource for those of us with older houses.


Kym December 27, 2023 at 3:01 pm

Catherine, I’m wondering where you’re located. I took a peek at the gargantuan warehouse and was overwhelmed just from the pictures. I’m guessing you could be there daily for weeks and not see it all.


Shelley January 28, 2013 at 7:42 am

I had to google that Adler guy, and just on the front page of his website, I doubt I’d buy what he did buy, but I agree with you on your non-purchases. I could live with the duck bookends, mind, if I needed bookends.


Cluttered Mama January 28, 2013 at 8:09 am

My jaw dropped open at the jars. I can NEVER find storage jars at our Goodwill. In fact, I rarely find any treasures, but probably don’t go there enough. I have those jars, purchased retail from Target, and they were decidedly NOT $1.99. I desperately need more big jars (I save all my sauce jars which make GREAT small storage jars, but I need more biggies.

Rat Cat is terrifying! I love the lamps.


Katy January 28, 2013 at 8:45 am

I see jars fairly frequently, but they’re usually priced higher. The new jars are already filled with sugar and brown sugar, and lookin’ fine!



JD January 28, 2013 at 8:57 am

My Goodwill used to have great finds, but not so much lately. I find some when I go to other towns, though — we only have one Goodwill in our town.
Rat-cat is disgusting, and no, I could not bring myself to touch it, much less pay money for it. I can’t usually find storage jars at my Goodwill, either, although I sure could use some. My problem is, the few jars I find are often marked as high as they were at the store – the original vendor’s sticker on the bottom will say 2.99, but the jar will be Goodwill priced at 3.00. Things have gotten weird at my local Goodwill. A simple cardboard print of flowers in a plain wooden frame, the stapled together kind, was priced at 19.99! I don’t shop there too much anymore.
The lamps are great, but not the style for my house. My sister would have bought them in a heartbeat.


Cluttered Mama January 28, 2013 at 9:07 am

I find the same thing. The prices at our local Goodwill are pretty high– almost retail. I often find myself thinking “why buy this here when I could pay equal or less for the same thing at a retail store.” I want to support a good cause and try to reuse as much as possible, but part of me balks at paying retail for something used.

Our Goodwill is walking distance, with is awesome, and they get the “we couldn’t clearance it so now it is a write-off” stuff from Target, but because I frequent Target’s clearance areas, I know what a lot of the stuff was marked down to and if I wouldn’t pay that much on Target clearance for the EXACT same thing, why would I pay MORE for it at Goodwill.

Very frustrating.


Jen January 28, 2013 at 9:55 am

Jars, yes. Whisk, maybe. Nothing else. Totally still in the January decluttering mode. But definitely need more jars for my pantry.


Ελένη January 28, 2013 at 11:46 am

Who is Jonathan Adler?


Katy January 28, 2013 at 12:03 pm

American potter and furnishings designer:



Beth January 28, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Love those jars! I just came across those brass ducks selling on Etsy for $20!


patti January 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Fab lamps!!!


ThriftDee January 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm

A) That rat/cat will visit my nightmares tonight.
B) WWJAB? What would Jonathan Adler buy? I do the same thing! I just blogged about it!


Deniseathome February 6, 2013 at 10:14 am

I would have bought the whisk and used it, ditto the jars. Ceramic lamps will not have lastin our house, so I would have passed on those. And the baby’s anus? It’s in the same place as Barbie’s nipples and other missing body parts.


Katy February 6, 2013 at 10:24 am

Thanks for clearing that up! 😉



Judi December 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

My sił is from the Netherlands and loves anything from there so probably would have bought the shoes. My shelves are so full of books that I don’t want any bookends, they take up space intended for books.


Ecoteri December 28, 2023 at 7:10 pm

@Judi, my thoughts too – I just have so many books! no space for decorative doodads, but those ducks are quite lovely


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