Nothing But Questionable-will

by Katy on October 16, 2015 · 23 comments

I love the Portland area Goodwills. I love how clean and organized they are, I love how there’s one in practically every neighborhood and I love how much good they do in our community. (Free job placement services, free English as a Second Language Classes, Free resume help, amazing employment outreach and pretty much helping people with barriers to employment. You know, their mission.)

I’ve found countless treasures at Goodwill, and my house is literally The House That Goodwill Built.© (Copyright pending.)

But sometimes Goodwill puts out the oddest items and apparently prices those items at random.

Need an example?

I present to you the $6.99 Goodwill log:

Log for sale!

Not a fancy log, not a unique log and certainly not a log with $6 taped onto the back.

The Goodwill log!

Man, do I love Goodwill!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucy October 17, 2015 at 3:56 am

Well, that IS odd!

No Goodwill close to me, but a few other thrift shops. One is run by volunteers who are older ladies, and things are oddly priced. More than once I have noticed a great collectable item and taken it up to the counter and gently explained what it is and why it should be priced higher. But those weird high priced items? I have no idea what is going on with them. Office supplies, especially: binders $5, hanging folders $1 each?

No logs, though!


Marie-Josée October 17, 2015 at 4:20 pm

Lucy, your comment is very interesting. I was raised by my grandmother and this reminds me of her. My grandma did not experience any of the depression-era hardships, although she was a teenager during those times in Northern Quebec. She was very well dressed and did not hesitate to spend on her appearance. She never left the house without make-up, hair set and all decked out – she came of age in the 40’s! However, most other non-consumbles were purchased sparingly. She reused enveloppes to write notes and lists and used pencils to their stub. Supplies were more expensive when I was a child, 40 years ago (pre-Walmart) and I think those elderly ladies price those items according to the value they had when they were purchasing them in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.


Anne October 18, 2015 at 8:45 am

This is an excellent point. I, too, grew up when almost all consumable goods were American made and thus much more expensive. Getting a new article of clothing was an event. I have seen *some* clothing, and other goods, sell today for the same that we paid in the 1950s. Absolutely astounding when you consider 60 years of inflation.


Susan Robinson October 17, 2015 at 4:20 am

I know! Our Goodwills here are wonderful, too, but the prices are sometimes hard to figure out. Take the case of canning jars. Individual jars priced at $2.99 when you can buy a case of 12 new ones for $7.99. Oh, well. The hunt is always interesting!


Diane October 17, 2015 at 4:24 am

Is your book forthcoming? Excited to hear!


Dale Emanuel October 17, 2015 at 5:41 am

We love you Katie! A log. New one on me….this me leaving this one alone. Have a great day. Thanks for what you do. We need to organize a media roll out for your book to be! Exciting!!!


Patti October 17, 2015 at 5:48 am

I found out why our Mission Hill Thrift Shop was so expensive: they had college students (working for community service) pricing the items. Since two of the colleges here are private and pricey, I doubt these students had a clue what was a good price to pay for something. Unfortunately, the items sat on the shelf for a long time because of this.


Ann October 17, 2015 at 6:19 am

Our local Goodwill has quit accepting donations of rugs. Is that common?


MW October 19, 2015 at 8:40 am

Issues with bed bugs? Or did they get far too many carpets that have been piddled on? While I love thrifting, I treat everything with suspicion until I can clean it.


Diane October 21, 2015 at 3:08 am

I love that…treating everything with suspicion! I did have bedbugs a few years ago and hesitate to purchase anything at thrift stores now. If I do, I am like you an clean it thoroughly as soon as I get home.


Lucy October 21, 2015 at 3:56 am

Experts say 3 days in the freezer will kill bedbugs. I wrap any used soft goods I bring hom in plastic and leave them in the freezer for 4 days to be on the safe side (or until I remember).


Marilyn October 17, 2015 at 9:51 am

I have always loved the whole idea of Goodwill stores – you know taking unused items, selling them and using the money to help people. It is hard to figure how they price things sometimes, but I guess that’s all part of the experience. Can’t wait to read your book, Katy. I love the title.


Vika October 17, 2015 at 10:30 am

Too funny on the log.

Sometimes I try to gentle point out items that are priced above retail or ridiculously overpriced, but I don’t think all the employees care or have control over that. I saw a sheet set the other day that was about three times what you’d pay new at Fred Meyer. I also notice our Goodwill pricing kids’ clothes (especially FM and Target store brands) well over retail. I suppose it doesn’t matter too much but it seems unfortunate for those who can only afford second hand and don’t realize they aren’t getting a deal.


Diane C October 17, 2015 at 12:44 pm

Pretty sure that’s a 100% Natural Kentucky Bourbon Infused Yule Log. Guaranteed to burn (money from your wallet).


Gail October 17, 2015 at 2:23 pm

A log? Odd
My GW in Mechanicsville, VA is clean including the bathrooms, well organized, and good at churning out the out old inventory. Oddly, they will occasionally price something for more than the retail price sticker, which is still attached.


Susanne g October 17, 2015 at 2:25 pm

What’s this about a book? I didn’t get the memo, do tell.


Rachel October 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm

Oddly priced items are half the fun. It goes both ways, too: I bought an Ethan Allen pantry cabinet for $25 at Goodwill once. Had a heck of a time getting it in my vehicle, but managed with help from some gracious employees. Curious, I looked up the retail value once I got home and just about went into shock.


Marcelle October 17, 2015 at 4:24 pm

The log made me think of this, from a CBC satire program (Canada’s NPR)


AFS October 17, 2015 at 10:09 pm

I’ll remember to look at Goodwill in my area next time I need fire wood. I’ll wait ’till purple tags are $1.79 though


JD October 19, 2015 at 6:27 am

That had me laughing out loud!


Marcy October 18, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Thrift pricing can be a bit strange and I find it difficult to give feedback when prices are ridiculously high. There are a couple of local stores which price items way too high and I’m sure their stock must sit there for ages.

Does anybody have any tips for politely suggesting that lower price and more volume of sales is a better approach, without coming across as though you want to rip the charity off?


JD October 19, 2015 at 6:39 am

I’ve noticed my GW has more and more often priced things over what I know them to be retail. No way should a single plain K-Mart cheap stoneware plate be priced at $4.99, but I’ve seen that, and on the same shelf, a lovely Lenox bowl in a pattern I know is pricey, going for 50 cents. The log is a new one for me, though. I truly don’t think I’ve ever seen anything to top that. Who donates a log to Goodwill anyway?
I bought a lovely signed and numbered print, with a beautiful, professionally-done frame, for $8.99 at a GW in my sister’s town; the print hangs on my bedroom wall. Empty, cheaply made frames go at my local GW for as much as $6.00 for small to $15 for large. Go figure. How do they set the prices on their items? Does anyone know?
BTW, I love my sisters. What we find fun is checking out all the Goodwill, thrift, and junk shops when we visit each other!


Karen. October 20, 2015 at 6:06 am

Some days I think it would be fun to open a small-town (i.e. 846 people) consignment/thrift shop. Other days I realize people give you things like logs, or consign 100 pounds of stained baby clothes that they expect to later see on a rack. Reality check.


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