Goodwill Changing Minds, Changing Prices

What: Recessionistas want deals on designer duds they can brag about, because it’s no longer “in” to overpay for a Prada handbag. Nor is it affordable. Enter Goodwill. The non-profit chain, which has been a reliable treasure trove for many of us over the years, has lots of leverage right now. And it’s new target consumer is you, bargain hunting stylistas. Taking a few hints from Victoria’s Secret, Saks, and other high-end retailers, Goodwill has been slowly introducing designer boutiques into the country, in an effort to appeal to more upper-class patrons. Along with that, the organization’s started blogging, tweeting, and generally plugging in to communities like this one.

From the New York Times:

Across the country, Goodwill is competing for shoppers with a keener eye and sometimes deeper pockets. A few stores are adjusting prices accordingly. The many who think of the brand as a graveyard for no-name castoffs would be surprised — or dismayed — to find a Prada bag marked at $200 and climbing at auction on a Goodwill Web site, or a Pucci shirt for $800.

What We Say: We can’t get on Goodwill’s case for “recession profiteering,” but we have to wonder if this will benefit us in the long run. Instead of discovering a couture dress on our own, Goodwill will slap it up on a mannequin and put a high price tag on it. Where’s the fun in that? Kudos to Goodwill for getting business-savvy, but we’re on the fence about this new makeover. Also, Goodwill has been a reliable source of apparel for people who previously couldn’t afford to shop at department stores. What’s going to happen to the people who have to shop at Goodwill, when those who choose to shop there take over?

What do you think, is this move for better or worse?

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  1. KBAM says

    I’ve wondered about people who “have” to shop at thrift stores, too.  I’ve only been thrifting for maybe 10 years, and the prices are up significantly.  I realize that if you were previously buying shirts for $50 or more each that a top at $7.99 is a huge bargain, but it really isn’t a much better price than Target!  I’ve also noticed that my thrift store gets a little confused about what might be higher end… I’ve seen Sears and JC Penney store brands marked at higher rates, as if they were designer.  I guess I’m torn- on the one hand, it’s more money to a good cause, and on the other, it makes thrift shopping less fun and accessible.

  2. elderberry says

    I’ve stopped shopping or donating to thrift stores.  They are marking everything up too much. I find better deals on retail clearance racks.  I quit donating because of this. Things I donate are the marked up and the people who need it can’t afford it. I’d rather put the time into a yard sale and donate the proceeds to the food pantry. I also offer items on freecycle.

  3. lloguzzbf09 says

    As one who at several points in my life have relyed heavily on Goodwill to provide business appropriate suits and accessories as the only way to maintain the look of an sucessful business woman, I would be very sad to see prices go up so other women sturggling to make it will have a smaller selection in their price range.

  4. capitaltee says

    In September, I read a story about a slick fashion show/auction fundraiser that Goodwill did in DC at the French Embassy.  I can’t find the link to the story, but the site for the event is  They pulled a lot of their better quality donations for the event.

    Readers posted angry comments that it was wrong of Goodwill to offer its nicer donations to people who could probably afford to pay retail.  The event organizer eventually posted that she was surprised by the comments.  Essentially, she said that Goodwill views their stores as a funding source to sustain Goodwill education and training programs, not as a way to provide low clothing and furniture to the public (well, she worded it better than that, but that was her message).  They want everyone to be their customers.

    So no, not really surprised that their prices are going up.

  5. VictorBush says

    You said it correct that these is period is like a night mare for many of us just because of the recession.Many of us who were well settled somewhere out of their countries had to leave back home as an effect of these down fall.We need to be alive in the race till the recession fades out.

  6. masham says

    The front wall of my local Goodwill displays the organization’s mission:
    “Goodwill Industries International enhances the dignity and quality of life of individuals, families, and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work.”
    It has nothing to do with the merchandise that is sold in stores.  How we operate describes the question:
    I see nothing wrong with raising prices for designer items.  The people that Have to shop at Goodwill aren’t buying those items up for auction.

  7. Marie Kurtenbach says

    The high prices at Goodwill are ridiculous. Even items like t-shirts are expensive. I, for one, will never shop there again. I’ll stick with dollar stores, garage sales and other thrift stores.

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