Goodwill Boutique Makes Mockery of Thrift

I’m not really sure how to explain the shit going down at Goodwill’s Greenwich Village Boutique. I’m also not really sure why no one else in the NYC shopping blogosphere seems to have a problem with it.

Daily Candy named Goodwill GVB one of five Boutique Openings to Get Excited About. Racked‘s review seemed too wooed by the good deed factor of Goodwill to question the obvious.

For women, the store carries frilly and floral skirts, shorts in a variety of colors and lengths, and dresses for every occasion. Tank tops and bright, light weight tops are under $15 each, and coats and jackets range from $9.99 for a Mossimo rain jacket to $69.99 for an Ann Taylor Loft pea coat.

Maybe a Mossimo rain jacket costs more than $9.99 at Target. Maybe I don’t give a shit. Charging more than five bucks for an already-budget item of piss-poor quality is an insult to the art of thrift. Where the Ann Taylor Loft pea coat’s concerned, I mean, JESUS. A seventy dollar price tag at Goodwill? For an effing generic ATL pea coat? In MAY?!

Curated, my ASS.

Where charity thrift’s concerned, hell hath frozen over: Bundle up beotches, and brace yourselves for the cold hard reality of what it now costs to shop for a cause.

Mmkay, so these photos suck dong, but that’s because the security guard kept eyeballing me whilst I snapped (also, a security guard… what’s worth stealing, the fake Louis Vuitton bag in the window? Pfft.). Apologies, and onto the ludicrousness pictured.

Twenty8Twelve tops retail for hundreds of dollars. Ditto for Theory. It follows that paying $69.99 for one isn’t all that unreasonable… at Loehmann’s, or at a sample sale, or maybe even at a high-end consignment shop. I wouldn’t do it, but I understand it.

Paying that amount at Goodwill GVB is a different story – one in which I’m still digging through significant amounts of donated muck.

You heard me. DONATED. Goodwill wants $69.99 for each of these garments, but what’d they pay out of pocket? Zero. That’s a mark-up even Barneys can’t top.

I don’t have a problem with trading on charity – nationwide, Goodwill puts millions of people to work, and uses 84% of its profits to fund its numerous charitable initiatives. What I have a problem with is its complete disregard for the monetary expectations of those who keep it in business: We, the thrifters.

Goodwill GVB might be a smidge easier to shop than its larger Manhattan counterparts, but copious amounts of Target crap and Old Navy shizzz doth not a *curated* *vintage* *boutique* experience make.When I shop Goodwill, I expect to spend a bit more time and energy browsing than I would shopping retail. In return for my efforts, I expect to snag something amazing for a fraction of its retail cost – meaning five, ten, twelve bucks max. That uber cheap price is my reward for going gently worn, and for giving to charity via my secondhand purchase.

At Goodwill GVB, what do my efforts net me? Brand-name rip-offs, and a fucking forty dollar make-up stain.


  1. says

    Those prices for thrift are outrageous. I love Goodwill as much as the next thrifter but I’d never pay that much for some shit I have to dig for that someone else already wore.

  2. says

    I agree 100%!
    Here in CA, the Salvation Army is starting to do the same thing…prices are creeping up & up, but the store is still dirty and the cat piss smell is still there :-(
    If I’m gonna pay over $15 bucks for a clothing item I shouldn’t need a bottle of hand sanitizer to do it.

  3. DMarie says

    I think they were too ambitious in thinking people would pay outrageous amounts of money. They started to have 1/2 off specials and then took it away, plus that boutique is not as busy as some other locations. They should re-think their business strategies.

  4. Donna says

    I really don’t understand their target customer. Would anyone who actively searches for second hand gems pay those prices? Would anyone who’s willing to pay those prices wear thrift clothing? I can find lower prices on the good stuff (read: not Mossimo or ATL) at Off5th or Loehmann’s. You’re absolutely right: Does not compute.

  5. Tess says

    I’m not a NY thrift shopper, but that shit pisses me off. It’s exploitative. I wouldn’t even spend $69.99 for something new at ATL, and no one with any shopping moxy would.

  6. Violet says

    Hey, nice meeting you again the other day :)

    Like I said before, I agree, this is ridiculous, and I’m glad someone said something about it.

    I love goodwill, but I feel like this boutique is a mockery of what thrift shopping (at least at goodwill) should be. =\ Big Frown.

  7. Sarah says

    What you say is true to some extent.. but there is obviously a market for this so why shouldn’t they sell these pieces at this price? Also if you factor in the location of the store? It is a charitable organization after all, and more savvy consumers like yourself and your readers (as well as myself!) would go to the Outlet anyway..

  8. says

    Dear CheapJAP: You are completely RIGHT in looking at price tags in any store and deciding you can do better elsewhere. We all do this if we are wise. But you are completely WRONG in complaining that something’s too costly because, duh-they-got-it-free. Think about how much anything “cost”… the $60 shoes you think are such a bargain? The manufacturer incurred less than $6 to make them. Does the $6 make any difference in how you VALUE the $60 bargain shoes?

    If there’s “monetary disregard” that offends you, I would do just what you did: walk out. That’s the best thing you can do to let a business, any business, know you do not want WHAT they offer at the price they have placed on it. The prices you cite sound outrageous, yes, but not because “they got it free”… because it’s not worth it to you. And sure, makeup stains, stolen intellectual property (AKA “faux” designer bags), outlandish pricing, all things to blog about… but a MOCKERY OF THRIFT? Come now. Settle down.

    BTW” It is common courtesy to ASK before you take photos; surely you of all people know that.

  9. says

    Great post and fab undercover picture taking… Funny. I am shocked by these prices, gross stuff. When I lived in NY (sigh) the Salvation Army on Manhattan Ave (Greenpoint, Brooklyn) was always amaze and super cheap… Forget this one.

  10. Britta says

    Goodwill has been doing this for awhile in my home town (Portland, OR), where their downtown locations are crazy-ass expensive. Other locations of Goodwill are more normal priced, and there is a Goodwill outlet store which sells clothes by the pound, though you have to sort through them in large bins. I’ve been shopping at thrift stores my entire life (parents only used to buy our clothes there as a kid), and I noticed that when thrift store shopping went from being the province of the poor and the unusually frugal to suddenly becoming “hip” some time in the 90s, thrift store prices increased accordingly. And don’t even get me started on “vintage” places like Buffalo Exchange, where a second hand Old Navy t-shirt sells for $20. I feel like thrift stores think if they can attract a clientele that’s never bought used clothing before, they’ll think, “well, this is cheaper than it is new” rather than, “WTF? who’d pay more than $10 for something with a stain?”

  11. says

    Wow, I thought $12 for a shirt at my local Goodwill was a lot. There is a local thrift store in my area that opened a boutique and charges a lot for donated items as well. I agree that the mark up is outlandish for second hand merchandise.

  12. says

    I am with you! This is going on in Goodwill’s in Missouri also…I am a bargain shopper anyhow so there is no way I’m paying those prices for ANYTHING used (maybe furniture, big maybe). So outdone.

  13. says

    Probably been 10 years or more since I actually felt like I “scored” at a Goodwill. Plus the thrift experience just isn’t the same as what I would call a sweet spot. If I want something cheap (as in poorly made), I’ll go to Walmart, Targe’, etc. If I want something expensive, I’ll go to…..where they sell expensive things. There’s lots of reasons to thrift and Goodwill is losing it’s place as one of them.

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