Friday, May 13, 2011

My Visit To The Goodwill Store

The recent dust up over a Republican legislator in Michigan who sought to add a provision to state foster care clothing purchase regulations which mandated that only used clothing be purchased with the $80 per year stipend trigged me to go to a used clothing store to see for myself.

On my drive to the local Goodwill store which opened up in late March 2011 I noted that a new consignment store had opened up about a half mile down the street. They too sell clothing but it likely business suits and dresses for all occasions for women.

The following series of photographs should give you an idea of what I saw.

The summary conclusions are:

  1. Goodwill of today offers a high quality, value oriented selection for poor and working class people to gain access to needed clothing
  2. Everything about the store was about quality and respect
  3. Every article of clothing that I was was perfectly reconditioned - ironed, little sign of wear and clean
  4. The PICTURES ON THE WALL told the story.  Racial minorities were featured in these pictures.  The mission statement of the GoodWill is to "Put People To Work"
I am convinced that - in the battle in Michigan those who proposed this bill had the right idea about maximizing the clothing purchase by finding garments of low cost but the wrong approach regarding the sensibilities of the recipients.  I personally prefer not to have government so detailed and intrusive.

At the same time the critics of this proposal CLEARLY have not been into a Goodwill store or they would not have taken the rote offense to proposal.  Indeed it is true that more of these quality clothes could  be purchased for $80 than one could expect to purchase from other channels that sell brand new clothing (made in Honduras, India, China).  It is clear that many of them saw the perceived spirit of the Republicans and they stood against him.

It is entirely reasonable for a family of little means who need to maximize the use of their money to go to Goodwill to acquire high quality garments.  

I applaud Goodwill for addressing the needs of a critical market segment.  


Olive said...

I have worked as a secretary in a fancy downtown law office all my life. Most of my work clothes were purchased at Goodwill and other second hand clothing stores. You would not believe the items I have purchased over the years, the designer stuff, compliments I have gotten and $$$ I have saved. :) I have got tons of baby and children's clothing there, too, in great condition, not to mention other items. You just don't get what you want when you want it; you have to be patient. Nothing wrong with Goodwill.

Constructive Feedback said...


I have gone into:

* Dollar General
* Family Dollar
* Big Lots

and saw that I was a FOOL for frequenting "top shelf" stores when I could purchase the very houshold items for a lower price.

When it comes to clothing Goodwill plays in this same space.

It is frustrating for me to see BLACK PEOPLE seeking to retain/achieve "Black Respect" by having others show that they respect us equally - when (reported) millionaires like Clark Howard are cheapskates who know that their WEALTH is more meaningful when they keep it in their pocket rather than spend it.

There is DIGNITY within Goodwill.

msladydeborah said...

Not every Goodwill store is neatly organized as the one you shopped at. Believe me I know. I love to shop at thrift stores and I've done so for a long time. There are Goodwill stores in my hometown that are not nearly this neat. They do not iron the clothes nor will they pick up items from zip codes that they identify as African American neighborhoods. I know this to be true because my mother tried to give them a donation of her clothing. She was refused because of where she resides, which happens to be a middle class neighborhood. The donation ended up going to another organization that runs thrift stores in our hometown.

Constructive Feedback said...

Ms LadyD:

Point well taken on your experience with Goodwill.

I don't believe that this is the case for all Goodwill locations.

As I drive around town it is clear that GW is entering into communities that they would never have been before - because the income/class mix has diversified. (The same is the case with Family Dollar - who is on a building spree and his hurting WalMart; Dollar General and Big Lots)

I also agree that an older GW in College Park GA from my experiences about 10 years ago was in the image that you point to. That store is now closed.

In my next venture I will find 2 GW in poor communities to compare their facilities against the 2 new ones on the Southside that represent the improved image.

GW services MINORITY and WORKING CLASS constituents. They should be applauded for this.