I Am Breaking Up With You Goodwill.

Dear Goodwill
I am breaking up with you.
This is a hard letter to write because we had a wonderful relationship for many years. I started
visiting you when I opened my first antique shop over thirty years ago.  Back then you weren’t
considered cool and I would never let my friends know I was stopping by.  Actually, I would park
on the side of the building so no one would recognize my car.
Our relationship had been mutually beneficial to both of us.  You supplied me, at a reasonable price,
with items for re-sell and for our home.  In return, I would give you lots of clothing and other items.
GW,  I’ve noticed a big change in you over the last few years.  Unfortunately, the changes have put
a strain on our friendship.  You still ask for my donations but you don’t take care of the items I give
you.  I have seen  bins at your stores full of clothing, car seats, furniture and other merchandise
sitting outside for weeks, even in the rain.  At your outlet you can hear breaking glass and china all
day long as you dump merchandise from large bins to smaller bins.  I wonder how many people
would donate Grandma’s china if they knew most of it would end up broken and thrown away.In addition to your disregard for the hundreds of items I have given you over the years, you no
longer reciprocate by offering me your things at a fair price. I visit looking for unique and vintage

items and instead I find your stores now full of new décor from China. I don’t know when you
decided that I wanted to buy brand new décor at retail, or above, prices.  Some of your Super
Stores now carry almost all new items. I guess the donated things are thrown away after being
damaged sitting in the rain.
Below is something I just read about you, and some of the other charities, and I must admit this was
my breaking point.”MSN reports Goodwill pays some of their disabled employees an hourly wage of 22 cents, while the

CEO makes millions. They are taking advantage of a 75 year old law which allows this to happen.”Recently a manager was overheard saying less than 2% of the profits actually go to helping others.

I wish you the best of luck but I must end our relationship now.



70 thoughts on “I Am Breaking Up With You Goodwill.”

  1. Oh I second this! The prices are ridiculous! I can't afford to buy their stuff and then add time and money to fix it up… it just doesn't pay off!

  2. I broke up with them a long time ago for the very same reason. Also, I have been told that if I donate my nice quality winter clothing in the spring or summer or vice versa, they cut them up and use them for rags, etc. I will stick to donating to the Salvation Army. Although I visited our local store recently and they had a Hoosier cabinet marked at $999 and a broken down settee for $249. They are now "merchandising" their stores too. How much of that $999 goes to the extra employees they have hired or to actually help those in need.

  3. I "broke up" with Goodwill some time back…our 2 stores here in town have nothing but junk and it's so ridiculously priced! one of the stores is near a huge military base and used to have great stuff but I no longer go there and the one closer to my house never has anything worth looking at much less buying. I was shocked by the wages they pay their employees so thanks for letting me know about that…all the more reason to boycott GW!

  4. Oh I had to make the break too! The prices at our Goodwill became totally outrageous about a year or so ago. If I can't afford to shop there, what about people on a real budget. I've seen furniture in horrible condition at prices higher than our prices for completely refinished furniture – crazy!

  5. I totally agree on the Goodwill thing, Sherry. It's really sad, but Goodwill isn't the only company who practices this. I have a friend who has a disabled son. He makes .50/hour at a local pizza chain.

    As for how Goodwill treats their merchandise, I think each center is independent. We have a wonderful center close to where I live and they treat everything well. They just expanded their store and it's more organized than any Ross I've ever visited.

    Sadly, there will always be injustices in the world. The best we can do is reach out to those in need and be wise about where we spend our money. Thanks for this insightful post.

  6. Wow! I didn't know this about Goodwill. I don't shop there, but I do donate to them. The things I donate are mostly clothing and housewares. If I have anything of real value, I take it to a consignment store.

  7. Sherry, I have noticed the exact same thing. The CEO makes millions out of our donated items that we hope will help people. I have lately been donating my items to a local thrift shop that supports the homeless and also a safe house for battered women. I know the people who volunteer to serve with no pay on the governing boards of these organizations. The furniture you donate goes to a ware house. When the battered women and their children are ready to go to an apartment after training and rehab they get to choose the donated furniture to use in their new living situation. These women sometimes come to the shelter with only the clothes on their backs after escaping a life of being battered. They can use just about ANYTHING. Goodbye, Good Will.

  8. I "broke up" with Goodwill a couple of years ago. It's not the same business that it was years ago. I go to the Salvation Army store. At least I know that the donations will end up where they are supposed to!

  9. very sad. The thrift stores here have gone very high priced, especially for any good items. So far no new item sales but really all have taken a turn for the worse. I shutter to know the amount given to charity. The world runs on money and profit….necessary evil at times. too bad

  10. That's absolutely true. About 10 years ago, Goodwill went from a non profit to a for-profit business, and the decline began. I stopped shopping & donating there then, and donate to our locally run non profit. Goodwill has on staff…VERY well paid…folks who go thru the donations for good stuff that is then listed online to maximize profit for the management…NOT the folks they no longer help. I hope everyone reads your post and stops enabling them to dupe well meaning donaters…

  11. I'm so sorry you've had to break up, Sherry! I feel your pain. I've only been a Club G.W. member for a few years but I do love it, and get so many great finds from mine. I have learned over the years that it depends on where you live as to how your Goodwill operates. Not sure why, you think they'd all be the same! I also live in a unique area (I think) in that I can go to one of as many as 7-10 Goodwills within a 15 mile radius of my home. We'll be moving to another state later this year and I'm heartbroken that I'll have to say goodbye to some of my favorite haunts. I've also been to Goodwills in other states that were absolutely horrendous for some of the reasons you've mentioned in your post, not to mention that they were just plain dirty and unorganized. As for their hourly rates and percentage that goes to charity, I'll definitely be looking into it. I just can't believe they'd be allowed to operate in this day and age like that. They won't be long for this world if they can't get their act together:) Hopefully you'll discover some amazing new places to thrift in lieu of the G.W.!

  12. Totally agree with you. Those 'helping' organizations now seem to be more than just profit-making corporations. They've also become greedy. I now frequent individual thrift stores that are sponsor local charities and when they start to raise their prices I move on.

  13. Just one of several reasons I have never been a fan. Check out some of the other big name charities and will find similar situations. CEO pay of such orgs. is often excessive for work done. I do think a worker adn CEO should be paid appropriately and fairly for work and position like a pastor or missionary but really! Way out of line!

  14. I agree with you and wonder how GW keeps their non-profit status. The GW in our town moved to the side of town with higher priced homes rather than being located where those who can best use their services live. I instead take all my donations to a local charity that gives clothing to those in need. Too bad GW has turned out like this – lost focus of their mission.

  15. I think you hit the nail on the head with this post. I have thought the same thoughts for quite some time now. I don't know why they have decided to charge some of the prices they do. I would always take a load of things to them, and seems like they are just becoming to greedy. I totally agree with your thoughts.

  16. I can sympathize. I stopped shopping there because of their prices and the employee attitudes. We have some good local thrift shops that are as good as Good Will used to be…and if it helps to "buy local" than I can feel like I am helping somebody with my donations as well. Good luck, and may you find a better thrift outlet!

  17. This is VERY sad to hear, I didn't realize. I, too, have given alot of things over the years and made a few purchases. Our local GW has everything delivered to the back door and has workers bring it all INSIDE immediately, then gives you a receipt. I will check on large items too. Thanks for making us aware.

  18. AMEN ~! to very word you posted..
    its far worse than what you said and you would'nt believe what you have to sign in order to work for them.
    The further you make it up the line in management there , the more you know about the inner corporate structure of this and many other
    " Non Profit" organizations. its always been this way and I am happy to see some folks opening their eyes to this reality.

  19. Well said dear sad but true. I ended my relationship with salvation Army years ago because of this very thing. I ask the manager once how much do they give the Salvation Army home and he said nothing !! what we make pays salaries and heat and electricity for this building he told me.

  20. I don't go often enough to see a change, but if I am looking for a picture frame and I have 5.00 I would rather buy a new one than an old beat up one for the same or more money! It is too bad, but like I said, I don't go that often anyways!

  21. When I lived in MD there were three GW's in my area. Two of the three were as you described but, the third one was wonderful! Clean, organized, great prices and a friendly staff. It was always a pleasure to shop there.

  22. Hi Sherry,
    This is a good post and so very true.
    A Goodwill opened up about a year ago in our area and the store started out all nice and clean and had good merchandise at reasonable prices.
    Now, it's dirty and junky looking and the prices have risen.
    The same has happened with the local Habitat. Their prices are ridiculous! I used to find lots of good stuff to fix up at both places, but no more.
    Thanks for speaking up.


  23. I am not a big fan of GW personally. I only have ever found one chair before there that was worth anything. It is not very well organized and id highly over priced. My mom has a GW that actually has a Starbucks or something of the sort in it. She was astounded. Thanx for partying ad so glad you are back form your break!:)

  24. The last time that I shopped at my local Goodwill, there were some rather nice ceramic and glassware pieces, but when I looked closer everything I looked at more closely was chipped, cracked, or damaged. I wondered at the time if everything had been donated in that condition, or if it had been broken at the store. Many other items there seemed to be overpriced.

    Oh well, there are a lot of other thrift stores around.

  25. I love to shop thrift stores and it is always so fun to go on vacation and find new ones. While in San Diego a few weeks ago, I went to quite a few shops and found that their GW was the cheapest and had the nicest things. I bought quite a few dishes. I have not heard the bad news about how they treat their employees and other things, but I have heard some bad things about Walmart so who knows. Pretty soon we won't be able to shop any place..Happy Thursday..Judy

  26. Sherry, I've noticed that GW prices have escalated, but have to say that the stores I've shopped in are all very organized and well displayed. I don't like that so little of the profit goes to helping others. Thanks for enlightening us.

  27. I stopped giving to them a while ago Sherry. I would send bags of my kids cloths that looked brand new to them hoping a less fortunate family would get to use them and heard the employees go through them and take them for themselves!! So much for Goodwill!

  28. How awful…I wonder what their excuse is for dumping items. I hope this isn't going to happen here in Australia but we usually follow the US on most trends…very sad!

  29. I was in a thrift store yesterday (not Goodwill) and was disappointed with the condition and price of the merchandise. Paying their workers a miniscule amount is extremely unfair and makes me rethink my shopping habits. I would get better merchandise and pay the same or less at TJ Maxx.

  30. Hi Sherry – I broke up with Goodwill about two years ago. I now support the FOR PROFIT thrift store in my community. Their prices are super cheap. They support the local community. They give those less fortunate a very reasonable place to shop. They offer 50% off days for various items EVERY day. AND… they give a military discount. Something to be said about capitalism. Just sayin. Hugs, Holly

  31. What a wonderful post and SO true! I have noticed more and more that Goodwill and other "thrift" stores are now selling at antique mall prices. It is harder and harder for dealers like me to find things for resale. I have found all Goodwill stores to have high prices, but some Salvation Army stores have high prices and some do not. I guess that they are run independently. My husband insists that tv shows like Pawn Stars, Auction Kings, Storage Wars and the like are the reason that so-called "thrift" shops are now charging so much; everyone now thinks that their junk is valuable! Thanks for the great post; too bad none of them will read it.

  32. Well said and so true! I was standing by an elderly lady one day, at Goodwill, and she said," can't afford to shop here anymore because they dun gone and run the prices up!" It broke my heart because she told me she depended on finding things there she couldn't otherwise afford. I made the break too!

  33. Our Goodwills in the Boulder, Colorado, area are still great, but I have noticed price creep. This actually started with Savers stores about five years ago. Now Goodwill is getting sucked in. I think the Salvation Army still has really great prices. The prices at another, perhaps local, thrift, ARC, are ridiculously high. It's the economy. I remember even seeing BMWs in the parking lots of Goodwill in Phoenix when the real estate bubble burst!

  34. Such a shame. Maybe this is why our GW's always have garbage in them and damaged items. One thing I noticed too about our GW's is they often smell gross. That throws my shopping mojo right out the window.


  35. I gave up on their PIUS attitude many years ago when they shifted to PICKING through your donations-
    -I told them very adamantly that THEY'D TAKE ALL or NOTHING! That was my breaking point.
    It was eith
    er 20/20 or Dateline that did a huge story before Christmas addressing this finding of their practices–it was incredibly eye-opening.

  36. I'm so glad to know it isn't just me. We recently went to a GW store and were astounded by the high prices and low quality. But, I've also noticed this same trend at most of the flea markets I've been to. It appears that these owners are taking advantage of the people who are interested in DIY. Greed is really an ugly trait. I guess garage sales are the only places left to find bargains.

  37. I have never shopped GW much. There is one about 30 miles away from me. I have never cared for their selection or their prices. We have a local thrift shop that does a killer business. It is run by area churches together and all the employees are volunteers. Their prices have gone up over the years to my dismay, some even crazy, but I do still manage to get some good deals sometimes. All their funds go directly to helping the needy after their overhead costs. Nobody is paid and there is no CEO. I won't be going into another Good Will store anytime soon after this update.

  38. Thank you, thank you for this forthright post! I have been staying a way from Goodwill, since seeing all the NEW items popping up and the prices of their used items exceeding what they would cost new! I also read somewhere that we are to leary of SA as well. I now only donate to our local Hospice, as I do see the things I donate on their shelves and racks. What saddens me the most, is that there are some folks who really cannot afford new clothing, but are under the impression that buying from GW and SA is a way to save money! Have you checked Target's clearance aisles?? My daughter frequently finds nice NEW clothes for as little as $4.00. Okay, I'm off of my soap box.

  39. Each regional Goodwill is different, so don't paint all of them in such a bad light, when it may not be the case in another area.

    I was talking to a very cheery cashier at our local Goodwill a few weeks ago. She was greeting the customers, playfully teasing a couple of children, and was a ray of sunshine that lit up the whole store. She told me that she had been unemployed twice last year and that the job at GW was the best job she ever had. Goes to show that it's not all charity and donations … it's a real wage for a real person … making a real difference in people's lives.

  40. I live in a small town of coastal Georgia.We have a new GW store. It is the largest and most expensive building in town. I was amazed watching as it was being built.,,two stories no less. There is absolutely no telling what it cost.There are so many empty buildings in town over the last few years, I wondered why not use one of those and use that money to help people.

  41. I go there to buy blue jeans and as I'm walking around, I see that Goodwill is asking more for vintage furniture than I ask for the same thing in my shop after I've found it, paid for it, hauled it and fixed it. None of which they do. They made a killing during this recession and it is too bad we didn't know what was going on. I didn't know they were no longer not-for-profit. Now, it is in all the newspapers and on-line. I'm glad you let us know about Goodwill. A customer told me last year that he heard a crash while in Goodwill and when he went over to the cart where the employee dumped a carton, there were two mid-century figurines inside, now both missing their heads. They were Asian mid-century figurines and that is what he collected. He mentioned it several times to me, that the employees just throw the stuff. And who knows, their employers may very well tell them to do it that way.

  42. I would never even DONATE to Goodwill because they are a FOR profit company. I use Salvation Army for my donations, as they are a NOT for profit company. I am proud of your decision. You have seen the light!!!

  43. Habitat for Humanity in our town is worse. It appears that the employees preshop and what is put out is outrageous. I tried to buy a piece of furniture and they wouldn't sell it because they wanted to repair it themselves so they could get a higher price. Goodbye Habitat for me, too.

  44. I totally agree! My brother in law used to work at goodwill. He drove the truck to pick up donations. When he arived with the donations, he would watch as the managers would "pick" through the items and take out what they wanted to keep! The prices are now so high, us resellers can't afford it. So sad ):

  45. Oh Sherry – I did a post like this a year ago – ( that's when I broke up with them ) Some of the items in our stores are so ridiculously priced that people who actually need to go there cannot afford to. I could go on and on but this is your post – and very well said !!!

  46. I left GW ages ago when I learned they are not a charity, but a for profit that mimics a charity to score free inventory. I generally prefer salvation army stores, despite some price creep, an my real favorite is St Vincent's, where it is still possible to score a great deal on antique furniture or art.

  47. I have to agree with your take on Goodwill. Our local store has mostly new, China-made ugly things, that are at LEAST the price they would be NEW in the original dept. store. I rarely go in, and when I do, I kick myself for having visited Goodwill. I also will not donate anything to a store that's a blatant rip-off like this (and now I know about them not helping needy, then can forget it!). I also will not donate to our local DAV/Red Racks, b/c of their ridiculous pricing. If only people would start standing up to these places, they could not treat customers and workers this way. Thanks for your blog post on this issue!

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