Friday, July 15, 2011

Deals by the Pound!

Goodwill Outlet Store in Indianapolis

Keely and I made a fast trip to Indianapolis last week to pick up a car we bought for Isaac on eBay. (If you keep up with the ongoing drama here, you know that our son Isaac wrecked his car in June.) The "new" vehicle is a 2001 Toyota Corolla. It seems to be a pretty good little car, and we hope it will serve him well.

We drove up after work and spent the night in Indianapolis. The next morning, we had a few hours to kill before we could pick up the car, so we decided to visit a Goodwill Outlet Store that we had spotted in the area.

The outlet store occupies one end of a huge warehouse. Goodwill trailers were parked in a line along the wall. When we got out of the car, we saw a sign that made our bargain-loving hearts go thumpity-thump:  "Deals by the Pound!"

Inside, we learned the prices:
$.69/lb. for clothing, housewares, books,  toys, DVDs, and CDs
$.49/lb. for glass
$.99/lb. for paired shoes

(I suppose if you wanted unpaired shoes, they would be $.69/lb!)

The store was a very large room with a very high ceiling. Several dozen shoppers were digging through a jumble of merchandise that was piled in long rows of bins. The bins -- or maybe they should be called tables -- were made of blue plastic, and they were about 4 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 18 inches deep.

Several rows of tables contained heaps of housewares and toys. Tables in another area had piles of  mostly clothing. Against the back wall, I found several tables of  books and magazines. Furniture was arranged in long rows in one corner of the room. I don't think I saw any piece of furniture that was priced over $25, and many items were $10 or less.

As we shopped, Goodwill employees were bringing out new furniture, rolling out new bins, and removing old bins to the back to be refilled. When I saw the process, I understood another sign on the wall: "Please do not shop from rolling bins!" A fellow shopper told us that they change the bins every 2 hours, and for best pickings, you need to be there at changing time.

I didn't have enough patience to dig through the clothing, but Keely found several pairs of work pants for Taurus and some cute toddler outfits for her friend's little girl. I investigated the book bins and was horrified at the way they were tossed in and scrambled around. I rescued a couple of old geography books, a cookbook, a Richard Scarry book of nursery rhymes, a biography of Will Rogers for Dennis, and several others.

We chatted with the lady behind us as we waited to weigh our merchandise at the cash register. She was about 40 years old, and she had a stack of neatly folded clothing in her cart. She said that she lives an hour away, but she likes to come to the outlet every week on her day off. She looks for clothing for her entire family, and she always checks them carefully for stains and other damage before she buys them. She described herself as "addicted."

At the checkout, we pushed our cart onto the scales. We didn't have to sort out any glass or shoes to be weighted separately. Our pile of $.69/lb merchandise, plus the tax, came to about $30. Our heaviest items were the books and a little wooden stepladder. We also had a couple of big wicker baskets, a metal tray, the cloth items that Keely found, some video games -- and more.

The Goodwill Outlet is not for sissies. It's hard-core junk shopping! It would be a good idea to wear gloves or bring hand sanitizer. But I'm sure amazing treasures are found there every day. As we left, a man saw me fiddling with my camera and said, "You found that in here, didn't you?!"  I'm not sure he believed me when I said, "No."

 On the web:
Goodwill Outlet Stores in Indianapolis. (We visited the one on Shadeland Ave.)
Goodwill Outlet Store in Nashville (One of these days!)
Ms Cheap Visits the Goodwill Outlet (Visit the Nashville store via You-Tube.)


Karen in Kentucky said...

I could never go through bins of junk. I thought Goodwill stores were more organized than this. The one here has clothes hanging on racks and most items clean and placed on shelves.

The one thing I always look for when visiting a place like this is old Featherweight or Treadle Sewing Machines. Either is a treasure in today's quilting world!!

Genevieve said...

I didn't see any sewing machines at this store, but I did see a couple of nice sewing machine cabinets.

Regarding the unorganized bins of merchandise -- this is not an ordinary Goodwill store. This is an outlet store, and it has its own method of operating. It's quite a bit different than the usual Goodwill. That's why it was such an interesting experience! ;)

Mike Schubert said...

My wife and sister are Goodwill junkies.... I never will forget once a "high class" lady asked my wife where she bought her designer jeans...your right,Goodwill!

Genevieve said...

Designer jeans -- that reminds me of the salvage store in Warrensburg, MO, where Dennis and I once lived. I remember buying some fancy jeans there and a pair of leather boots that I loved but they were always about 1/2 size too small! It was a fun place to shop, because you never knew what they might have. It was new merchandise, but you had to watch for damage. I think they must have bought big lots of stuff from insurance companies -- stuff that had survived a fire or flood or such.

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