15 Insider Secrets You Should Know From a Goodwill Employee

Spill the thrifting tea! Craving a designer bag on a budget? Or maybe you’re hunting for unique home decor that won’t break the bank? Goodwill is your secret weapon, but navigating those aisles can be tricky. Fear not, get ready to take your Goodwill game to the next level with some insider tips straight from the source. This guide is packed with insider secrets from people who know the store like the back of their hand – the employees. Discover how to snag hidden gems, negotiate like a pro, and score discounts you won’t believe!

Ask For Deeper Discounts 

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When shopping at Goodwill, don’t hesitate to ask for deeper discounts on items. Sometimes, items have been on the shelf for a while, and employees may be willing to negotiate a lower price to move them. Politely inquire if there’s any room for negotiation, and you might be surprised at the savings you can score. It’s all about being friendly and respectful in your approach.

Negotiate on Mismarked Items

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If you spot an item that seems to be priced higher than it should be, don’t be afraid to bring it to the attention of the staff. Mismarked items are more common than you might think, and many Goodwill locations are open to adjusting prices accordingly. By politely pointing out the discrepancy, you could end up saving some extra cash on your purchase. It never hurts to speak up and advocate for fair pricing.

Test Electronics

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Before purchasing electronics from Goodwill, take the time to test them if possible. Many stores have outlets where you can plug in devices to see if they work. It’s essential to ensure that any electronic item you buy is in good working condition to avoid disappointment later. Don’t be afraid to ask an employee for assistance if you’re unsure how to test a particular item.

Use the Return Policy

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Goodwill typically has a return policy in place for items that are defective or not as described. Familiarize yourself with this policy and keep your receipt handy. If you discover an issue with an item after purchase, don’t hesitate to return it for a refund or exchange. Knowing your rights as a customer can help you shop with confidence.

Hunt for Coupons

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Keep an eye out for coupons and promotions offered by Goodwill. These can often be found in local newspapers, on the organization’s website, or through social media channels. Using coupons can help you save even more money on already discounted items. Be sure to check the expiration dates and any terms or conditions associated with the coupons before using them.

Donations Arrive Daily, and Inventory Moves Fast

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Goodwill receives donations daily, meaning inventory is constantly changing. If you see something you like, it’s best to grab it then and there, as it may not be available on your next visit. Popular items, in particular, tend to fly off the shelves quickly, so don’t hesitate if you spot a gem. Keep checking back regularly for new arrivals and fresh opportunities to score great deals.

Donations Are Big on Weekends

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Weekends tend to be peak times for donations at Goodwill locations. If you’re looking for a wide selection of items, consider visiting on a Saturday or Sunday. You’re more likely to find new inventory and unique treasures when the flow of donations is high. Plan your thrift shopping trips accordingly to maximize your chances of scoring great finds.

Don’t Forget to Shop Online!

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Many Goodwill locations now offer online shopping options through platforms like eBay or their own websites. This expands your access to a broader range of items beyond what’s available in-store. Take advantage of online shopping to browse through a wider selection and potentially find unique items that aren’t available locally. Be sure to factor in any shipping costs when budgeting for your purchases.

Know Your Sizes

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When shopping for clothing at Goodwill, it’s helpful to know your sizes in various brands and styles. Sizing can vary widely between different manufacturers and even different eras. Take your measurements beforehand and keep a note of your typical sizes to streamline the shopping process. This way, you can quickly determine whether a particular garment is likely to fit you well.

Check Out the Holiday Section — After the Holidays

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After major holidays like Christmas or Halloween, Goodwill often discounts seasonal items to make room for new inventory. This is the perfect time to stock up on decorations, costumes, and other holiday-themed goods at a fraction of their original prices. Keep an eye out for these post-holiday sales to score some fantastic deals for next year’s celebrations.

Look for Special Occasion Items

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Goodwill is a treasure trove for special occasion attire, such as prom dresses, formalwear, and costumes. These items are typically priced much lower than their retail counterparts, making them an excellent option for budget-conscious shoppers. Whether you’re attending a wedding, costume party, or other special event, consider browsing Goodwill first to find affordable and unique outfit options.

Lists Are Key to Thrifting Success

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Before heading to Goodwill, make a list of items you’re specifically looking for. This can help you stay focused and avoid getting overwhelmed by the sheer volume of merchandise. Having a clear idea of what you need can also prevent impulse purchases and ensure you make the most of your shopping trip. Refer to your list as you browse to help guide your selections and prioritize your search.

There Are Always Name Brands If You Look Hard Enough

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While Goodwill is known for its affordable prices, don’t underestimate the potential for finding high-quality, name-brand items. Many people donate gently used designer clothing, accessories, and home goods, which can be found interspersed among the regular inventory. Take your time to browse carefully, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the upscale treasures waiting to be discovered.

Talk To Employees To Get the Inside Scoop

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Goodwill employees can be valuable sources of information and insight when it comes to navigating the store and finding hidden gems. Strike up a conversation with staff members and ask if they have any tips or recommendations for shoppers. They may be able to point you towards newly stocked items, upcoming sales, or little-known bargains that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Don’t Forget the Clearance Area

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Make sure to check out the clearance section during your Goodwill visits. This area often features heavily discounted items that are priced to sell quickly. While the selection may be more limited, you can often find incredible bargains on clothing, home goods, and more. Be prepared to dig through the racks and shelves, as the best deals are sometimes hidden away.

This article originally appeared on RetailShout

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