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The Scariest Thrift Experience Ever

Sunday, September 4, 2011

 The Goodwill Outlet is the Goodwill sorting facility but you can shop there before they send things off to the stores in the area. They have big bins that you dig through, fill a cart and they weigh your cart at the check out and sell everything by the pound. Clothes and shoes for 70-something cents per pound. Wow, what a deal, right?!

The St Louis outlet is located off Market street, which is almost to the Arch and Mississippi riverfront. When we got out of our cars, we heard a horrid screeching coming from the top of the very ominous building, which sounded like animals being tortured. Apparently, they project this sound from speakers as a deterrent to rats....lovely!

 When we got inside, the whole place was filled with aisles of blue bins. We grabbed a cart and started digging. Suddenly, a Goodwill employee came out of the back room with a new bin.
A mob of women crowded the bin, screaming and shoving each other to grab whatever they could get their hands on. One women got punched in the face! Amanda and I stood in horror, watching the mob fight each other for thrift store handbags. When the fighting was over and they had what they wanted, they sorted through their winnings, dumping the crap and shoving the rest in their shopping carts. This scene played out every 10 minutes when a new bin arrived. I have never seen anything like it! I suppose that they were hoping to find designer bags or something but I can't imagine fighting someone for a purse....or anything for that matter! So, it was an interesting experience, to say the least. I managed to find a few cute pairs of shoes, a skirt, a crocheted purse that one of the purse vultures dumped behind. There was no vintage to be found and everything was pretty grimy and gross so I don't think we'll ever go back but if I do, I think I'll bring a cattle prod or something. Yikes!

28 Responses to “The Scariest Thrift Experience Ever”

  1. Oh my. Now that would be enough to put anyone off thrift shopping for life!

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  2. omg. that is freaky! I didn't even know this existed!!!

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  3. Oh those places sound scary! I once heard that because they don't sort through the stuff before putting it in bins, you can find all kinds of trash (and that's not 'bad clothing' that's literally rotting food and diapers...)

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  4. That sounds terrifying.....but intriguing! A small, scary part of me [that I don't often let out of its cage] thinks it might be fun - as long as I bring some rubber gloves and maybe a hazmat!

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  5. I didn't find any food or diapers, but I don't doubt it! There was a lot of trash- cardboard boxes, plastic bags, broken glass...eeewwwww!

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  6. Sounds as if this kind of thift shopping is only for the very brave, never the less I think I would love to have a go, just ones..... you never know it could be the place to find that gem of a vintage dress, nothing ventured nothing gained.

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  7. they had these in Oregon and I loved them, out there they call these the "bins". Yes, it is a very aggressive atmosphere, esp as in Oregon there were many people who made a living reselling stuff from here. however, I found so many great finds for so cheap, I guess you just pay for it with your time and patience. I once found a long dress from the 1910s in great condition!

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  8. I've never heard of these, we certainly don't have anything like that here, not sure I'm that keen to find a bargain!

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  9. Wow! I don't think I will be taking a trip to visit one any time soon...

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  10. Wow, that sounds rather terrifying. I've heard of those places before but I've never been to one. A part of me is still curious to go and check it out (with rubber gloves on...)

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  11. Oh my gosh, that's a bit ridiculous! :(

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  12. Wow. Punched in the face? Sounds like HOOT. Blimey. The nearest we come to anything like that over here is carboot sales - usually the early buyers crowd round your car as you try to unload things. The bigger the carboot - the scarier things can get!

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  13. Dear gods what the heck is wrong with those women?Punching someone in the face over a purse?Geeze!

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  14. Hey! I've just discovered your blog and am really enjoying the read! Those thrift mob ladies sound scary!

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  15. My first experience with Goodwill Outlet was to pick up something I had won in one of their auctions. Same deal - someone started a fistfight and the cops got called out!
    I braved it again by going to the one closer to my house and have had no problems. I've gotten 1950's Coleman camping gear, books from the mid-1800's (yes, 18 is not a typo), and a pair of wedges from the 40's that I'm convinced are haunted because how else can I explain my torn knee after wearing them for 2 hours.
    Things are pretty grimy there, so I always go back in and wash my hands after I load my car up. The hardcore people wear gloves.
    The ones here rotate the bins every 2 hours (books twice a day). They make everyone step away, pull all the bins out, push them back in, and give the signal for MADNESS!!!! They're very attentive and will straight up haul misbehaving kids back over to their parents with the "straighten up or leave" warning.
    Sorry you didn't find any good stuff. :(

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  16. Sounds like an experience and a half.Reminds me of the time many years ago when I was at an oppy shed that only opened once a moth an d2 women got into a tug of war over something lol how embaresssing were they?I cant do crowds like that its why I dont like auctions and huge event opeings let me dig thru opies in tranquil settings any day lol

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  17. Gltiz- that sounds much nicer! Mine might have been extra rough due to its location- or maybe St Louis women are just crazy! LOL! 1800's books?! WOW!! It did look like mine had some pretty good books but I was totally distracted by the brawl. Funny thing is, the employees were all watching, doing nothing. Cheap entertainment, I guess! :)~

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  18. Oh that sounded like music to my ears before you mentioned rats and fighting but I am positive that kind of stuff would happen anywhere. They have a wedding dress sale her in NY at this very expensive store and women bring along friends and family to hunt for a discount designer dress...fighting and all happens. What people do to save a buck, huh?

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  19. We have a good will store like that here too we call it diggers. Well I have never seen anyone punched at one and I have not heard rat sirens at ours. I would say I have never had any good luck at them either but well I don't really have much good luck at good wills in general I do better at savers or salvation army stores.

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  20. This made me laugh so hard just imagining the scene. Gotta love Thrift Stores!

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  21. I went to my first one last month and it was quite the experience! No punching, but the frenzied digging that occurred when they brought out the new bins literally made my jaw drop! At my store, there are people who literally stay there ALL DAY LONG waiting for new bins to come out--they have their own shopping carts all staked out and covered with sheets. They somehow make a living reselling what they buy there. Frankly, it felt one step above dumpster diving.

    That being said, I found some fun stuff and it was cheap! A vintage punch board game, vintage Christmas ornaments, and awesome vintage box purse with seashells on it, and an old wooden crate. I'll definitely go back, but I'm wearing gloves next time! My hands were filthy by the time we left.

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  22. I laughed so hard this brought tears to my eyes! B*tches be trippin!

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  23. That is terrible. It would totally stress me out and adds yet another reason I will never shop at the bins. I think I would rather pay way too much than go through that. Maybe there is one way out in the suburbs...

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  24. I had seen these stores but couldn't imagine what a "goodwill outlet" could be. Now I know!

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  25. This is like people stealing newspapers just to get the coupons--insane! I've been to Goodwill many times but had never heard of a Goodwill Outlet. The one closest to us is probably the one you went to or the one in Omaha. I don't think I'll be making that trip!

    I want photos of you using that cattle prod! :-)

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  26. Good grief! That sounds horrible! I've had similar experiences at estate sales. I don't know why people can't just be courteous to each other :(

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  27. I am so happy that I came across your blog. I am in St. Peters (yeah, we're neighbors) and have been wanting to go down to the outlet to get some material for DIY projects. I can't stand that type of atmosphere so I am happy to see your review before I became fashion roadkill as I got trampled! I think I will stick with my local Good Will on 94 where I am "safe". LOL My blog is http://mamalousgems.blogspot.com/ if you would like to check it out. Nice to meet a neighbor!
    Lisa

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