Tales from the Bins

When you find something awesome at the Goodwill Outlet it feels like you’ve found buried treasure. Some bins won’t have anything you want but when you find something, you know it will cost mere cents- most items are priced at 49 cents a pound. I like to think of it as a big, unpredictable rummage sale. For anyone who likes a deal, savors ‘the dig’, and has a penchant for kitsch, the bins are the thrifter’s mecca. Even the junkiest wares are kind of perfect, charmed in that way only used items can be.


A sampling of colorful merchandise. Nate ended up buying the Home Alone poster. I would’ve bought the sneaker-footed table if it didn’t scare me to death.

The outside speakers blast classical music into the parking lot and if you show up early, there’s a waiting room where all the other hardcore thrifters stand around until open. (And really, anyone who shops here is a hardcore thrifter.) Once inside though, there’s no more music and everyone goes bananas on the bins. Customers I saw and thought were great: A man with a baby doll glued to his motorcycle helmet, a shaky woman hurling around items with violent abandon, Spanish speaking brothers hanging out by the furniture, an impossibly pretty girl rollerskating in short-shorts (it was a miserably cold day, btw).


My co-worker told me employees started sorting out the book bins ahead of time because: ‘It just got too intense. This Korean gang moved in and took over the books. They’d grab all of ’em and harass the other book sellers. I heard from one guy who got his tires slashed… but then the Hondurans moved in and the Korean gang didn’t stand a chance.’ The idea of cutthroat book gangs makes me laugh even though I shouldn’t… Sadly, other bins are now being moved out: I recently heard my local Outlet has to ship the shoes somewhere else to avoid the feeding frenzy they cause. Just a rumor? I certainly hope so.

Here’s Schnitzel checking out the items from my most recent haul:

Random goodness: tea cups, cookie cutters, baking sheet, laboratory binder, clipboard. All for a little less than $6, and that includes Washington’s hefty state tax. Heck yeah!

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