Have you ever been to a Goodwill Outlet Store? It’s a shocking departure from a typical Goodwill retail experience and not for the faint of heart, but you can score some AMAZING deals if you are persistent.
The Burlingame Goodwill Outlet is an enormous warehouse tucked behind a Public Storage unit in an unglamorous, industrial area. Noisy forklifts zip around moving massive bins of merchandise, and you have to be mindful to stay out of their way. Instead of nicely arranged clothing racks sorted by size and color, all the clothes are dumped into enormous blue bins in a cavernous warehouse that echos loudly. It’s up to you to wade through these unorganized pools of clothes. This is not the kind of leisurely shopping you do with the girlfriends on a Saturday afternoon.
Goodwill Outlet’s rock bottom pricing more than makes up for the absence of retail ambiance. They sell by the pound at a whopping $1.79 per pound. Be still my beating heart.
The quality and selection of merchandise were surprisingly good. In my digging, I came across clothes in great condition by Banana Republic, J. Crew and other well known brands. Goodwill Outlet stores serve as the liquidation centers for Goodwill retail stores, so you will find a little bit of everything. I did come across some well-worn, sweat-stained, crust-covered garments, but that was the rare exception, not the rule.
The staff and fellow shoppers were super friendly. It was obvious many of the shoppers sell in the second hand market. They knew exactly what they were looking for and efficiently worked the bins. I overheard two millennial gals trading tips about renting booths at the local flea markets. By the time I got there at 11 am, many shoppers already had garbage bags full of goodies.
There’s a specific protocol to shopping at the Burlingame Goodwill Outlet:
- Bring your own shopping bags. Goodwill Outlet doesn’t provide shopping carts, baskets or bags. Shopping by the pound gets heavy. The pros bring big, black garbage bags.
- Every 15 minutes, they haul out new clothes in big cardboard bins to replenish the flat blue bins. Everyone helps to unload the cardboard bins.
- Give everyone their space. When a new cardboard bin comes out, some shoppers get excited and swoop in. Take turns and give each other a fair shot. There’s plenty to go around.
- Grab anything that looks like it may have potential. Once your bag or arms are full, move off to the side and evaluate your haul. Return your rejects to the blue bins.
It’s easy to get carried away because everything looks like a bargain when you shop by the pound. In a frenzy, I started stocking piling a bunch of kids clothes for Trevor. Never mind that they weren’t his size and it would take years for him to grow into them. Its only $1.79 a pound! I quickly sobered up and put it all back. At the end of my visit, I bought 3 items I knew I would wear with regularity.
I always wanted a puffer jacket but wasn’t willing to pay full retail. This jacket is by Halogen, a popular brand usually found at Nordstroms. I’m thinking of reselling this on Ebay in the winter for a nice little profit.
This blue dress is perfect for our upcoming vacation in Tahoe. I swear it’s brand new.
Check out this slouchy sweater. It’s hard to tell in this picture, but this sweater drapes beautifully on the body and has a luscious hand feel.
All this only cost me $3.76! And they take credit cards!
As pleased as I am with my score, this experience reminded me how wasteful our society can be. It’s one thing to read about how much the average American consumes and disposes, but it’s quite another thing to SEE it stacked sky high in a warehouse. Most of what I saw at the outlet was apparel, and it’s disturbing to see perfectly good clothes tossed aside.
If you are a hard core thrifter and enjoy the trill of the hunt, Goodwill Outlet is a great place to find some dirt cheap treasures. Bring hand sanitizer, wear comfortable clothes and give yourself plenty of time. If you are determined and have enough endurance, it will pay off.Follow my blog with Bloglovin