The End of Goodwill Hunting

Posted by

During the pandemic I became addicted to searching for bargains on Goodwill’s website. The website is an online auction platform for Goodwill stores across the country. Each of the 150+ store locations on the website have similar merchandise with varying shipping and handling costs. When browsing the categories all of the merchandise is displayed as if it was coming from one location. Items are shipped from the store location that put up the listing. So, you have to click on the listing to see where the seller is located. You can select specific locations if you use the advanced search option. I find that useful for avoiding stores that have high handling fees. Since I live in the mid-west, I avoid listings from California, Florida, and Washington where the shipping fees are much higher. I also use the “Estimated Shipping” link in the listing to see how much I’ll have to pay to get the item shipped to me before I place a bid.

Lately, I feel like hunting for bargains at Goodwill (online and off-line) is a waste of time. People are bidding more than the items are worth. You can often find the same item on Ebay for less with free shipping. The price of shipping is a big deal breaker for me. Once you add the Goodwill handling fee, it’s hard to find anything that ships for less than $10. Some store locations set high starting prices and end up relisting the item at a lower price until someone bids on it. I’ve also seen items that got bids and then was relisted the next week. Either the person that won the bid didn’t pay, or there is a ghost bidder placing artificial bids to drive the price up.

The days of finding inexpensive goods at Goodwill for resale are over. This goes for the physical stores too. Prices have been increased in every category. Even if you specialize and are an expert in watches, video games, or electronics, there is always someone who knows the more valuable items and has the budget to out-bid everyone else. These are the people who wait until the last minute to bid and are willing to pay more than the item is worth just to win. Did I mention the “no return policy” if you win a Goodwill auction? At least on Ebay a buyer has some protection if a sale goes bad or an item doesn’t work.

Leave a Reply