A Thrifter's Dream
Pay by the Pound for Your New Wardrobe
BY MARINA HALLIN
Last week I bought a sports bra, a good pair of Levis and a Ralph Lauren sweater for $1.39, all of which would have cost more than $200 in a retail store or $50 in a Goodwill store.
I felt like I scored the best deal of my life buying clothes by the pound, not by the price tag. I weighed my clothes at checkout after shopping at the Goodwill Thrift Outlet in Salinas (1566 Moffett St.). When things don’t sell in regular Goodwill stores, items are then shipped to the Goodwill Outlet for last chance selling before it’s shipped out to its final destination, Africa.
I arrived at the outlet when it opened at 8 a.m. I was not early to the game; there were already dozens of people there (mostly farmers and field workers) looking for the best deal on clothes, electronics, old movies, shoes, and a bunch of other random knick knacks. The prices are as follow: Homegoods/ Textiles/ Clothing/Shoes/Purses under 25 lbs: $1.39/per pound, Homegoods/Textiles/Clothing/Shoes/Purses over 25 lbs .99 cents per pound, Electronics and Glassware: 69 cents per pound. The Outlet has about 120 rolling bins filled all kinds of gadgets and gizmos. Employees would wheel a new one out every 20 minutes or so, and would wait about 20 seconds before they’d say, “Ok, shop!”
As each new bin would get pushed out, people would swarm around them and start picking apart the pile like hyenas on a dead giraffe. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, the determination and willpower it took to sort through mountains of clothing was entertaining to watch. It was also a humbling experience for this was a fun day trip for me, and if I wound up with some cool things at the end, it was just a bonus.
It was a little sad to see how many people had no choice but to shop there based on their incomes. People come from all over to shop at the Outlet for all different kinds of reasons. One woman told me she starting making a living shopping at the Outlet, scavenging for designer things and reselling them on Ebay, Depop, Poshmark, or in person reselling and bargaining. She told me she and many other people will rent out booths at flea markets or the local Santa Cruz Antique Fair on the first Sunday of every month. She said she had been doing this for 27 years, and started thrifting when the Outlet was located in Santa Cruz.
Her thrifting claim to fame was finding 10 sets of brand new vintage Ralph Lauren bedding. As far as my shopping experience went, I did not find a $5,000 treasure like that. However, I did score a vintage Ralph Lauren sweater along with a pair of cool Levis, and a hardly touched Lululemon sports bra. The Outlet is a fun experience if you’ve got some time to kill or if you fancy yourself a fun little treasure hunt. If you go, I recommend bring some reusable bags (they don’t allow them but no one checks and it’s cool to be
environmentally conscious, and bring gloves as some of the stuff is a bit dirty. I see it like a game of luck. If you want to find the good stuff, you should go often, be patient, and enjoy the hunt. Happy Hunting!