Well, according to some people.
I had an interesting conversation on Twitter this week with someone who saw one of my eBay items tweeted:
Hey, I was just doing some innocent marketing and then...
Someone tagged me and tweeted, "I personally wouldn't do that. It's taking good clothes from someone who may need it for an interview, in my opinion."
My reply, "No, it's putting money into the economy, supporting a charity and being self sufficient."
Her reply," I cannot agree, given the purpose of the charity, in my opinion." Then she went on with several more tweets on her on feed about the situation....
"Well I think they are more than that. But anyway, you don't need to explain your position. I'm not donating to them anymore."
"There are people who are proud of buying something nice at places like
Goodwill then reselling it for multiples of what they paid for it"
"I personally have a problem with that. I think it's one of the reasons why you can't find anything but junk at Goodwill."
"And if you know people are just using Goodwill to find resellables, why
would you donate your stuff that you could re-sell yourself?"
"Instead of someone who needs a nice suit for an interview being able to
find one at a good price, some reseller's going to get it?"
"My days of donating my nice things to Goodwill and places like them are
over! It's a shame greedy folk ruin the whole idea of these places."
I would like to make my position (and that of most online resellers) on this issue very clear, here in this blog post. This topic comes up frequently so all you sellers out there who hear it, please point people here to read this post.
1. Our business as resellers fuels the economy - it keeps money circulating, empowers people, and we provide a service of matching up cast-off things with the people who want them.
2. Goodwill is NOT in the business of offering low-priced goods to the needy. Their focus is job training and education to empower people to be as self-sufficient as possible. Their mission statement is, "Goodwill works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals
and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to
opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential
through learning and the power of work." Read it here on the Goodwill website if you want to see for yourself. This is a common misconception - that Goodwill stores exist to sell items to low-income people.
3. Almost everything in a Goodwill store is DONATED by the general public. Goodwill purchases a few items from retailers like Target for resale. Their cost of inventory is practically nothing.
4. When resellers purchase from Goodwill (and many other charity thrift stores) we are HELPING that charity. We are putting money into their charity, that then helps provide job training and education for people who need it. I would love to know how many dollars eBay and Amazon sellers put into Goodwill Industries annually. I'm sure we would all be shocked. Goodwill wins!
5. Resellers who make money doing this business are being self-sufficient and using the resources around them wisely. I personally have helped several people get off government assistance by helping them start an eBay business including young mothers, temporarily disabled folks, and some people who just have had an unexpected life crisis and had to use government assistance. In my opinion, the eBay/Amazon resale business not only generates money for the reseller, but it takes some burden off of public assistance programs. Other resellers have improved their lives with the money generated by an at home eBay business - they have been able to leave dead-end jobs, spend time with young children, or care for an elderly parent or ill child. eBay is the perfect business for people suffering from illnesses like Fibromyalgia, MS, Crohn's Disease, or Cancer who can't hold a "regular" job because they don't know what kind of day they might have. With eBay, these people can work when they feel up to it and still generate an income to pay their bills. By shopping at Goodwill, people have learned how to use the resources convenient and available to them to make money in all kinds of different situations. The seller wins!
6. When we buy from Goodwill for resale, eBay makes money. They get their cut and our selling platform stays in business, so we can continue to enjoy the freedom and the lifestyle eBay selling provides. eBay wins!
7. We give a lot of business to the USPS when we use the mail system to ship our orders. Again, I would love to know how many dollars annually are pumped into the USPS because of online sellers. Again, I bet it is astounding. The USPS (government) wins!
8. Customers get what they want. I can't even tell you the number of feedbacks I have received over the last 10 years from buyers expressing their appreciation, thanking me for helping them replace a broken item, providing a hard to find item, providing a unique gift for someone, or finding an item similar to one they had in their childhood that was lost or destroyed. In fact, read the comments yourself. There are over 12,000 of them. We provide a valuable service and buyers love it. The customers win!
So, this is a win-win-win-win-win situation!
We live in a world of abundance. The Goodwill stores I shop in are gigantic - maybe 5,000 items on the sales floor at a time. There is no way on earth I am taking things away from anybody - I am a cog in the wheel of enterprise that helps a charity make money and a buyer get what they want. It is unfortunate that not everyone sees it this way, and more unfortunate that people aren't educated about the mission of Goodwill Industries. And I am sorry that people think that because of us, there is nothing but "junk" in the Goodwill stores. Ironically, "junk" is exactly what I am looking for and what sells the best online. Somebody else's trash is definitely my treasure.
And frankly, I think this person on Twitter is a tad bit late to the party. She is just now realizing that people do this? This statement puzzles me, "And if you know people are just using Goodwill to find resellables, why
would you donate your stuff that you could re-sell yourself?" Exactly - so, why not sell it yourself?
I would love your input on this commentary. And I think we need to stand together on this issue and educate the public that what we do is a good thing for a lot of people, not just ourselves. Please share this article on Facebook, Twitter, and in your groups and forums.
Podcast - Selling Vintage Perfumes on eBay
What to Buy at Thrift Stores to Resell on eBay
Top 5 Thrifting Tips for Resellers