Sunday, November 17, 2013

Who Needs A Mall When You Have Goodwill?

When we moved to Cookeville four years ago, my daughters suffered from mall withdrawal. They loved Briarwood in Ann Arbor. I only liked it for the Dollar Show, which didn't last long there, and Olga's. (best restaurant in the world) It's a good place to walk around and feel like you got some exercise while window shopping. That's almost all I ever did at the mall. Overpriced specialty shops with sales people lurking over your shoulder asking if they can help, just annoys me. I'm much more comfortable at the Cookeville Goodwill.

The best Goodwill shopping experience includes using the restroom before you get there and not being in a hurry.  The restroom is dirtier and smellier than the worst gas station restroom you've ever been in. Unfortunately, I drink a lot of coffee and water, so I usually have to visit the cesspool. I try not to breathe and hope the toilet has enough water pressure to flush. Sometimes it doesn't. You need plenty of time to rummage through the racks, keeping an eye out for the half price items, which are color coded and change weekly, or stuff with store tags still on them. That's when you hit the jackpot. If the shirt you like has the right color tag, plus still has the original store tag on it, then you basically won the Lotto. 

Some items are overpriced. Purses are $5.99 and up. The kitchen items, like plastic containers are too high. Most of them should be a quarter or fifty cents. A dollar for what is basically a butter bowl is too high. The furniture in the back room is way overpriced. I think they assume people will wait for the first Saturday of the month, when the whole store is half off, to buy the furniture. That day is only for the seasoned, brave, bargain shoppers who don't mind kids screaming and running around, people blocking aisles and waiting in a long line to check out. I bought a quilt rack on that day that was marked $12.00 so I paid $6.00. It's sturdy, not scuffed up and looks great. The original price was probably at least $40.00.

I only like to purchase clothes that are half off, but good luck finding the right color tags. Yesterday the color was yellow. Jeans are regularly $7.49. The only jeans I saw with yellow tags were elastic waist or so worn out nobody will pay $3.75 for them. I actually bought a sweater for myself and paid the full $5.99. It just looked like me. It fit well and I splurged. I thought about putting it up for Christmas, but it's already washed and hanging in my closet. I also got an unopened box of Christmas cards. The price on the back of the box was $14.95. I paid $2.00.

I like that Goodwill employs people who would otherwise not have jobs. They are actually nice folks too. There's the little lady who you hear before you see. She's loud, but I don't mind because she's happy and talking to everyone. There's the man in the wheelchair who sits at the front door. I've never seen him actually work, but if they want to pay him to sit at the door and smile, then I'm good with that. I had never seen the sweet girl who checked me out yesterday. She started talking about her babies, when she saw I had a few newborn outfits. Somehow we got on the breast vs. bottle topic. Hmmm. There's a special needs girl who walks around fiddling with clothes on the racks and she knows every word to every song. (They do play good music in there.) She sings loud and surprisingly well! 

Once you leave with your treasures, you kind of need a shower, or hand sanitizer at the very least. It's worth it though. Why pay full retail price, when you can get something comparable for a fraction of that cost? And you've helped some good people stay employed. 

The girls can go to Nashville and be mall rats. I'm going to stay right here in Cookeville at Goodwill.