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Is It Safe to Shop at Pay By the Pound Stores?

There are a lot of stories out there about people who have shopped at places like Goodwill Outlet and it can scare people away.

So, is it safe to shop at pay by the pound stores? Some stores will be worse than others, but for the most part, it is safe to shop at pay by the pound stores like Goodwill Outlet. Locations that have been known to have problems usually end up hiring security guards to help keep the peace.

If you’re new to pay by the pound thrifting, you might be a little worried about not knowing what to expect. You’ve probably been on Facebook Groups hearing about other people’s experiences and it’s scared you away a little bit.

What People Are Saying About Pay By the Pound Stores

Here are some comments from various people of Facebook sharing their experience with Goodwill Outlet. In fact, you’ll find just as many who love pay by the pound stores as who hate it.

Went to my first goodwill outlet digging thru bins – don’t think I will do that again, I can’t believe the way stuff is thrown into those bins, so many busted items….. do you remember a Tv series called “Dirty Jobs”? Melanie H.

It’s very true that stuff gets thrown in the bins and often broken. This is why we highly recommend wearing gloves because it can be dangerous. However, there is still a lot of opportunity. I would suggest that this person try going again at a different time or on a different day. A lot of stuff ends up broken because of the other shoppers who are throwing things around, so if you can get there when there aren’t as many people or a different group of people, it might be better.

I did bin shopping at a goodwill outlet today.What a dump, stuff was just thrown together, and a lot of it was just junk. There were a lot of people, and having stuff thrown on top of stuff you are trying to look at, was getting a bit annoying. The clothing was almost all little kids and womens stuff, a ton of unsellable old shoes, and just pointless crap. Not worth the hour and a half it took to get there, nor the 3 hours a searching through constantly tossed junk. I dont think I will be bin shopping again any time soon. though idid get a nice pile of the best clothes I could find for $7.00. Which would likely cost around $80 at a regular goodwill. Brian M.

This is how most stores are. Everything is thrown together… most stores separate books and clothing but otherwise, most stuff is mixed together and you have to dig. Unfortunately, this person ended up with a store that must not be very well managed, made worse by the fact that they had to travel a long distance to go. If they lived closer to the bins they would probably have a better experience. They’d be able to figure out the best days and times to go and when to find better items.

Went to a Goodwill Outlet store for the first time ever yesterday as it was near where I was at a meeting. It was, how shall I say this, not something I would ever want to do again…almost scary how people descend on the carts as they are wheeled out then frantically grab things and throw into their baskets…. Kathi G.

It true that it can get a little tense when it comes to new bins being put out. People who don’t like this atmosphere can stay back and wait until the crowd dies down before checking out the new merchandise. Most people still find amazing treasures because the people before weren’t taking the time to examine everything… they’re just throwing.

My husband and I went to the Goodwill Outlet for the first time last week. Pretty quiet, nothing crazy but found some good stuff. Purchased $22 worth. Have already sold $150 in just 3 items. Purchased a few things for ourselves in that total as well. Now he wants to go tomorrow morning. 😉 YAY! Heather K.

This is an example of someone who loved their experience and didn’t have very much trouble with other people there. It might take you a few trips to figure out when the best time is for you to go. If you’re fortunate enough to have multiple stores around you, try different locations to see if one is better than the other.

Tips for Staying Safe at Pay By The Pound Stores

Don’t go alone. Two people are always better than one. If you can find one or two more people to go with you, you can divide and conquer, watch out for each other, and keep an eye on your cart. If things are starting to get intense, alert the management, and stay out of the fight. It’s not worth it.

Wear gloves and keep clean. Its not uncommon to have knives, glass, and other sharps at the bottom of the bins (where all the other good stuff is). Make sure you’re wearing cut resistant gloves to protect your hands. When you’re all done, make sure you wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer as well.

Don’t bring children. Because of the intense nature of pay by the pound shopping, it’s best not to have children at the store. They get underfoot, you can’t keep your eye on them and shop, and they want to touch everything they shouldn’t. Unless they’re old enough to understand and help, they should stay home.

For more tips, check out our post “How to Be Safe at the Goodwill Outlet”.

Related Questions

What is the difference between Goodwill Outlet and retail? Items at Goodwill Outlet stores are sold by the pound whereas items at Goodwill retail stores are sold by the piece for a set price. Learn more about what makes the stores different here.

When is the best time to go to Goodwill Outlet? Best times are different at each store and you need to visit the store a couple times and talk to the staff to find out when the best day and time is to go.

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