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What are the Rules for Shopping at Pay By the Pound Stores?

Every store is going to have its own variation of rules. However, there are a few general guidelines that are consistent among all pay by the pound stores. Here is a general overview of what you can expect for rules at your local pay by the pound thrift store.

Make sure that you check your store rules when you arrive to make sure you understand what is expected… a Goodwill Outlet in New York will have different rules than a Goodwill Outlet in California.

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Grab a Cart

Rules on carts are different and preferences are different for everyone. Some people prefer to skip the cart, others want to push a cart around.

The Goodwill Outlet in Des Moines, Iowa does not allow you to use any other bags or carts than the ones they provide in the store. You have to get a cart or carry things with your arms.

Other pay by the pound thrift stores have you grab a cart when you get there and park it along the edge of the building (along the wall). That is your cart and no one is allowed to shop out of it. At these stores, you are not allowed to bring the cart with you through the aisles. The reason for this is it gets too crowded around the bins when everyone has their carts However, you can carry a bag with you, pick the items you want, and then dump them into your cart. I would suggest bringing a sheet or blanket to cover your cart… this will help to keep people from shopping your cart and also help you identify your cart from everyone else’s when you come back to it.

Don’t Shop Out of Other People’s Carts

When someone grabs a cart, everything they put in it is there’s. Whether they are pushing the cart around the store or it is parked along the wall, you cannot pick items out of someone else’s cart.

If someone takes something out of their cart and throws it back into the bins, then it’s free game and you can pick it up. You can only shop out of the bins, nothing else.

In fact, if you know someone took something out of your cart, just tell the managers. They will pull the surveillance video, find out who did it, and kick them out of the store for doing it.

Stay Behind the Line

Most stores have a line that you must stand behind while they are changing out bins. Other stores might only switch out one row at a time, which means you just stand as far back from the row their changing as possible. You are not allowed to go crazy and start attacking bins. You must stand back and wait.

Some stores will trade out half of the store at a time. Make sure that you stand back and follow the rules or you will be reprimanded by the staff and other shoppers.

Don’t Dig Until the Associate Says GO

When all the bins are set and the wheels are locked, an associate will give you the go-ahead to attack the bins. Do not attempt to touch any bins or merchandise until the signal is given. This is another area where you can quickly get yourself in trouble. Pretty much every store is going to be the most strict about this rule and don’t be surprised if you get kicked out for not following this rule.

This rule is put in place so that everyone stays safe while the bins are being moved in and out. It’s also a good rule so that everyone has an equal opportunity to get the good stuff. It can get a little intense and aggressive just because everyone is after the same thing, so be aware of your surroundings and be respectful to those around you to keep the tension down.

No Scooping and Hoarding

Many stores will have a rule about not scooping. Scooping is when the store puts out a bin of purses or clothing and someone just scoops up a big arm full and dumps it in their cart. Then the leisurely go through their pile and put back what they don’t want.

This isn’t fair for other shoppers. You should only be putting clothes or other items in your cart that you are legitimately interested in. Don’t just grab and dump. These rules are put in place for the safety and fairness for all shoppers. By taking advantage of the opportunity to buy items so cheap and by the pound, you’re making it difficult for these stores to keep offering this experience.

Online Goodwill Outlet Transactions in the Store

If you find something that someone else was also hoping to grab, don’t be surprised if they offer to buy it from you.

You are free to resell your finds right off the bat, just make sure you are off the premises. Some stores might not have this rule and some might, but just to avoid any issues with the establishment, it would be better to make the transaction in the parking lot.

Final Thoughts on These Rules

In the end, just treat people like you want to be treated. If other people aren’t following rules or their being ornery and rude, just stay away from them. None of this stuff is worth getting in a fight over. Move to a different bin and just keep digging.

Just follow general courtesies… be respectful, don’t toss stuff on top of people, don’t be rude or cut people off.

By following the rules and treating other people with respect, you’ll find the pay by the pound thrift stores are great places to find really good merchandise for cheap. Shopping these stores is a really fun experience if everyone minds their manners and plays nice.

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