A couple of days ago, I received an email from a fellow reseller in which an interesting question/topic was brought up. For privacy reasons, I won’t mention the person’s name or the exact message, but I do want to send a thank you to that person for sending that email – it’s been an interesting few days of contemplating on it.
Here’s a breakdown of the question: the reseller had mentioned to a thrift store employee that he was purchasing items with the intent to resell them for profit. While the employee didn’t directly say this, it was still pretty obvious that they were upset with the whole idea.
Have I had any similar experiences?
Honestly, no. On the contrary, the thrift store employees have been some of my biggest supporters. They’ve helped me out on many occasions by helping me fight for discounts (“small rip? missing buttons? 30% off!”), asking what particular brands I’m looking for, and even seeking me out in the store to notify me that a pair of Air Jordan’s or a Ralph Lauren jacket has just been placed on the sales floor. I can’t thank them enough for how kind they’ve been towards me.
Do they know that I’m a reseller? Yeah, they do. I didn’t tell them directly, but many of them figured it out when they started to see me day after day after day haha. It’s still not a big deal at my local thrift stores and it’s certainly not something that I feel that I should hide. In fact, there’s another reseller at one of the Goodwill who I’ve gotten to know pretty well (after seeing each other so many times we just assumed that we were both selling on eBay) and we talk openly about our successes and strategies in front of everyone – workers included.
I’m sure very thrift store has a different position on reselling – some like it and some don’t. I personally have no problem with what we do but I’ve spent the past few days thinking about possible reasons why the employee had an objection to it.
I was going to write one blog post on the entire subject but I think it would better as a series of post (I didn’t think I could write so much on the subject). Here’s Part I of potential reasons for objections:
Just a Bad Day
This was actually my first reaction/response to the email I received. Maybe that person was just having one of those days where nothing was going right and nothing sounds good, and the topic of reselling just so happened to be mentioned. This is a possibility but it doesn’t hurt to delve deeper into the topic.
Is It Wrong To Make a Profit on These Items
This is also another possibility. Some people have the belief that it’s wrong or greedy to try to make a profit. And if that’s the case then there’s nothing we can do about that; after all, everyone’s entitled to their own beliefs and opinions.
Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong – morally or otherwise – to try to make some profit on thrift store items. I’m not performing an illegal activity and I’m providing a service to buyers who are looking for these items. Reselling thrift store items is a skill and it takes time, so why shouldn’t we receive compensation for it?
Actually, I think the problem is not that WE’RE making profits , I think the problem is that THEY’RE missing out on theirs. Believe or not, thrift stores are trying to maximize their profits also and it must kill them to know that some of their items are worth A LOT more than they’re selling it for.
That’s why they’ve started to price some of their jeans for $129, that’s why some Goodwill’s stores have now started to sell on eBay, and that’s why some stores have now started to hire eBay Coordinators to maximize their online presence. And, truthfully, I don’t have a problem with any of that either. I think thrift stores do a lot of good in the community and they need money to fund these activities. But obviously they don’t have a problem making profit, so why should we?
Bottom line: Thrift stores set their prices, we buy them, and that should be the end of it. I don’t think they should have a say on how we decide to use them, whether it’s for personal use or to make a profit.
What about you? Have you experienced any resistance from employees about reselling their items for profit? Is this an activity that we should keep to ourselves whenever we’re treasure-hunting at a thrift store? What do you guys think? I’d love to hear some additional perspectives on this subject!
Thanks for letting me rant and I hope you’re having a great weekend