Are Thrift Shops Running Dry?

A few weeks ago I was at one of the larger local thrift shops in my city and everything looked normal on the main floor, mostly full of clothes. I headed downstairs and was shocked to find it almost empty. In the huge back room where they have always displayed furniture of all sorts were a few bed frames leaning against the wall, next to a rickety bookshelf and a ratty chair. I remembered this room being full of couches, chairs, kitchen table sets, end tables, desks, etc. for the last 20 years, at least. Not too long after that I stopped at a different shop and, again, there were plenty of clothes but hardly any furniture.

In the last few days I have been reading news reports about thrift shop sales going up while donations are decreasing. That did not make sense to me until I read this press release from the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops. Adele Meyer, Executive Director is quoted, “People who previously gave away clothing, household goods and furniture are seeking other ways to dispose of unwanted items during an economic pinch. Some donate merchandise to a Not For Profit thrift shop and take advantage of the tax deductions while helping a charity raise money. Others may choose to sell or consign merchandise at a local resale shop... turning their 'no longer needed' articles into CASH!"

Because of the current state of the economy people are taking items they might normally donate to a nonprofit thrift shop and are trying to sell it at resale and consignment shops. I would guess another reason for the donation slow down is people are holding onto and using items they would have normally donated because, again, of the economy. Both of the shops I wrote about above were nonprofit shops. Check out The Thrift Shopper to find charity-driven shops in your area.

Is this occurring in your area? Are you using consignment and resale shops to make some side money? Are you shopping more at thrift shops?

1 comment:

  1. It really doesn't look like business is bad at any of the thrift shops in my town. In fact, business is more than booming, especially on sale days at these places and even with garage sales going full force. I volunteer one day a week at one of these places, and I can tell you there's more merchandise in the back of the store than out front and plenty that keeps coming in weekly; we're even set to move to a larger building within the year. I've loved these places for years and would never again pay full price for clothing, furniture, you name it. I don't shop the consignment shops much as I manage to find what I want or need at the cheaper places.


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