Thrify Tuesday: Selling Online With Thrift Shop Finds, Pt. 3 ~ Is it Ethical?

Back in my first post on the topic, one of our readers left this comment:

“I love your family blog, but I can’t say I’m 100% on board with this “resell thrift goods” trend. I have a close friend who scours thrift shops for antiques and has made herself a lucrative online resale business (she resells on Etsy). She has to watch her profits though…for tax purposes. I suppose if you’re really broke, it’s better than other ways of making money. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but it seems like a rotten thing to do to the Goodwill’s and Salvation Army’s of the world. It’s no different than the antique dealers who prey on block sales looking for housewives eager to give away grandma’s best crystal for pennies on the dollar. $40 profit for used curlers is unthinkable! Those who engage in this kind of “at-home” business should consider giving some of those profits back to those organizations.”

 It’s nice, btw, to have people who love the blog still feeling free to take issue with us on things. The discussion opportunities are fabulous! :)
 I answered immediately in the comments, but it’s a big enough question (and I’ve thought of more I wanted to say) that I decided to dedicate a post to it.
 I think we are on somewhat dangerous ground when we start trying to decide how much of a profit is “too much” ~ especially for other people.  Why IS $40 unthinkable (although, between eBay fees and postage, it was definitely not a $4o profit)? I don’t think there’s a logical line to be found for deciding a certain profit amount is okay, while another is not. Someone in another state wanted those curlers very badly and couldn’t find them where they lived. Am I supposed to send the curlers for free? Not sell them at all? Leave them without the curlers? How much of a profit *is* too much? Where do we draw the line? Where is our authority for drawing the line? Is it wrong to buy books at library booksales to resell on Amazon? Is it wrong to buy children’s toys at a yard sale and take them to a children’s consignment store? Is it wrong to buy ingredients at a grocery store, where profit margins are very tight, and bake cookies to sell for a profit? If I knew of a Christian brother or sister who was in need of something that I had and I decided to sell it at a profit rather than share it with them, then there are some heart issues I probably need to address, but curlers hardly fall into the Need To Have category. The market price of these particular curlers is in the $30-$50 range; that’s how much consumers are willing to pay for these items. No one is forcing them to do it.
Dangerous ground also happens (I think) with the argument of “if you’re really broke, it’s better than other ways of making money.” This is perilously close to rationalization. If it’s ethical to make money one way when you’re really broke, it had better be ethical to make money that way in *any* other situation in life. Being poor does not entitle one to a new set of ethics.
As for being a rotten thing to do to thrift shops, I (obviously, via these posts ;-) ) disagree. Goodwill’s stated purpose is “to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.” By spending my money there, I am helping with that. They do not have the resources to track down every valuable item and place it in an international marketplace (although they do also sell some things online). One decades old magazine I sold to someone in Ireland (for $10) ~ our Goodwill couldn’t reach that person. That book may have ended up in the trash if no one in my town wanted it… Goodwill could have lost a sale on it, and several other things I’ve purchased.
I also do additional work that the Goodwill staff do not have time for. Along with the research, I spend quite a bit of time cleaning and organizing my finds. I sold some toy food for $18; it came from a mixed bag of play food. There were about ten other pieces in that bag that required a lot of sorting and studying… some of them were worthless and I just threw them away, some I kept for my kids to play with, some I kept as a gift for others, and so on. The Goodwill staff do not have time to do that work for everything that comes through their doors. Another stuffed animal I got required lots of cleaning before he was worth what I sold him for. Is my research and work time useless? I am not just getting compensated for the item; I’m getting compensated for my time and effort.
As for giving back, I definitely appreciate the added ability to share financially with others because of my earnings. I have had money to help in several situations recently that I wouldn’t have had before. I don’t donate financially to GW and SA, just because I know of better places to do it, but I frequently donate items to them. And I plan to continue buying 90% of my household goods from them. Selling on eBay or not selling on eBay, they will always have my business.  :)
Taxes: YES. It is important to keep records for taxes. Right now I’m using an excel spreadsheet taht keeps track of my costs (buying cost, shipping cost, eBay fees, PayPal fees, etc), although I’ve heard very tempting things about EasyAuctionsTracker
whew. That was a ramble and a half. More next week! :)
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30 Comments

  1. Posted March 26, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m so excited to get to the thrift store sometime this week and have a look around! I’m glad you posted this about the ethics of it. I have always loved shopping at thrift stores and would still be buying things for myself as well. This fairness vs profit thing still trips me up sometimes, but I’m a public schooled oldest child, so people pleasing is my game ;)

  2. Posted March 26, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Really? People are “interesting” to say the least.

    I kept our family afloat by selling online.

    I’ve also heard people say it’s immoral to use coupons–once in awhile you have to just roll your eyes and say, “whatever”.

  3. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Interesting comment, but I agree with you. You didn’t steal the item, and you didn’t extort someone out of money. Isn’t that what capitalism is all about?

  4. Nikki Bull
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    It is consignment sale season here, we have them 2 times a year, spring/fall. I’m sure you all may be familiar with them, but they have just really caught on. My best friend, who, by the way, has been doing thrift sale scouring/reselling on Ebay for years, and I hit up our local GW Outlets where clothing is 85 cents a piece!! We find huge brand names like Gymboree, BabyGap, etc and resell at consignment sales along with our own children’s stuff. These things are obviously at the end of the line since it’s at the outlets. I see nothing wrong with reselling, one man’s trash is another’s treasure and it’s obviously been donated because someone else doesn’t want to be bothered with it. Same with yard sales. Fill bags for $5? I’ll resell in fall or next spring. But it is a lot of work, sorting, digging, washing, removing stains. Not to mention containing my 3 yr old and keeping her happy, lol!

  5. Posted March 27, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Did you decide not to do the linkies anymore?

  6. Charlotte Patrick
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    The thing that’s being sold here is a service (the brokerage function of matching the scarce item to a willing buyer in an economic environment of imperfect information). The value of the transaction is extremely subjective and truly known and understood best via the process of a buyer and seller reaching a consensus. We should keep in mind that perceived value is different for everyone. We can create some really tangled webs when we start to suggest that our perception of economic value trumps someone elses (which is basically what the charge of ‘unethical’ effectively does in this instance).

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      You’re so right. Also being sold – knowledge. Knowledge and time are commodities that can be exchanged to the mutual satisfaction of both parties.

      As to perceived value, and how it is totally subjective- We once set up shop at a flea market. A potential customer saw a flag in the back of our van, and asked to buy that. My husband didn’t want to sell it. The buyer offered two or three different sums, and my husband said no, because he didn’t want to sell it because he valued the flag more than the amount offered. When the buyer offered enough money that we could buy five more flags just like it from the same store, my husband recognized that he now valued that amount more than that specific flag.

      I once searched for a book to replace a favorite book from my childhood, a gift from my uncle that had been destroyed in a flooded basement. The book was republished many times, with exactly the same content, even illustrations. Only the covers were different. I only wanted one with exactly the same cover. “My” cover cost about 4 times more than all the other editions, mainly because of the nostalgia value- there were just more people in my age group looking for that cover at that time. We werem’t buying a book, we were buying nostalgia, sentiment, childhood. That made the red covered book worth more to us than the blue, green, or orange covered books that were otherwise identical. There was nothing unethical about those who had those books making their prices as high as the market would bear.

  7. Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I think a lot of people deep down think jobs are commodities created by large businesses and the government for the provision of others. Every job is simply one person doing something for other people that they are unable or unwilling to do for themselves. The only unethical jobs are those doing things nobody should be doing in the first place.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      I agree with you. But one additional problem is that, without realizing it, too many people believe that one thing nobody should be doing in the first place is making a profit, and especially not a substantial profit.

  8. Posted March 27, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    So refreshing to hear these things appropriately defended. The misconceptions about economics can be so frustrating! Enjoy your profit :-)

  9. Elena
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I think the other way that people go astray (besides wanting to determine what is an appropriate amount of profit) is by misunderstanding the purpose of the thrift store. Goodwill, Salvation Army, and various local thrift stores do not exist for the purpose of clothing the poor. Their goal is not to sell nice things for cheap so poor people can have expensive items. Their purpose, generally, is to employ people (at least, that is Goodwill’s purpose, along with that of our local thrift store). The more you spend in the store, the more people they can employ. They set their prices, and when you buy their stuff, their business model can succeed.

    If you buy a product that has no moral stigma attached to it (say, for example, curlers), there’s no reason in the world why you couldn’t sell it for $1 million, if someone was willing to pay that much.

    • Jema
      Posted April 2, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      There is a huge difference between Goodwill and Salvation Army as well. Goodwill’s profits go to Goodwill. They are not a charity, and do not claim to be. They do provide jobs, and goods to those who cannot afford to go elsewhere for them.

      Salvation Army, on the other hand, is a 501c3. They ARE a charity, as is Purple Heart. Their ‘profits’ go to further their charity work, whether it is for shelters, feeding the homeless, etc. Purple Heart’s profits go toward providing “direct service and emergency assistance to veterans in VA and Military hospitals, and also helps veterans´ dependents and survivors” [from their website].

      Goodwill has every right to make a profit and do with it what they will . . . but I feel they don’t do enough to correct people’s assumption that they are a charity and lump them in with Salvation Army.

  10. Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Amen! I love children’s literature but many of the books I want to include in our library are out of print. I don’t have the time, energy (or frankly, the desire) to scour thrift stores to find them so I buy them used online. The prices I pay are often comparable to what I would spend on a new book (that would probably be much lower quality) but I am love being able to get them instantly without the work involved. If the seller happened to pick it up for $.10 at a garage sale or thrift store, good for them! Of course, I also see some of the books I would want selling for $30+ dollars and I have to pass but either someone else is willing to buy them at that price, or maybe eventually, the price will drop and I’ll get them then. Nothing unethical about that.

  11. Stacy
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Agreed. If SA or GW had the time, desire and wherewithal, THEY would sell the items on ebay themselves. I pay the asking price for things at Goodwill (although I’m prone to trying to bargain at garage sales), so both of us are fulfilling our parts of that relationship, since GW sets the prices. I’ve noticed that the prices of some things at GW have gone up in general lately, but then I simply don’t buy those things unless I know it will be worth it. I also have donated at least as much as I’ve bought, and I buy for myself as well as to resell.

  12. jdavidb
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s no different than the antique dealers who prey on block sales looking for housewives eager to give away grandma’s best crystal for pennies on the dollar.

    Why is there any question about either of these activities? They are no different or less ethical than mining gold or oil out of the ground and reselling it. They are no less ethical than being a goodwill store.

    People who find and resell things serve others. They create wealth.

    Here’s a wonderful example from a couple of years back:
    The Bippolo Seed, and other Lost Stories, by Dr. Seuss

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted March 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      I always wonder how those who think it’s unethical to search for great bargains at yard sales reconcile this ethical standard with Christ’s story of the Pearl of great Price.

  13. Posted March 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Re Elena’s description of how the Goodwill etc. work: some thrift stores do pay their employees, but others, such as the Mennonite Central Committee store where I volunteer, pay only the managers; all the rest of the drivers, cashiers, pricers, etc. are volunteers. As much of the money as possible goes back into MCC’s international work.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted March 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Some thrift stores also use the thrift store itself as job training, where, again, the money they bring in is nice, but it’s still not their most valued function. The one nearest us works both as a fund-raiser for an agency that assists the adult mentally disabled, but also as both job training and as sort of rehab, something productive for their clientele to do.

      Even when their main goal is to make money, they receive their items by donation. I wonder if those who think it’s unethical to resell an item at a substantial profit also think it is unethical for thrift stores to make substantial profits from their donors if somebody unknowingly donates something the donor thinks is worthless that a thrift store worker realizes is actually worth a thousand dollars, and prices accordingly?

  14. Posted March 27, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I have a question for you. Do you typically group items together in a kind of lot sale, or do you list each item separately? I was given about 15 vintage sewing patterns for children’s clothes that I can’t ever really see myself using. I thought about listing them on ebay, but I’m not sure if I should list each one separately or in several small lots or one large lot.

    • Susan
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Melissa – I have an Etsy shop in which I primarily sell vintage sewing patterns. Children’s patterns in unused or good condition are always a great seller for me, and I list them individually. A very useful resource for determining the value of vintage sewing patterns is Vintage Patterns Wiki at http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page – often you will find links to patterns for sale along with detailed descriptions of the patterns themselves.
      If you want to take a look at my shop, search Miss32ACT on Etsy – and if you have any more questions about reselling patterns, feel free to contact me through my shop!

  15. Megan Volmer
    Posted March 28, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    In our local newspaper it was published that the CEO of Goodwill in NC which includes about a third of the state makes over $400K a year and is wife over half that. I am not against anyone making money, but Goodwill is run like a business and someone is making an enormous amount of money. I would never feel sorry for them!

  16. Kristin H.
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Boy did this ever kick up a hornet’s nest! After reflecting on this more (read: vigorous debating with my husband, who by the way is 100% on board with you), I think my beef with it might simply be the changing thrift “culture”. It’s hip to be thrift. 20 years ago shopping at Goodwill = you were poor. At least in our area of the midwest. Goodwill has since changed it’s image to cater to the dwindling economy, and now suburban empty nesters with money to spend flock there, hoping to plump their wardrobes with Macy’s overruns. Goodwill IS a bad example as Megan points out – they’re not lacking for funds. I should have made my argument with regards to church sponsored/Mom & Pop shops who use their MODEST profits to support their needs or give it back to the community. Yes the items in their stores are priced to sell. And they don’t have the same costs as you (hunting, pecking, shipping), but they do have the cost of sifting through piles of garbage – literally – and must pay for weekly dumpster service just to get rid of the volume of broken toys, appliances, recalled housewares, etc. They could afford to increase their prices just based on that!

    I’m not opposed to reselling items. I’ve sold items that we bought brand new and used them within an inch of their life. Or, if we received something as a gift and used it to its potential, I asked the giftor if it was OK to resell it and put the money towards specific needs. Or if someone gives us something for free, and it doesn’t fit our lifestyle I give it away in return – not try to make a profit off of it. When I do resell, it is with the hopes that we at least get some of our money’s worth out of it, not to MAKE money.

    When you get into the stay-at-home resale business, you risk committing sins of appetite. It’s all about money. You walk past a thrift window, or spot an antique at a garage sale and think, ‘I could get good cash for that!’ Your hands sweat, your adrenaline rushes – not because you found matching pieces to your great grandmother’s wedding china – but because you can make some cash (whether it’s to buy a new flat screen TV or pay for your child’s medical expenses). Another example: you and a single mother are eyeing the same toaster. You want to make a profit off of it. She desperately needs it. She figures you’re in dire financial straits as well – but is of the charitable mindset – and forfeits the toaster to you. You’re going home to make a double profit and she has to walk or take the bus to other thrift stores to find another toaster.

    When I leave our goods with non profit resale organizations, I envision a single mother or migrant family walking away with nice clothes/housewares to USE rather than turn around make and profit on. I’m still not convinced.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted March 29, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Kristin, shopping at thrift stores was hip when I was in college in portland, Oregon back in 1980-1982.
      And I can’t find any biblical basis to believe that it’s wrong to make money, whether you make it from selling free blackberries that you pick or from reselling something that somebody gave me. When I give somebody something, I *give* it to them- they can do what they like with their own property and it would be a sin for me to begrudge them the right to resell at a profit if that is what they wanted to do. I do not give with strings attached, and I wouldn’t assume the worst about others and presume that they were giving gifts with strings attached, either.

      I also think you need to be careful about judging others by your weaknesses. I have been reselling things for 15 years. I have never found myself with sweaty hands or adrenaline rushes over a good find, although sometimes I do get a big grin on my face. But even if I did, I am unable to understand why it’s okay to be excited over finding a matching cup to Grandma’s teaset, but it’s not okay to be excited about finding a way to bring extra income to my family with that same teacup.

      I also have been that poor person shopping at a thrift store for something I couldn’t afford new. We have been more poor than you probably can imagine- a single mother on one income? We’ve been a family of three with no income and significant debt. Yet I have never begrudged somebody else buying something first with their own money. I don’t even understand that way of thinking. And a toaster? We’ve made toast in the oven and on the stovetop when we’ve been without a toaster. It’s not, strictly speaking, a need. Neither are the curlers that the HG mentioned before which you criticized.

      You seem to feel that making a profit is a sin, at least through the buying and selling of second hand items (is it okay if I buy them wholesale and resell them? What’s the difference? What profit margin crosses the line from okay to sin for you?) and I can’t find any basis for your conclusions. The standards you are using for measurement are utterly obscure to me. I just can’t follow the logic.

      And here’s my concern- I am not offended or hurt, I just find this baffling. But where you are picturing this hypothetical single mom who can’t have a toaster because I bought one at the thrift store instead of at Walmart when i could afford Walmart, I am picturing young moms with young families in economic difficulties, such as I have experienced, who are being unnecessarily condemned and guilt tripped out of a totally ethical way of bringing in some much needed income that would help their family pay bills and put food on the table. You just don’t know what others are using those profits for, and it’s not your place to judge. One year I donated the profits of every used book I sold to a family where the husband was out of work. Others are paying medical bills (my grandson’s medication costs each month alone are astronomical, and the medical bills for his ongoing treatment are not insignificant, and all midwife costs come right out of my daughters’ pockets). Last year my husband was out of work, and then his income was cut by 60%, but we had committed to paying a minister and his family a certain amount each month just before my hsuband lost his job. Reselling second hand items helped us continue that commitment. Many people resell items to get their families out of debt, a very biblical pursuit. I am really saddened to think of some sensitive young mom being frightened away from bringing in some extra money this way.

    • TheHeadGirl
      Posted March 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the comment back, Kristin. I had to smile at the bit about vigorously debating it with your husband… Strider and I have had a few of those debates too, and they’re fun. :) (the most recent one, fyi, was about whether we could fit 12 children into our house. he said no, I disagreed).

      Before I get into the meat of the comment, I wanted to make a brief note about the “thrift culture” thing you said. Honestly, I think it just depends on who and where you are. I know well-to-do people who love to go to thrift shops for the reasons you said. I know well-to-do people who won’t darken a thrift shop door. I know people who are poor and yet ignore the options thrift shop provides. I know people who are poor and who embrace thrift shops. And I know people in between. I am a person in between. I think it’s a strong point of thrift shops AND their consumers that so many different socio-economic groups find what they need at resale shops.

      Now on to what (I think) is your bigger beef: “When you get into the stay-at-home resale business, you risk committing sins of appetite. It’s all about money. You walk past a thrift window, or spot an antique at a garage sale and think, ‘I could get good cash for that!’ Your hands sweat, your adrenaline rushes – not because you found matching pieces to your great grandmother’s wedding china – but because you can make some cash
      Honestly, you risk committing sins with many other things in life, things that are totally neutral. To make cookies can mean risking committing gluttony. To give to the poor can put you at a risk for the sin of pride. To fall in love with someone can put you at risk for the sin of idolatry, loving them above God. et cetera. If we avoided everything because there was a risk of falling into sin over it, we’d have to avoid life itself. Why? Because WE are the source of the temptations, not the things we are doing.

      On the bit saying getting cash compared to finding missing pieces of china: It’s not actually all about the cash. My profits from my first month of eBay sales? I didn’t go all Ebenezer Scrooge on them (although I don’t think there’s a reason to criticize putting the money in savings for a rainy day). I used them to buy vegetable seeds for our garden this summer. Personally, I think that planting tomatoes with my children exceeds the value of any antique china, so if I have to sell antique china to do that, so be it. And if I get excited at finding something that I can sell to buy more gardening supplies, again, so be it.

      your other example: Another example: you and a single mother are eyeing the same toaster. You want to make a profit off of it. She desperately needs it. She figures you’re in dire financial straits as well – but is of the charitable mindset – and forfeits the toaster to you. You’re going home to make a double profit and she has to walk or take the bus to other thrift stores to find another toaster.
      This is based on several assumptions. For one, I happen to know of several single mothers who managed to stay home with their children instead of needing to go back to work because they sold on eBay. Maybe that single mother is eyeing that toaster because she wants to sell it for a $40 profit online so she can have a tank of gas for the week.
      You’re also assuming that I’m uncharitable simply because I sell online. How do you know I wouldn’t give the toaster up? And, honestly, in all my years of going to thrift shops, I’ve never been in a situation where two people were eyeing something at the same time. I see an item, I pick it up, and take it. I’m not snatching it out of someone’s hands.
      and a a minor side note… I also wouldn’t consider a toaster a need. We don’t have one and haven’t had one in our almost four years of marriage (my husband would dearly like that to change at some point, but he concedes it’s not a need . ;)

      And finally: When I leave our goods with non profit resale organizations, I envision a single mother or migrant family walking away with nice clothes/housewares to USE rather than turn around make and profit on.
      That’s a nice vision, but so are these:
      * a single mother supporting herself off of eBay
      * a young family trying to buy some extras (organic garden seeds, gifts for family members) and using their eBay profits for that
      * an entrepreneurial teenager trying to learn some business skills
      * a retired couple trying to make ends meet
      * a family working to save up for a vacation
      * or just an average guy supporting his family with a resale store online. As Mama Squirrel said, business is business. If you want to ensure that your things are only going to the people you think deserve them, perhaps you could donate them to a women’s shelter directly, or see if anyone in your church needs them (our congregation has an e-mail list and very frequently people send e-mails saying they’re getting rid of this or that, does anyone want it?), or holding a yard sale and donating the profits directly to a thrift shop you like.

      • TheHeadGirl
        Posted March 29, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        duuuuude. Didn’t even know the DHM was responding and we commented within 15 minutes of each other. That’s a little freaky.

        • Posted April 3, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          The really freaky part is that you both said more or less exactly the same thing! Made me laugh.

  17. Mama Squirrel
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    In most cases, what you’d be buying to make some cash out of is NOT the same stuff as the needy person is looking for, not basic needs stuff, so I don’t see the problem there. As you pointed out, thrift stores are glutted with toasters etc.,

    Also, yes, if you have a reselling business of any kind, yes, you’re happy when something good turns up. It’s no different from an art dealer, or someone with an antiques shop or a used bookstore, or even an (honest) used car dealer. You’re not “grabbing” stuff to stash it away and gloat over it; you buy it with the intention of finding a customer who also wants a whatsit. You can sell wild berries or mushrooms that anybody could go find for free, but most people won’t bother. Mary Anning picked up seashells by the seashore. The Proverbs 31 lady happened to notice that the merchants needed sashes. In every case–you use your business sense to find and turn over the things people want, and try not to get stuck with stuff nobody wants. That’s business.

  18. Posted April 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Just revisiting this discussion:)
    I was a single mother for 7 years on a very tiny (VERY ) income. Selling thrift finds online enabled me to be a stay at home homeschool mom.

    And as for the toaster–personally I’ve never seen very cheap appliances at the thrift store. Toasters here would be at least $4.00 and how do I know it’s going to work well? Walmart sells brand new ones for less than $20 and probably less than $15.

  19. Brenda
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with you 100%. If Goodwill or anyone else sells an item for the amount they are asking for it, then what the buyer does with it is of no concern to anyone, as I can see. As you said, at least they sold it rather than it being thrown away. I never understood the mentality that it is wrong to give someone their asking price, and then have them acting as though “you made money off me”. No, you gave them what they wanted and it is now yours to use or dispose of, as you see fit.

  20. Maggie
    Posted April 27, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Used bookseller here: I have a brick and mortar store and for various reasons have chosen NOT to sell books online at this time. Sometimes I have “oddball” things that aren’t selling for me so I reduce my price. If someone purchases one of those books at my reduced price, do I worry that they’re going to go home and profit by selling it on Amazon? No. I could have taken the time to sell it online myself, and I chose not to. If someone else wants to take the time to research, price, and sell the item at a profit, good for them. I want my customers to be happy about buying books from me, but I don’t really care if they’re happy because they want the book, or they’re buying it for a friend, or because they’re stocking their online shop.

    On an unrelated note, I have noticed that thrift store prices in more populated areas have risen quite a bit over the past several years, and I believe people buying items for resale may be a factor. If that’s the case, they are *helping* the thrift stores’ bottom lines by driving up demand, and therefore prices, for certain items.

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