Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rummage-O-Rama: The Goodwill Outlet of Bellmawr, NJ

We shall pillage and we shall plunder. 

Following the complete flop that was last week's New Jersey thrift trip, I was hesitant to venture yet again to the Garden State for my secondhand fix. But I just knew it would be different this time around. So with friends in tow, we took to the Interstate and landed at the Goodwill Outlet. Each grabbing our own over-sized cart, we breathed in that familiar musky aroma of old and readied ourselves for some rummaging. 

Now, if you've never been to a Goodwill Outlet, there are a few things to know from the very beginning. 

  1. Short of a few pieces of furniture and individually priced books, this is a by-the-pound operation. 99 cents a pound, that is!
  2. Nothing is organized. It's just rows and rows of rolling totes filled with unsorted donations. 
  3. Stock is replenished either as-needed or on an hourly basis.
  4. When that stock is replenished, shit gets crazy. 
I find it's best knowing these key pieces of information beforehand, as to not be knocked flat on your ass by the thought of being elbow-deep in a pile of unsorted miscellany, or to not be LITERALLY knocked flat on your ass when the crowd of thrift shoppers pounces on the new merchandise being rolled onto the sales floor. 

Of course I warned my friends of this, especially since they had children with them. I mean, there's nothing worse than losing a kid in a pile of donations, or in a stampede of secondhand shoppers---Am I right? 

After fair warning, we began the rummage. At first tackling the same bins, then spreading out to divide and conquer, anything and everything we thought one of us would be remotely interested in went in someone's cart, to claim them as our own for now... and to better examine later for the final verdict of pass or purchase. 

Swarm! Swarm! 

Of course, putting an item in your cart should be enough to claim it. But as we all witnessed in the melee of merchandise being brought to the sales floor, things got ruthless. I'm quite sure that I saw items being moved from cart to cart, with the item's original finder oblivious in the confusion. And I'm sure glad no one was interested in my treasures. Because somebody would've been slapped.

MINE. Stay outta my cart. 

And what treasures did I unearth? A paisley and polka dot print tunic for fall, a gold and beige belt, a London tin for my assortment of tea bags, a book on antiques, The Dialect of Sex, a vintage telephone directory chock full of old timey advertisements that I'll be using for upcoming craft projects, a brand new laptop case for blogging on the go. Oh! And a Paris themed mug that was nestled under the paisley and polka dot tunic...for protection from the hustle and bustle of the crowd. 

So I made out pretty good. And my friends? They pillaged and they plundered. Toys, children's clothing, records, books, household goods, and more. It was a plentiful trip indeed. 


So...how did this Goodwill Outlet of Bellmawr, NJ compare to the faux-thrifting of Burlington County? No contest. I mean, look at that haul! However, Goodwill Outlet thrifting is not your typical thrift experience. And I can't stress that enough. In fact, I'll be doing a follow-up post to give you first time outlet shoppers some added advice.

Until then...happy thrifting. And guard those shopping carts with your life.

Have you survived a Goodwill Outlet?

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Anonymous said...

I look forward to your advice on outlet stores. I ventured into the Seattle outlet and was completely overwhelmed. I did pick up a hanging basket for my porch and an exercise ball but I didn't spend much time there.

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