I have a love hate relationship with thrift stores. This may be due in large part to the fact that thrift stores never cease to amaze me with their seemingly endless supply of either don't give a fuck, or don't know their ass from a hole in the ground. You may already be able to sense the anger, and trust me it probably won't get any better!
My Tuesday, as many of my Tuesdays are, was filled with thrift store hopping. What did my eyes happen to see inside one Salvation Army but a Sony Playstation 3. The box was pretty damaged, but it otherwise looked to be closed. After I saw the price tag I didn't care to continue looking at it to see whether or not it had been opened.
There are a lot of factors that go into this, and to be honest I don't care! Was it new or used? Was it a fat or slim? What size hard drive was it? Was it a refurb? Was it factory sealed? How did Salvation Army acquire it? I have no answers for any of those questions, but they wanted $200 for it.
Ok, I understand that Salvation Army is entitled to ask whatever they want for their products and they deserve to make a fair profit, keying in on fair. There is a reason Salvation Army is a thrift store, you never go into the place and expect to walk out ready for a magazine photo shoot wearing Salvation Army clothes, although I'm not saying that is impossible. You go into a thrift store and expect to get a good deal because they have no overhead on products, all profits are 100%.
Lately I've noticed that quite a few local Salvation Army stores have a plethora of laptops and cellphones in the glass cases, I'm assuming these are probably overstocks. But what warrants Salvation Army to ask retail prices on all these items? Even if these items are brand new and never used, Salvation Army really shouldn't be asking these prices for these items.
Salvation Army should learn to cut someone a deal. It isn't like little Timmy saved up his lawn mowing money all summer and went to Salvation Army to buy himself a PS3 and 10 games, he would go to an electronics store for that. In this economy some thrift stores have decided to up their prices (on everything!) to make more profit off the demand for lower priced goods, that just seems like a greedy business practice to me, but I digress.
Keep in mind that with that price tag at other places you get a guarantee that if the product is bunk in any way, you can return it for an exchange or refund, not so with Salvation Army. The Salvation Army policy is, in short, once it leaves the store, you can't bring it back anymore. (Clever rhyme there huh?) So while you're paying $200 for a PS3 at Best Buy or where ever, if it craps out you're not out of luck. With Salvation Army you just have to fork over that much cash and take it on the chin of it breaks down.
I've made quite a few good deals at Salvation Army stores, more so than any other thrift store, so I can't be too harsh on them. But from time to time I notice a shift in pricing, sometimes they just tag it for small change and put it out, while other times they'll mark everything for way more than it's truly worth. Oddly enough most everything sells, I've went back looking for overpriced items just to own it and it's gone!
I guess this is a supreme case of taking the bad with the good. While I can pickup video games for anywhere from $2 and under, the PS3 that I don't want to own, but still feel offended by their asking price, has to sell for $200 with no promise of it working and no return if it doesn't.