There’s a Goodwill drop-off location near my home that I’ve been frequenting for years, donating clothes, shoes, toys, and housewares I no longer need in the hopes that somebody can get good use out of them. But now that thrifting has become trendy, is my good intent being taken advantage of? According to Redditors, Goodwill is more expensive than ever before — and they're selling used, donated items for more than you would pay for something new at a store like Walmart or Target.
It’s no secret that Gen Z shoppers have made thrifting hot again, bragging about their hauls — and their sustainable shopping practices — on TikTok. In fact, the market for secondhand goods in the U.S. is expected to grow 16 times faster than the full-price clothing market and be worth $82 billion by 2026, according to ThredUp, a resale site.
But now, people are calling Goodwill a total rip-off.
“The other day I saw a freaking spaghetti sauce jar for $2.99. If you bought the actual spaghetti sauce that comes in the same jar? $1.98. Wtf goodwill,” says a Redditor.
“Ross/TJ Maxx-type stores are cheaper than thrifting sometimes lately,” declares another person.
One TikToker went viral when she found a Zara shirt listed for $19.99 at Goodwill; the original price of the shirt costs less than $9 on Zara's website.
"These Goodwill prices are out of hand. These items are used and they get them for free! Who told them they could charge like this?” the TikToker exclaims in their video.
@margaretskiff These goodwill prices are out of hand. These items are used and they get them for free! Who told them they could charge like this? #goodwill #thrifting #thriftstores #thrift #zara #tanktop #pricey #prices #ridiculous #margaretskiff #secondhand ♬ Au Revoir - Sweet After Tears
The video is just one of the many stories people are sharing about the outrageous costs they're seeing at thrift shops these days.
“I bought a brand new slow cooker at Target for the same price a local thrift shop wanted for ones that looked like they were 20 years old," comments one user.
Call it the "gentrification of thrift stores." It follows a natural order: Thrifting becomes popular because it's seen as a way to be sustainable and unique. Shoppers show their huge bulk hauls on social media, leaving fewer desirable, used items available. And more people become flippers, where they buy items and flip them for more money privately, slowly pricing out lower income consumers who shop at Goodwill because it's in their budget. Of course, stores like Goodwill recognize their items may be able to sell for more based on all of the above, and voilà — prices get ridiculous.
As one Redditor says, "I try really hard to always buy [secondhand] clothes because of the environmental impact of the fashion industry. But I gotta admit I just bought 2 brand new shirts [because] they they were $5. I can't get shirts that cheap at Goodwill."
For now, Goodwill remains a place to score discounted threads. But thrifters are beginning to think twice about choosing Goodwill over a store like Walmart, even if they want to live sustainably.
@goodfair This sound was made for us 😭 @curli_fries say it louder 🗣 #dilemma #thriftedfashion #thriftshopping #sustainablefashion #Nonewthings #goodfair ♬ Thrift Shopping Guilt - Curli_fries