Ep. 3: Thrill of Thrifting Transcript

Note: What’s Good, Goodwill? is produced for the ear and designed to be heard, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that’s not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors.

(Music fades) 

Michelle Hello and welcome to episode three of “What’s Good Goodwill” where we share what’s good in the Inland Northwest. I’m your host, Michelle.

Teresa And I’m Teresa. Well, it’s been a great summer at Goodwill. Last month. Goodwill Industries International hosted their annual delegate assembly in Toronto, Canada. And during the event, we celebrated one of our past participants Wes, who won the Kenneth Shaw National Graduate of the Year award.

Michelle Well, that sounds like that’s a pretty fancy award.

Teresa Yeah. You know, it is a prestigious award, an international award. As I said, Wes has been with Goodwill since 2017. And, you know, it couldn’t have gone to a better person. He had friends and family around him. Some of our people from Goodwill of course. And it was just really a great celebration and very touching and emotional as well.

Michelle So if you’d like to see Wes’s official award video or to learn more about Wes’s story, please check out our Goodbits page where we have Wes’s video just waiting for you to grab your box of tissues and cry and cry.

Teresa When the story is pretty darn inspirational, agreed.

Michelle So it’s pretty hard to believe that we are already in August.

Teresa Sure is. But it is just the time to think about back-to-school shopping and August is a good time.

Michelle August is a good time because it’s National Thrift Shop Month. For our listeners who aren’t aware. August contains one of the most magical days for goodwill or any secondhand shopper National Thrift Shop Day.

Teresa It’s an exciting time for goodwill.

Michelle So exciting. We can’t wait to introduce our guest today. So first up to talk all things Goodwill is Heather.

Teresa Heather, welcome to the show.

Heather Thank you guys for having me. Made the really long trip down the hall and you know, it’s really nice to see the people that, you know, I see every day. Thanks to you guys.

Teresa Don’t forget to put in that expense report for your travel.


Michelle So Heather is our senior vice president of marketing and communications, which sounds awfully a lot like you’re our boss.

Teresa Yeah, I think we can say she’s one of the best out there.

Heather Thanks. I appreciate that. Yeah, it’s well, you know, I have great team members, so it makes it super easy to do my job because you guys are so great at doing your jobs and you make it fun. And I do have to honestly say I have the best team to work with.

Michelle Heather, can you tell our listeners a little of the who’s the what’s the, let’s say, the behind the scenes of what happens when someone donates and shops at Goodwill?

Heather It really is, you know, quite the process when you make the effort of going through your garage and your closets, when you bring those, you know, hard work for donations down to Goodwill and you drop them off with one of our donation service attendants, that is just the beginning point of what happens with your donations. So, they go in and they start that process of they go through and they sort through the donations and they determine if something is ready to go to one of our stores or if it needs to go to one of the outlets or if it is better gone into our salvage and recycling program just based on the condition of it

Unfortunately, sometimes we do get items that are garbage and might go straight to our outlet where it will be sold by the pound, or it might go to our e-commerce department where we have several online stores. Some of them are auction-type sites like shop Goodwill. Other sites you buy it now, you know, for the listed price, and our e-commerce sites sell just a whole array of products.

I mean, everything that you could find in the store, all those things and that really will sell better online and bring in more funds for our programs. Those go to primarily to our e-commerce sites, but some of them do still make their way into the stores so keep your eye out for that. No, not all the good stuff goes to e-commerce. I will say that.

Michelle I was about to ask.

Heather Our team has to deal with that rumor all the time. All the good stuff goes to e-commerce. And that’s not the case. There are certain items that will earn more money for our programs, and we’ll support our programs financially. If we sell them online in addition to, you know, some of those types of products to just are better suited to be sold online.

So, if something doesn’t go to eCommerce, then obviously goes to our retail stores, then some time items aren’t going to go out right away because maybe it’s not the right season. Like most of us aren’t looking for winter jackets in the middle of summer. They do those items. Then if they’re not going to go into the store right away, we do store them in a warehouse until we can sell them at the appropriate time of year.

Again, it just makes more sense to sell something when people are looking for it than it does to sell it when they’re not really interested in buying a bikini in the middle of December. 

And I’ll also dispel another rumor right here and now. Goodwill employees can’t shop until something has been on the floor for 4 hours or more, and we can only shop during our lunch breaks and after work, or when we’re, you know, a day that we’re not working. So, we’re not finding all the good stuff and keeping it for ourselves. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve all had that. Oh, somebody bought it already. 

You know, that’s also my other tip for shoppers if you see it and you’re like, you love it, but you’re not sure, you’re thinking, oh, I don’t know if I really need that. I kind of tell people, yeah, you need it because it’s going to be gone if you put it down and you try to come back to it, 30 minutes later, it is going to be gone. I have been in our store before. I’ve been getting items for photoshoots or events that we’re doing and it’s like I’ve had people circling me to see if I want to put that thing back that I picked up for, you know, one of our models.

Teresa When I was younger and didn’t have as much money, I was getting ready to go on a big trip and needed a carry on, didn’t have one and found one at Goodwill but somebody had just picked it up before I got to it. So, I followed her around the store until she put it down, you know, at a respectable distance. Or whatever. But I thought that suitcase and I spray-painted my name on it. I still have it. It was a great suitcase.

Michelle I like to joke if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be. Like, if you see it and you come back for it and it’s not there anymore or somebody else has it, and then they buy it, it just wasn’t meant to be. I mean, part of the Goodwill process of with a thrift store, you never know what you’re going to find. But man, if you are looking for something and there it is, like other said, grab it because it was meant to be for you.

Teresa But, you know, you put that one thing down you thought you wanted, and you go to the next aisle and there’s five more things that you need and want it. And then you forget about the first one. You’re like, these are so fabulous. And I don’t I didn’t need that one after all.

Heather There’s always something to find. 

Once something goes to sell in one of our stores or our e-commerce sites or even for salvage, and that the money that is made from the sale of that item, that revenue goes back to support our programs. So, most people don’t realize that the minimum $0.85 of every dollar goes to support our programs here at Goodwill.

And so, when you do donate and when you shop to Goodwill, you truly are funding the services that somebody else is getting that’s changing their lives. The help that Wescott and the way his life has just turned around, that happened because people donated and shopped at Goodwill. The people who were helping get into housing, who have been homeless for years, they’re getting helped because they have money that you are spending in our stores.

And when you round up and when you just donate your gently used items to us, you’re helping people get jobs. You’re helping people get job training, you’re helping people learn how to use a computer for the first time so that they can go and actually be successful in this very digital work world, in this very digital world that we live in.

I can tell I can go on and on. I can tell you so many stories about the people that have been helped. And I’ve been with Goodwill for nine years and almost ten. 

I have seen so many lives impacted people in our communities throughout eastern Washington and north Idaho, not just in Spokane, as well as the lives of employees who Goodwill has been kind of that first chance or maybe that second chance opportunity for them at employment. How they have bloomed and blossomed here and learned and grown. Then been able to either promote up within our organization or they’ve been able to get skills that have made them more marketable as an employee.

And they’ve gone on they’ve gotten great jobs at other employers. So, the stuff that you donate when you shop at our store or when you shop online, all of that boils down to funding the programs that we have that are helping people locally in the inland northwest. That money all stays local. It’s not like it’s going up to a big national organization.

It is all staying here locally to help people, thousands of people every year with our programs.

Michelle So, Heather, what’s the number one thing that you want our listeners to take away from this episode about donating and shopping at Goodwill?

Heather You are making an impact in your local community. You are helping change lives here. You know, our mission says together we create opportunities that change lives and strengthen communities is and that together is in there because it is you. You’re our donors and shoppers. It is our community partners. It is all of our employees who are making those opportunities happen through working together, through everything that we do.

There’s that adage that says it takes a village, right? With children. Well, it takes a village really for us to have these opportunities and to create opportunities for people in our communities who need that support, who need that little bit of extra help, who need somebody to believe in them and help them take that next step that they’re looking at to change.

You are making a difference. I really am passionate about it, and I truly believe in what we do. Because I see those lives changed. I hear the stories. I get to talk to people every day who came in with their heads down and they were living in a car, and they had no resources or they just got out of prison and nobody would give them a job. And they come out with their heads held high and so many things and opportunities opened up to them.

Teresa Well, to wrap up all that goodness, here is what we learned from Heather today.

Heather My name is Heather. Goodwill is so much more than just a thrift store.

And by the way, our CEO is not a millionaire, and our stores are not making him a millionaire. Let’s just get that rumor taken care of right there.

And the number one thing to take away, I hope, from this episode today is that when you donate and you shop at Goodwill, you’re gently used items. You are helping change lives in our community, thousands of lives every year. So good on you. That’s what’s good about Goodwill because you are helping that happen.

Teresa Our next guest to the podcast is someone who you might call a local Goodwill shopping guru, Lauren.

Michelle Heather and I had the pleasure of chatting with Lauren the other day.

Heather Lauren is just well, she’s a hoot. She’s a kick in the pants. Such a sweet person. Really has grown up with a love of shopping at Goodwill. So, she’s got some great tips about how to shop at Goodwill. And there’s something that you can learn from. So, you make sure that you keep a listening ear in on this podcast because you don’t want to miss her tips.

Teresa So, let’s take a listen.

Lauren My name is Lauren Erickson, and my Instagram handle is @fakefreckles. It has been for maybe six or seven years. I had a couple of different ones before that.

Weird story. So, my ex-boyfriend and I, he is a lighting designer in town, so he runs lights for concerts. So, he does lights. And there was this guy who ran sound at one of the venues that we would go to.

And I don’t want to say too much because this is going to be on a podcast. I guess I’ll keep it vague. Basically, I would always joke that he had fake freckles on his face. I don’t know why, but I think he just had striking freckles. And I was like those have to be fake because I always wanted freckles growing up. My cousin actually has freckles and I’m also jealous of her. My sister has freckles and like where my freckles. So, I would always joke that he had fake freckles and I was like, oh, I like how that sounded so I guess that’s how I got my name. But yeah, that’s where the name comes from.

Heather How did you get into thrifting?

Lauren I would come to this Goodwill with my mom when I was little. I remember one that used to have this, what was it called? BJ’s?

Heather Bobbi’s

Lauren Bobbi’s, ok! And how it was connected to it. And I just I knew we would come down here since we lived on the lower south hill, we come down here and thrift. And then in high school, I was there with my friends, you know, we had no money as high schoolers.

So yeah, my friend Abbie and I would thrift a lot and it was just fun because you could find kind of obscure, weird things that you wouldn’t be able to find at, just a regular store, which I would always wear, kind of like the vintage, eighties crewnecks and stuff like that in high school. That was one of my favorite things to find. But yeah, I honestly would say it just came out of, one just like an affordable option, but then blossomed into like, oh my gosh, this is so cool because you can find things that nobody else has.

And I just love shopping which. Speaking about my ADHD earlier, that is like something that is actually common with people of ADHD is, it’s the instant serotonin of getting to shop. And I can shop so much more if I’m thrifting, you know, it’s not as much of going to be so hard on my wallet.

You know, I can go to Goodwill a couple of times a week and get to pick out some fun things. And I love fashion, and I think it’s something how I express myself a lot. So, I just I don’t know. I just started with my mom and my mom loves Goodwill, she goes a lot as well. I’m sure you’ve actually seen her tag a lot of things from Goodwill she goes all the time and then I just I’ve shopped.

Heather Yeah, that is so cool. I love that. What’s one piece of advice you would give to somebody about thrifting? 

Lauren I would say, don’t skip any section. Literally, you can. You never know what you’re going to find. I feel like, you know, I will look outside of my size because sometimes, you know, things run bigger or smaller. I will look through the pajama section is like where I score the most, I would say, or  the lingerie.

You can find some tops are sometimes I even find the comfiest little shorts in the pajama section that I would just wear. Even the kids section, you know, if you know people with kids or I actually have a trunk full of kids clothes say that I add to. Just for maybe someday or just to keep as gifts on hand.

But I say don’t skip any section. Definitely. And look in different sizes. Like, you know, I feel like I for a long time was like, okay, well why would I even look at smalls? And it was small, but I find things all the time over there that could actually still fit me or could be great for a friend or whatever. So, I thought that’s my best piece of advice. Definitely.

Heather Oh, I love that. 

Think about what’s you’re either a favorite item that you’ve thrifted. Be it one of your favorites. I guess I’ll say because I know you can have lots and it might end up being something that’s like more recent.

Lauren My favorite thing that I’ve got, the most use and wear out of is, I’ve I did a pair of Dark Martin’s maybe three or four years ago now, probably four years ago now. White Doc Martin’s, I’ve worn them so much. They’re just a classic boot. Just I don’t know, I don’t know the names, the styles, which I feel I should at this point. But what’s the classic lace up boot. And they’re white, but they’re I don’t know if it’s  a patent or it’s like the shiny or kind.

So, it’s actually been great. They’re way more practical because then you can just rinse them off if they get dirty. That’s probably my favorite find that I’ve ever found of the thrift store. Like, so awesome.

Heather Think about, like, what’s the quirkiest or oddest thing that you’ve either found or haven’t bought. Or anything that you like “Oh yeah, that’s just so weird. I have to buy it.”

Lauren Gosh, I feel that’s when I could go on about forever. One of the coolest things, most recently that I found, I don’t know why that I still haven’t gotten a shade for it, but it’s a lamp. But the bottom is an elephant, a stuffed animal elephant. It didn’t have the shade on it, but I was like, I have to buy that. That’s one of the weirdest, coolest things I’ve found. 

I also have one of those hamburger phones if you ever seen them in movie Juno, which is so funny because I actually got it on the at the South Hill Goodwill. And then I ran into an old friend of mine, and she said she had just donated it there. And I was like, I totally just bought your hamburger phone, which is so funny because that just says a lot about why we’re friends. She already had it. I was like, okay, well, I have to have it. That’s one of my prized possessions. I feel like I will never get rid of that. It’s just so cool. 

Heather Do you have some favorite stores that you like to shop when you’re thrifting?

Lauren We’ll definitely Goodwill. I’m not just saying that even just because we’re talking 

(group laughter) 

because Goodwill is my favorite, I will sometimes go to Value Village. Valoo Village is usually what I call it, but I find myself mostly going to Goodwill. I love the bins. I don’t make it there enough. And every time I do go there, I have the best finds. So how am I going to go here more? I don’t know. And I actually, will make little dates with my mom to go. I feel like I find myself wanting to go more if I’m going with someone to the bins because then you can have more eyes on. You can split up, you know, kind of attack that way. You go to this bin, I’ll go over there and it’s like fun. Just run around. But yeah, I would say good was my number one. I don’t know. I go to random thrift stores if I get a wild hair. If I literally went to like both the Goodwill’s. But I do truly shop at Goodwill the most and I say most of my friends do, I feel like we always want to go to Goodwill. Sometimes I go to the Ark here. And what else is there? 

(group laughter) 

Heather I know. 

Michelle We’re like, it’s only, it’s only Goodwill.

Lauren It’s mostly Goodwill, but I love it. I love it. There’s, we have the three that are like close enough that I can honestly go to all of them if I really wanted to. Like, I was like, okay, this is my third day, and I love bins. I really do. I have gone there and gotten so many good things.

(Voice fades, music begins)

(Music fades )

Michelle Hey, if you’re hearing this message, you’ve listened to our new episode all the way to the end. And for that, thank you.

Alicia And don’t forget to keep up with what’s good by following us on Social Media, on Facebook, @INWGoodwill, Instagram @Goodwill_INW, Twitter @GoodwillINW and TikTok @GoodwillINW.

(Music fades out) 

Heather You guys ready for my dad joke? This could be a winner, but you know what all dad jokes are, but okay. So why is Peter Pan always flying?

Michelle I don’t know.

Teresa Tell us.

Heather He never lands. Get it? Neverland. He never lands.

(Group laughter) 

(Sound fades) like the

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