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eBay Tips: Buy to Sell Goodwill Outlet Store Merchandise

Updated on February 13, 2018

Robots Rescued From Certain Doom

The Secret of the Outlet Store

Selling on eBay is still a good way to make a few extra dollars, but what do you sell after you've listed all of that junk in your closets, attic, and basement? I have scouted garage sales, but often the selection is limited and in this region of the country the good ones only take place in the summer. Another option is thrift stores and second-hand shops. The typical Goodwill store can have a large variety, but Goodwill has recently raised prices at their retail stores and that kills profits for eBay resellers. But then there are the Goodwill outlet stores. Here you can buy most of the stuff by the pound. Prices vary depending on whether you are buying clothing, glassware, or something else. Books, CDs, and DVDs are still individually priced, but are lower than at the retail stores. There is virtually no organization -- most everything is rolled out in large bins. But prices are kept low because employees do not have to sort, clean and price each item.

Pigs at a Trough

Many blogs and hubs have been written about the interesting experience of shopping at the outlet stores, where people line up at the bins like pigs at a trough. Sometimes the other customers can get quite rude, but the crowd at the particular store I frequent is relatively well behaved. The basic routine is this: The employees roll out the large bins of stuff and when the bin comes to a complete stop you are allowed to grab everything as quick as you can (watch those elbows). The aggressive and experienced customers will usually grab all of the good stuff first, throw it in a shopping cart and sort through it later and toss the junk back in the bin. Then the more passive customers can have their turn to pick through what is left. Since I am not really the aggressive type, I will usually wait for the flurry to subside and then step in. The advantage to this strategy is that, after a few minutes, the aggressive types have moved on to the next bin. Now I have a bit more time and room to do my own searching. I find that if you carefully look toward the bottom and back of the bin for the small, overlooked items you can often find the treasures. That is where you will find the small, valuable collectibles, and even sometimes cash! I'm not kidding. Sometimes I find cash. If it is foreign cash, just take it to the currency exchange booth at your local airport.

Do You Like Weddings?

A good recent find was a huge lot of excellent quality Mini DV video tapes. Apparently, a wedding video business had closed shop and dumped all of its inventory. There were many Mini DV tapes, VHS tapes, and music CDs which were probably used to add background music to the wedding videos. Nearly every tape was labeled with a date and the name of the happy couple. I suppose I could have spent the next few years watching the weddings of strangers, but I decided to just sell the tapes. I purchased almost 100 Mini DV tapes cheap by the pound and resold them for a dollar each in lots.

I Robot

The two robots pictured in the photo were from an actual eBay sale. Found at a Goodwill outlet store, listed on eBay, sold, then shipped off to their new home, rescued from certain doom.


In the video below, Katie Marie Patton gives an accurate description of her experiences shopping at the Dayton, Ohio Goodwill Outlet Store. I have shopped at locations in Oregon and Washington and I can tell you that I had exactly the same experiences as she did! Thanks for the super video, Katie!

A great video about the Dayton, Ohio Goodwill Outlet Store


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    • PDXBuys profile image

      PDXBuys 4 years ago from Oregon

      Latest finds: A credit card reader, a vintage IBM sign, HEPA filters, and a fishfinder. All flipped for a good profit! I love this stuff!

    • PDXBuys profile image

      PDXBuys 4 years ago from Oregon

      It's all part of the business. Buyers are free to make offers and sellers are free to say yes or no. Yes, I suppose eBay has increased the demand for second-hand items because the online resellers know they can flip items and make a quick profit. Same thing happens in the real estate business. That's what drives up the price of homes! Part of the reason I like shopping at the Goodwill outlet stores is because all of the prices are fixed - no negotiating is allowed. Everyone knows what to do. Paying a dollar or less for an item I flip and sell for $75 is nice! Yes, the secret is having knowledge. I can sometimes recognize value in a back-of-the-bin item that others have ignored.

    • profile image

      Trista 4 years ago

      Aggressive resellers are the reasons many thrift stores have raised their prices. Also, I often have ebay sellers show up at my garage sales and want an item almost for free. I am willing to give them a good price on it, but nothing is sold for nickels and dimes. I know the value of everything I sell, because obviously I have internet access. One woman showed up at my garage sale, and I had 3 unopened boxes of Celine Dion perfume (still wrapped). She wanted them for fifty cents each! Lowballing this way will get you nothing from me.