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Computers All Working at Goodwill

Updated on February 23, 2015

My good buddy, Rod Gorman, introduced me to Goodwill Industries of Houston's great big "Computer Works" store.

"Gus, they completely refurbish donated computers and other electronic gadgets and sell them to dummies like you and me. The prices are really attractive -- and they even guarantee the stuff you buy."

Composite photo image of the entire inside of the Goodwill Industries Computer Works resale store in Houston, Texas
Composite photo image of the entire inside of the Goodwill Industries Computer Works resale store in Houston, Texas | Source

What used to be is back again

As it turned out, my friend was accurate in what he told me, but he really did not tell me the whole tale. After agreeing (ever so reluctantly) to let my friend buy lunch, we drove on over to the computer store. I had been expecting the place to resemble a fairly typical resale outlet - full of scruffy items that donors had wanted out of their way. Yes, a hole-in-the-wall kind of second-hand shop, with bins and tables spilling over with the beat, the dented, and the denied outcasts of an aged and outdated electronics age.

What I found at Goodwill's computer store was order, cleanliness, gleaming cabinetry, all nicely displayed on shelf after shelf arranged throughout a large, front-and-center salesroom. There was a staff of computer-sharp workers all eager to help the many customers, including my friend and me. The typical question the staff would ask was not, "What do you want?" but "What would you like to know?"

Being "old" and retired...

Rod and I are no longer teenagers. In fact, we are what some would describe as being as close to the cash-it-in age as we want to be. Rod, kind of a computer nut (like me) had his eye on a good-looking desktop computer system that was winking at him from atop its display table. I was looking for a small tablet that could handle Internet stuff to send to one of my older sisters who lives in the Northeast United States. I knew that Rod could pay for the computer if he wanted it, but I was unsure if I had enough in my wallet to pay for a computer tablet.

The price stickers shouted out to us that what we wanted was affordable. But, did the stuff work? The workers flipped switches, screens brightened, pictures and lettering appeared, and all proved to be OK in Goodwill's land of refurbished computers.

Rod went home with a very high speed, memory-stuffed computer, up-to-the-minute operating system and all, with a large, thin-screen monitor, and a pretty keyboard. I bought a large-screen tablet computer, a recharge transformer and an accessory USB cable for my sister.

Rod's computer system was priced at $199. Because Rod, like me, is o-l-d, they gave him a discount. He paid $134 for the whole thing. My computer tablet had a price tag on it that said, "$30." The Goodwill computer store charged me $20 because, just as the tablet possessed some age about which to brag, so did I.

How About a Nice, Free Computer Class for Dummies?

Maybe the only thing that I did not totally enjoy was the nice, helpful cashier lady informing me that the Goodwill folks have free computer classes for people just like us. "Got to love her" is what I thought right then. Neither Rod nor I told her that we two had invented the Internet (even before Al Gore invented it).

The video below is in the presentation style made famous by the well-known "Ken Burns. It was produced using still photographs made inside the Goodwill store's computer salesroom. (The same still photos were used for the composite photo at the top of this article.)

Not shown in the video or in the panoramic still photograph, above, is the really large workroom behind the sales area. That is where the computers and other electronics are refurbished by dedicated Goodwill employees. I will try to arrange for some additional photography sessions in the overall facility to show refurbishing steps between donations of used computer equipment and its sale at remarkably reasonable prices to people like my friend, Rod, and me. Once I make those photos another interesting presentation here on HubPages may be forthcoming.

Ken Burns Would Probably Have Laughed

After the video had been completely put together and viewed to see if it worked all right, a sign on one of the shelves caused some smiling here. The sign announced low pricing on a large number of computer "pointing devices" each of which is commonly called a "mouse." There were mouse gadgets of different types, some wireless, some wire-attached, some with a center wheel, and some without. All were of really low prices. The sign above them said, in large lettering, "Mice Prices."

That reminded me of one time, when I edited a manuscript telling of the adventuring of Native Americans of the Blackfoot Indian Tribe, I saw that the author wrote about a single Indian as "the Blackfoot Indian," but would describe more than one Indian as "the Blackfeet Indians."

To the sign maker, "Mouse" equaled one gadget. "Mice" meant more than one. It is all in the mind and not in the rodent count.

Maybe there is a Goodwill Computer Store in your area

Why not give your local Goodwill Industries multi-goods resale store a telephone call or a visit and ask? That computes, does it not?


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