The Time I Cried in Goodwill…


Goodwill Thrift Tip

We always have a Goodwill stack going.  I do, at least.  I am an aggressive purger (you can only be an aggressive purger if you’re an aggressive buyer, right……) When I get going, I might throw out half of my closet/our possessions.  Some things I sell, but the things that aren’t worth the time/effort, we take to Goodwill.

Last Sunday we had a small stack going, and Parker told me he would drop off after work one day that week.  I suggested going right then because once I get going I want it all out of the house immediately.  So off to Goodwill we went….

We dropped the stuff off, and I jumped out of the car and told Parker I wanted to run in for “one second”.  I’m sure he expected that.  He stayed in the car, and I ran out.

Our neighborhood Goodwill is one of the best in Austin (imo).  I can’t say I’ve been to all of them, but the ones that I’ve been to…. Lake Austin Blvd kills them all.  I always go straight to the furniture section, then the kitchen/junk and then the auction items.  I got halfway to the furniture and saw these from about 15 feet away.

Goodwill Thrift Tip

I stopped walking once I got close and my stomach dropped.  The kind of drop where you’re not sure if something good or bad is happening.  A man was casually looking at the chairs.  I could tell he didn’t know what he was looking at.  He saw an incredibly cheap pair of outdoor chairs ($4.99!!!!!!!!!!!!!).  Why not take a look?

At the moment I didn’t think about what I would have done if he would have picked them up to purchase, but now, I know that I wouldn’t have allowed it.

I knew what they were from halfway across the store and almost fell over when I saw the $4.99 price tag.  I immediately picked both up (no man left behind) and started dragging them to the check-out.  At this point I hadn’t seen the rest of the store, so I did a walk-run around the store to make sure I wasn’t missing anything else.   Got back to the check out and couldn’t get out of Goodwill fast enough.  As I was dragging them out (Parker sees me at this point and gets out of the car to help me), a lady comes running after me yelling at how insane “those chairs” are.  I nervous chuckle, “yes………pretty great!”.  “You know those chairs are like $400???”, she says.  I’m really not sure what her intentions were at this point.  Was she going to try to buy them from me??? No chance, lady, I know what I just bought!!!

So, no I didn’t ACTUALLY cry in Goodwill but I came pretty close on the ride home.  I didn’t shut up about them all night.

I learned a pretty awesome Goodwill thrift tip that evening:


I had never really thought about it, but it makes total sense.  They have their auction on Saturdays and then restock on Sunday.  If there is anything crazy at Goodwill it’s going to be gone Sunday evening or Monday morning.  Those chairs wouldn’t have lasted 2 more seconds after I purchased them.  I even went back on Monday morning to get a half way janky frame and that was gone!!  Stuff goes fast, people, so go during prime time if you want to score.

The craziest part of this steal is that Goodwill missed it.  They are usually SO good at putting all of their half way good items in the auction.  One time I found an incredible piece of art set to be auctioned that weekend.  I HAD to have it.  I planned the whole living room around it.  I had a workshop during the auction, so I explained to Parker how important it was to me to get that piece of art and asked him to go in my place.  The book was at $30 for the art when I saw it mid-week.  I told Parker I would pay up to $100 (thinking that was a fortune for a Goodwill auction).  There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that Parker would come home with that piece of art, but when he texted me that someone outbid him and he stepped off at $200, I couldn’t believe it.  All that said to show that Goodwill BANKS from the actions.  If there is anything semi-precious they save it for the auction.  They really missed out on these chairs, though.

I knew they were bamboo chippendale chairs but didn’t know much more. I found these on Ebay but can’t find a chair that has the same shape as mine.  Anyone know out there what I have on my hands?  I’m no vintage expert!!!


via Ebay


via Ebay

They’re in pretty bad shape… I called around to get a few estimates for refinishing/reworking/restaining and most were around $300/chair.  I’m obviously not wanting to put that kind of money into them when I don’t even have a place for them.


Goodwill Thrift Tip

Goodwill Thrift Tip

Now that I’ve come down from my awesome vintage find high, I’m stumped on what to do with them?  Sell on Craigslist as is for some kind of profit (I did pay $10 for both), keep them for myself and ____________ or put money into them and resell as a high-end vintage find.  I can actually tell you I’m not doing the third option, but I’d love to know what you think.

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15 comments on “The Time I Cried in Goodwill…”

  1. $4.99 for ANYTHING at Goodwill is cheap these days – but insanely so for something like this. I’ve noticed Goodwill in general has gotten way out of hand with their pricing, to the point I rarely go anymore. I once saw a cheap plant pot (you know, the kind you get for $8 at Home Depot) priced at $25. Seriously?!

    Anyway, I live in the DFW area and haven’t found the Goodwills up here to be any good as far as merch goes. I rarely find anything. 🙁 But I grew up in Austin, and whenever I go home to visit my folks, my mother and I always hit up the thrift stores. I did find a cool vintage-ish wicker chair at the GW near her house for $20. I thought that was a good bargain, but your $4.99 is a total steal.

    One more story 🙂 I was at my local GW a few years ago and found, hidden behind a bunch of fake greenery crap, a vintage butter churn crock. For SIX DOLLARS!! I grab it and put it in my cart. As I was walking around the store looking at everything else. an older lady kept following me. She finally had the nerve to ask me about it and when she heard how much I paid for it, she about died. haha I think she wanted me to give it to her. 🙂

  2. What a fabulous find!! Bring them home on your next trip for a repair/ spruce up project. We can take them to our furniture repairman. He’s amazing and it won’t be $300 a chair!😍

  3. okay … these are AMAZING. I saw them on your instagram and knew I needed to get a closer look. i think you should try and see if you can spruce them up yourself or see if you know of anyone who would be good at that … such a good find!

  4. OMG you sound just like me! I know that feeling when you see sparkle of an amazing find from across a crowded Goodwill hoping no one else is seeing what your seeing…. I love a good score but sometimes they are just too good to keep. I scored a mid-century chair last month that sells for thousands online. I paid $40 for it and immediately sold it to a guy in LA for $1000 which was still a good deal for him but an even better deal for me. Had I been totally in love I would have kept it for myself but for a so-so love I’m willing to take my profit and head back to Goodwill.

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