My beautiful and destructive obsession with ShopGoodwill.com

I love online shopping, and one of my biggest weaknesses right now is ShopGoodwill.com. Auction sites are fantastic for the work-from-home warrior because you can monitor your bids very closely. It’s like a mini eBay but the only sellers are Goodwill stores across the country. It’s basically all the stuff they think they can get a bit more money for (hint: the awesome Goodwills are the ones not listed as sellers on this site yet).

This site is still relatively unknown. Up until a week or so ago, they had one of the worst interfaces, and this new site launch isn’t particularly better. The search bar will only search for exact matches to your terms, and sellers regularly neglect to include important information in their descriptions, meaning it can be hard to find things. The people listing items on this site aren’t particularly motivated to pull the largest profit possible, their only motivation is one most of us share; simply trying to survive the workday.

So what makes ShopGoodwill.com so excellent is that it’s like the anti-eBay. Items are cheaply priced, badly marketed, easy to lose in searches, and have low competition, and one of the best things about this is you can score extremely high value items for next to nothing. I recently, completely accidentally, turned $25 into $75 by buying the wrong sized boots, re-selling them on eBay, and getting more than I paid for them back. I then paid $50 for a pair of (correctly sized) boots that would have sold on eBay for $70-100. Of course, I kept these, because I love my boots. High quality sporting and outdoor goods are frequently listed on the site, and many BIFL items are on there with exceedingly low closing bids.

A slight downside, if you can call it that, to the ShopGoodwill model is that they charge quite high shipping and handling costs, which can in some cases double the price you pay for an item. I won a Bernina serger for $15, but it ended up coming to about $30 after additional costs (and another $100 for a service at my local sewing store). Still, I don’t really mind, considering that same model would have cost upwards of $200 on eBay, and I’d still have needed to take it for a service.

I suspect that Goodwill’s online store will soon become like all the others, overrun with flippers and marketers, cheap items and high prices, and everyone trying to make a profit off each other. But for now, while sellers are not motivated to rip people off, and buyers are mostly buying for their own use, it’s a good place to shop. In addition to my serger I have bought hiking boots, Dr Marten fashion boots, and I’m just waiting on an auction to close for a lovely red pair of Made in England vintage Dr Martens. Part of me can’t wait for the bubble to burst, so my PayPal account has some time to recover.

Have you had an experience with ShopGoodwill.com? Comment below and let me know what deals (or dunces) you’ve procured from the site.

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