Is It Ethical to Resell from Thrift Stores?
I had a question the other day from a friend: “Steve, I’m not trying to disrespect you, but I’m just curious. Is what you’re doing—sourcing from thrift stores—ethical? I was always under the impression that thrift stores were for the poor, the needy, the people who couldn’t afford paying retail for clothing, electronics, and various products. I thought that thrift stores were not really for average people.”
And when I heard that, I said to myself, “Wow! This is actually a good question.”
Can You Spot the Reseller in the Thrift Store?
I guarantee that many people out there—just average, everyday people—see us in the thrift stores scanning items or looking up items on our phones and know what we are doing. It is easy to tell a picker from a customer. I can always tell.
So is it ethical? Is it ethical that we are buying from thrift stores to resell and make a profit? Are thrift stores only for the poor, the needy, the less fortunate, the people looking to save money? Are we taking these products that could essentially be purchased by someone in need and using it for our benefit to make money?
In my opinion, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with it. I feel that if you’re super poor and don’t have a lot of money, you’re really not going to be able to afford stuff in a thrift store anymore anyway because the prices are increasing so much in comparison to a decade ago. The days of finding clothing for a quarter, for a nickel, or for a dollar seem to be long gone.
Now, there are some thrift stores who have special sales, but I just don’t think thrift stores are in business to help the needy anymore. Yes, some profits and revenue go to certain programs, but by and large they are not here to supply the poor and needy with the cheapest prices possible.
We Help Increase Revenue for Thrift Stores
They’re in business to create as much revenue as possible to donate to their causes. Over here at Goodwill, they donate to helping people to get jobs. I know Savers donates to some charitable foundations. Different thrift stores have different purposes, but I don’t think their main purpose is to sell stuff as cheaply as possible to people who really need it. Their goal is to create revenue.
So is it ethical that resellers are going into these thrift stores to source inventory? In my honest opinion, I don’t think it’s unethical. I just don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. It’s a store, and their goal is to create revenue.
When I purchase something from Goodwill, it is helping them create revenue to add to those programs to help people get jobs. When I purchase from Savers, it is helping people.
So we are actually helping people in a sense because we are purchasing items that are going to these positive causes. We are supporting some great causes out there by buying from thrift stores.
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