Worst Times to Visit Thrift Stores
I’ve been asked before what are the worst times to go to a thrift store, the times when you are less likely to make money and just won’t do very well.
It’s Not an Exact Science, But…
In general, I’m going to give you an answer that you may or may not like. There really is no worst time to go. Now, there are some times that aren’t optimal, but really there’s no worst times.
You really don’t know when there is going to be a deal inside the thrift store. You don’t know when a new clothing rack’s going to come out. You don’t know when the new bins are going to come out. You don’t know when a random item was in the back and an employee decides to throw it on the shelf. Maybe a customer just returned something for some reason. There really is no worst time to go.
There Are Some Patterns
With that being said, I prefer the weekdays over the weekends. I never really do well during the weekends. I find generally they are not putting out as much new inventory then. There seems to be a lot more competition because a lot of resellers work full-time jobs and have time to source only on weekends. Also the general public is smashing the thrift stores during the weekend.
So the best times for me are during weekdays, typically mornings and early afternoons. I find that for me, profitability declines later in the afternoons. But you’ve got to take that with a grain of salt. There have been times when I hit the jackpot of all jackpot right before the thrift store closed.
One thing that I recommend doing if you’re brand new to thrifting is get yourself a little notebook. Every time you go to the thrift store, write down what time you went and how well you did. You’ll start to see a pattern over time of what thrift stores do better at certain times and days of the week.
But really, at the end of the day, the more you go, the better chance you’re going to have of making money. You really can’t make a hard-and-fast rule and refuse to go at a certain time or on a certain day.
Talk to the Manager
Feel free to communicate with the managers. Build a rapport; build a friendship. Then you can ask the manager, “Hey, are there certain days that you don’t put out inventory?” I’ve done that before, and the manager let me know that they have a sort of schedule for putting out new inventory. I avoid the days they don’t plan to put new stuff on the shelves.
You also want to figure out what the times during the day that new inventory is typically coming out. At my local Goodwill, they’re always bringing new stuff out in the morning. And then on certain days during the week, they’re putting out new inventory about an hour before they close. Build relationships with the employees. Talk with them. Communicate with them so you can find all this out.
The No-Brainer Stuff
Of course, you will want to hit the thrift stores when they have their sales on certain items or on the days where, say, everything is half off. All you have to do is ask an employee, and they will let you know. Maybe they have signs up or some kind of newsletter that explains their sales.
And it also follows that if you have gone to a certain store several times and have never found a thing there, then the worst time to go is any time!
But the trick is knowing when the competition will be a bit less and when they put that new inventory out. And that may take some investigation on your part.
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