The official thrift/discount store bragging thread

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by j, Mar 2, 2005.

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  1. ebw1

    ebw1 Senior member

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    Quote: Maybe to some extent, but in large part no. Thrift shops serve a few purposes, and really only one is frustrated by buying and flipping: providing low-cost clothing to those who are in need of it. The various other functions (providing employment, good deeds done with the proceeds from selling donated clothes, etc.) are arguably enhanced by people buying thrifted clothes and flipping them, as it results in more purchases and more funds for the organization selling the thrifted clothes.

    Also, from the broadest perspective, flipping is a market mechanism that maximizes utility. The clothes are more highly valued by the people who finally end up buying them from the flipper. The flipper gets the arbitrage profit, and the store gets the lower price. The middleman flipper is exploiting his superior knowledge about the value and where and to whom they can be sold. If the store were simply to sell Kiton's to a low-income shopper, there would just be the profit from the sale and whatever utility that person gets from the clothes.

    I would probably argue that so long as flippers don't discourage people from donating clothes (people could conceivably stop donating if they perceive the clothes they give are not going to those in need but rather greedy capitalists like us!), then there is no harm done, and in fact it probably helps.

    I have always wondered how hard it would be for the larger thrift stores (SVA/Goodwill) to better price clothes according to their value. It's hard to just make a list of brands (very hard for individual employees to tell the difference, without any training, between RLBL and Lauren RL or whatever, let alone all the different designer diffusion lines like YSL, Dior, or Armani) but they could probably do a bit better discriminating based on labels. There is probably some balance that could be struck that wouldn't require extra training on the part of the employees that sort the clothes but still prices things more along the lines of their value. Then again, if they were to price up all the nicer clothes, it would hurt the market for flipping, and that would negatively impact those who buy thrifted clothes and those who flip them, while at the same time helping those who benefit from the thrift store profits.

    In the end its a policy question that depends on where you think the benefits of the whole clothes donation/thrift store enterprise should be allocated. The way it is now is probably the simplest method, which often ends up being the best in the long run just because people do what they are comparatively good at and the market does the work.


    Wow, that ended up too long, but it's an analysis of the economics and policy of thrift stores for those who may be interested!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012


  2. AndroFan

    AndroFan Senior member

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    Pure swag. I'm going to sign out immediately so as to avoid the inevitable rush of PMs that will follow this. Yes boys, they're lilac purple.

    [​IMG]


    Screw you guys, stop laughing. These pants look awesome and I'm gonna rock them with some ridic shit, JUST WATCH.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012


  3. concealed

    concealed Senior member

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    Many Goodwills in my area price goods that could conceivably be flipped for much higher prices. Still reasonable: $24.99 for Thomas Pink, Tyrwhitt, level shirts, $14.99 for similar quality ties, up to $50 for nice suits and sportcoats etc. Still reasonable if the item is in good condition and something in your size, but not good enough to flip.
     


  4. darkmatter7

    darkmatter7 Affiliate Vendor

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  5. NORE

    NORE Senior member

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    Wait. What? :confused:
     


  6. DeadBoy

    DeadBoy Senior member

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    A couple of my local Value Villages (greedy capitalists that they are) seem to have adopted the strategy of just pricing any suit or SC that's made in Italy higher than others, and even higher still if it's a recognizable name. As much as that might be annoying to me as a cheap bastard, it's probably not a bad strategy in general. It might prevent a really poor person from buying a Zegna or Armani, but there are still plenty of cheaper suits for them. It is a thrift store, after all. And I personally don't mind paying $20 rather than $10 for something really good.

    Sure it means a few mediocre items will be over-priced (at least in our eyes), but it's unlikely I would have bought those anyway no matter what price they are. And I'd like to think it discourages the kinds of flippers a lot of people here seem to complain about, ie. the women who race through the aisles grabbing everything made in Italy or Britain.

    Last week one of those stores was selling a Dolce & Gabbana suit for $125. A bit much for a thrift shop, but whatever. I didn't buy it because it wasn't my size, and don't think I could have flipped it successfully at that price. Today I stopped by and it was gone, so obviously it was worth it to someone.
     


  7. AndroFan

    AndroFan Senior member

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    He just gave an econ 101 summary of the market dynamics of flipping, basically.

     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012


  8. ebw1

    ebw1 Senior member

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    Yeah, discriminating based on where something is made is probably a pretty decent way to do it I think. I've noticed a bit of this too.

    But you do get a lot of Kirkland pants priced at pretty much at retail this way :)
     


  9. pnutpug

    pnutpug Senior member

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    Wow. Prices no high like that around here. Then again, I don't run across the quantity of quality that many around here seem to.
     


  10. concealed

    concealed Senior member

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    This is in an area known to be quite well-off, there are usually 10-15 different Thomas Pink/Hickey Freeman level shirts available at these particular stores for $24.99 on a given day
     


  11. goneAWOL

    goneAWOL Senior member

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    Perfectly said. I've thought about this before as well, and I agree that the whole flipping "industry" is beneficial in that it gets the product into the person's hands that values it most. We fill a crucial role in that we have the time and expertise to find the good stuff and then sell it to people who care.

    Also, I hear people complain about thrift prices so often, but sometimes I think it would be best if thrift stores were able to price the good stuff a fraction higher. This would prevent the random people from buying up the good brands, not caring for it well, and eventually throwing it in the garbage. I'll never forgot a time not too long ago when I found a pair of Church's in fantastic condition for $0.99. I looked around and there were like 4 people in the store, so I decided to leave them on the shelf until I was ready to go. Not too much longer, I watched a seemingly homeless man walk in and grab up the shoes. All I could think about is how that never would have happened if the shoes were $15 or so, and how many times a day things like that happen.

    Also, now that some complaining about the USPS has popped up, I'll share my quick opinion. Sure, the USPS is probably inefficient and way too big of a bureaucracy, but there isn't much of anything we can do about it as consumers. The one thing we can do is not abuse the system. It pisses me off every time I get something shipped to me in "layers" of priority/express mail envelopes. It seems like quite a few people do this, including some people on this forum. I'm sure the expense from this abuse is significant for the post office, and it is surely reflected in the prices they charge. I don't see why people can't invest in the few cents per shipment to get the appropriate supplies.
     


  12. Tailor Dan

    Tailor Dan Senior member

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    Best of luck. Show what you get. http://gentlemansgent.blogspot.com/
     


  13. Tailor Dan

    Tailor Dan Senior member

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  14. Tailor Dan

    Tailor Dan Senior member

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    Thanks. http://gentlemansgent.blogspot.com/
     


  15. DeadBoy

    DeadBoy Senior member

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    Worst case scenario: people don't buy Kirkland pants.

    EDIT: Although it is annoying when, as has been mentioned before, Tommy Hilfiger or Chaps gets priced high. It doesn't affect anyone here, but it is unfair to the people who shop at thrift stores out of necessity who might value those brands as highly as the Goodwill ladies seem to. And it also means they might instead choose to save a few bucks and buy the more modestly priced Breye-on-i, or however that random jacket label is pronounced.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012


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