Social Question

MooCows's avatar

Would it bother you to wear clothes from say Goodwill?

Asked by MooCows (3190points) April 7th, 2016

I know many people shop at Goodwill to reap the benefits
and to give back to the community. Other people wouldn’t
be caught near the store much less wearing something
purchased there that was once worn by another.
Which one are you?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

119 Answers

kritiper's avatar

No. I wore hand-me-downs as a kid growing up. But I hear what you’re saying. Some of the people you mentioned would definitely not be caught dead near a Goodwill, but also would not be caught dead donating to same. Better to throw it away. (What a waste!)

Strauss's avatar

I buy lots of jeans and shoes at Goodwill, ARC, and other thrift shops. They’re also great places to find books and vintage electronics.

I also have several similar organizations that call to let me know when they will have a collection truck in the area.

janbb's avatar

I bought vintage clothes when I was young but probably wouldn’t do it now. However, I will buy other things I need at a consignment shop or Goodwill if it is convenient.

Zaku's avatar

No. That seems silly, to me.

Though used shoes can be a problem because of the wear patterns of someone else’s foot. I’ve not worn used shoes.

Thrift shops can take more effort, but have far more variety and interesting things, tend to cost massively less, and many of them help good causes. And it’s good too to buy stuff that already exists instead of fueling the clothing industry.

jaytkay's avatar

Occasionally, when I’m at the Salvation Army for CDs and DVDs, I will buy a used shirt or sweater. I found great Italian cardigan for $5 once.

MooCows's avatar

I love to browse Goodwill as it is a great feeling to know
I can afford anything in the store!!! We are so hard on
clothes esp in the winter here at the farm that I pick
up sweatshirts and long sleeve t’s and even over coats.
It is a great way to give back!

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOLL!! Those are the only clothes I have. I get a lot of compliments on my clothes. They’re pretty unique. I hate it when they ask, “Where did you get that,” and I say, “Goodwill,” and their face…changes. I hate that.

Darth_Algar's avatar

No. I don’t wear second hand clothing and if I did I wouldn’t get them from the Goodwill. Make no mistake, Goodwill is not a charity. They are ran as a for-profit business, who’s registered as a non-profit, they justify their 501( c) status by employing people people with disabilities, then they exploit those people by taking advantage of a federal law that allows employers to pay those with disabilities less than minimum wage.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh! I got “This” at Goodwill just yesterday. I think I mentioned it yesterday. It’s a picture box. You put pictures in all 4 sides and on top. Then there are racks inside with room for 80 more pictures!

However, it makes my butt look big.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

I’ve shopped there for years. I shop there for jeans, capris and shorts. It is so easy to find a pair of womens pants that haven’t been worn or that were barely worn. I also take my 12 year old daughter there to shop for pants.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They really do have unique clothes, but it can be a hunt sometimes!

jca's avatar

I don’t. I’m not uppity but I feel the way @Darth_Algar feels about Goodwill.

I do have a coworker that gets great stuff there. She showed me a great leather jacket she got for $12. Real leather, great condition.

I went at Easter and got two baskets for a total of $7. Sometimes I’ll find something I can decoupage. In general, though, I avoid Goodwill.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, it may have a dark side to it, but it is a real blessing for poor people. I do hope you donate, even if you refused to shop there.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I usually give used clothes directly to people in my daughter’s school, or my own friends, or I give to Vietnam Veterans Association who pick them up.

Pachy's avatar

I’m far, far less self-conscious about what I wear than when I was working fulltime, but into buying apparel from any second-hand seller. I’m not proud or squeemish, I just don’t need to do it.

Pachy's avatar

Slight edit:

I’m far, far less self-conscious about what I wear than when I was working fulltime but still not into buying apparel from second-hand sellers.

I’m not proud or squeemish, I just don’t need to do it.

johnpowell's avatar

Nope. In high school we were the poors. Driving the hour to where older people lived to score the clothes of dead people is what we did on the weekends. My friends had a pretty strict policy of no logos unless it was a band t-shirt.

I still adhere to that policy.

My suit for prom was six bucks at St. Vinnies.

Even my sisters daughters do Goodwill (they are affluent). My sisters wedding was a few months ago and I was tasked with keeping them alive. I was all “Is there a Arby’s around here?” and while I got some Arby’s Melts and Curly Frys they raided Goodwiil.

However. I wasn’t thrilled that they didn’t need Goodwill but used it since it is still fashionable. They stole from kids in real need.

ragingloli's avatar

No. Most of my clothes are second hand.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Darth_Algar what is this law that allows for handicapped people to be paid less than minimum wage? What are the parameters? Are they people who already have housing and food and other living expenses provided for them through the government or some other organization and just need walking around money?

jca's avatar

http://www.cheatsheet.com/business/how-goodwill-industries-fails-to-show-good-will.html/?a=viewall

Fair Labor Standards Act enables people with disabilities to earn less. Read the article in the link.

jca's avatar

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-hrabe/the-worst-corporation-in-_b_1876905.html

Regional leaders make hundreds of thousands. Some may say this is fair compensation for the work that they do and in order to keep them from leaving the organization. Others may feel that it’s a bit much.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I read quite a bit. I googled it too. There has to be some caveat, but I couldn’t find it.

ucme's avatar

I had the butler pop along once & to my amazement he relayed to me that the establishment did not stock a single butler uniform, I mean…the nerve.
Not an entirely wasted trip though, on the way back he picked up the french maid outfits from the fancy dress store so it’s all good

Seek's avatar

I can’t remember the last time I bought new clothes, save for the $3 bathing suit top I just ordered directly from a Chinese sweatshop. It saved me many hours of angry crocheting.

In fact, yesterday I made myself three articles of clothing out of a bolt of fabric I got for free out of a guy’s pickup truck at a yard sale.

Before that, I got a couple of Minecraft t-shirts at the Salvation Army thrift store. One for my kid, one for me.

canidmajor's avatar

I have known a couple of people that were well served by Goodwill’s job counseling/training services and are now gainfully employed in the community because of it. I will shop there. I also shop at Salvation Army, and put money in their red buckets at the holidays because they do good work in my community, in spite of the vitriol spouted by anti-theists because they are a Christian organization.
If a group does a lot to benefit my community, I support them whole-heartedly.

Stinley's avatar

I buy a lot of stuff second hand. In the uk most charities have shops taking donations and selling them. Shops in An affluent town have a better selection usually. I go to car boot sales (like a yard sale but you drive your stuff to a central location) to buy second hand stuff as well. I buy clothes, toys, furniture, small electricals, China, anything at all. I get great quality stuff that going to land fill otherwise. I buy mostly secondhand.

Dutchess_III's avatar

There is a Salvation Army just a few blocks from a very wealthy sub division in Wichita. They had the BEST stuff.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_III ” There has to be some caveat, but I couldn’t find it.

Why do you think there has to be some caveat? Sometimes shitty laws just exist and people take advantage of them. And if the employees are receiving government aid that would not matter. The amount of aid you receive might be docked in accordance to your wages, but your employer cannot dock your wages because you are receiving aid.

Basically the idea behind the law is that a disabled person might be less productive, so they can be paid less. It’s shitty and exploitative, but it’s on the books nonetheless.

Dutchess_III's avatar

In @jca‘s link there was mention of a blind woman who worked for Goodwill. She said she couldn’t determine the sizes of the clothes because she was blind. I would think that would be the least of her worries. That kind of made no sense at all. Why would a blind person work at a task that really required eye sight?

jaytkay's avatar

@Stinley Shops in An affluent town have a better selection usually.

I went to the thrift shop in Beverly Hills and was disappointed that it wasn’t stuffed with luxury goods at bargain prices.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Vintage baby! Of course I would! If I found a beautiful dress in a charity shop that I loved, why would I care that it’s pre-owned? I can have it cleaned. People pay a fortune for vintage clothing. There are television programmes devoted to it. If you said ‘vintage’ rather than ‘charity’ or ‘goodwill’ people might think differently about these items. That 1940s Dior dress is still second-hand clothing, but people will pay thousands for it. As long as the clothes can be cleaned and aren’t damaged, it’s just another form of recycling and a fun one too!

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I didn’t get the 10-minute window!

I love this show. Dawn O’Porter is the host and she goes through people’s wardrobes, their mum or nanna’s wardrobes and then takes them to vintage shops to find outfits. They then rework the clothes to give them an update. I just wish we had more vintage shops here in Brisbane. We don’t have the population of the UK or US, so there isn’t the same range of clothes available. I also watch clothes shows about vintage shops in the US.

MooCows's avatar

Any and everything goes with jeans and that is about all I wear soooo
I have a closet full of Goodwill blazers and t shirts and vests and scarves
and so what I am saying is that everyone loves my clothes because i can
pop on a cheapie shirt with some cute jeans and the right fashion jewelry
and I am “Sharp”! I do spend money on my shoes and purse because I
think those tell people alot about you but otherwise I have a full wardrobe.
P.S. I stop at garage sales too!

ibstubro's avatar

I don’t remember the last time I bought something retail. Gloves at Menard’s for 75¢, maybe? My local Goodwill is nice, and the people working there are very nice. Most of them are pretty happy. Crystal, my favorite cashier, left for another job and came back.

I’ve been to the local Sheltered Workshop. I took free pictures for them, so they could make some sort of flyer. I understand that many of them would have no work if the company was required to pay minimum wage. I doubt the lowest paid workers have any real concept of money, but many of them seemed very proud of the work they were doing.
I don’t think it’s a bad law, and I don’t think Goodwill is abusing it. I’m actually proud of them for sticking to their guns – it’s a hell of a lot harder to pay 2 people $3.75 an hour than one person $7.25.
Admittedly, from the 2nd story,:
“more than 216,000 workers are eligible to earn less than minimum wage because of Section 14©, though many end up earning the full federal minimum wage of $7.25.”

Kardamom's avatar

Haven’t yet read the other answers, will do so after posting.

I would say that 90 percent of my wardrobe (except for socks and underwear) have come from thrift stores. I think they’re great. I find lots of stuff that I might not otherwise find at all, or for anything close to what I can afford, or consider a reasonable price, at a regular store. I like some vintage clothes and have a nice collection. I’m pretty sure every single pair of pants, and most of my tops, that I own came from a thrift store.

After I lost 30 lbs. 2 years ago, I had to get a whole new wardrobe. I think I spent 80 dollars. My mom and I went to one of our favorite thrift stores, and since she was with me, we also got the senior discount, but most items were under $3. I wore some leggings under a skirt so I could try on the skirts and pants over those. There was no dressing room. I also got 3 really sweet jackets.

I shop at thrift stores all the time. I’ve gotten some really great kitchen stuff, as well as clothes.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

Goodwill is the place to go when you need to put together a costume. I’ve turned my daughter into Mark Twain, Amelia Earhart and an elf for Christmas thanks to Goodwill.

ibstubro's avatar

You can shop for your underwear and socks at Goodwill, too, @Kardamom!

They buy the unsold inventory from Target and re-sell it, new with tags. I love Evolve Brand underwear and it’s not even available in my area, being a Target exclusive (and me having no Target). I have several pair I bought at the local Goodwill for 99¢ a pair, no more than 2 pair at a time.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Not at all. One of my favorite pieces of clothing came from Goodwill. It was a Chief Petty Officer’s Pea Coat, official U.S. Navy and the best quality. By the name tag sewn inside, it was formerly owned by a seaman named Roach. You pretty much have to join the Navy to get a real one and they are great looking and invaluable in the most bitter winter. Loved that coat. The experience hooked me on prowling Goodwill isles for things you can’t get in other stores.

Across the Indian River from wealthy Palm Beach, in working class West Palm Beach, is a Goodwill store and many second hand stores. They carry the cast-offs of the rich and famous of Palm Beach. There are designer clothes for ten dollars and less, clothes that cost hundreds of dollars per in Palm Beach stores and many worn only a couple of times. Best deals in America.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@ibstubro I have never seen underwear or socks at Goodwill. Never. Well, if they were brand new, still in the package kind of thing, yes. But never any donated ones. I can’t even seem to find any towels. :( :( :(

I find it odd that they do sell used bathing suits, but not underwear. People’s reactions to nothing more than their imagination blow me away.

Someone in our town accidentally donated a live hand grenade from WWII!!

ibstubro's avatar

Yes, @Espiritus_Corvus, Goodwills are by region. Even if there are no bargains in the store closest to Palm Beach (because they get shopped too hard), the other stores are likely to have great stuff.

@Dutchess_III Here they hang the men’s underwear up at the end of the men’s section, next to the baby clothes. As far as I know, they only carry new, never used.
There’s a new sock section, too.
I had a bag full of nice, clean, used soccer/ball socks and when I asked at Goodwill, they told me if they were used, they went straight to bulk cloth sales. I got the socks free, and I wanted to give the kids a chance at them, so I took them to a faith-based thrift.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How do you know they’re new?

Seek's avatar

I’ve just recently discovered that many Goodwill stores branch out on the Internet to sell stuff. There’s ebay and the Amazon marketplace, naturally, but they also have their own auction site as well!

I just finished off my son’s Harry Potter audiobook collection thanks to Goodwill’s ebay store.

ibstubro's avatar

@Dutchess_III The underwear I buy is sold individually priced, so the tags are still on them. Brands like Hanes that are originally sold in multi-packs still have the OP creases on them, and Goodwill doesn’t sell used socks and underwear. There’s no way for used socks and underwear to get into store.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, of course there is! Just like a live hand grenade got into our local store! It didn’t make it to the front, but it made it into the store. But, I’m sure if they look used, or look like they’re going to explode, they just frow them away.

I have never seen any underwear in our store, new or otherwise. Yet, I see used bathing suits all the time. So puzzling.

ibstubro's avatar

I guess the answer probably is:
Goodwill does not accept underwear or sock donations for resale.

Goodwill buys unsold inventory from Target and other retail sources. One day a clerk was looking for a price and told me that all the prices ending in “9” (as in 99¢) are inventory purchased from other stores.
The regions are run differently – hell, the stores are run differently. It might be that your store does not get underwear. My nearest store is stocked from St. Louis and there are a lot of stores to cast off unsold inventory.

Dutchess_III's avatar

…. EVERYTHING ends in .99, @ibstubro. Literally everything.

canidmajor's avatar

Except all the we got a week ago, cookbooks, clothing, and some plates that all ended in either .00 or .50.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Somebody dunt no how to work their pricing gun!

jca's avatar

Here the prices are even, i.e. “4.” or “3,” not ending in ”.99.”

Seek's avatar

Ours all end in eight, unless they’re in retail packaging.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ll look around next time I’m there. I do not remember ever seeing something that ended in anything other than .99. Maybe it’s just store policy. I mean, you get all this used stuff, who puts a value on it? Who determines these shoes are worth .39 more than those shoes? Who decides that basket is worth $3.24 and that one is worth $3.52?
When every thing is .99 the only number you have to change is the whole dollar one. In the link you provided, @jca, it stated that GW wants to see employees hang 100 garments in 32 minutes. I can imagine having to change the price constantly would slow them down and that would be unacceptable.

From the sound of it, it’s individual store policy.

Seek's avatar

Probably. In all the Goodwill stores in my area, every shirt is the same price. Every skirt is the same price, every pair of jeans, etc.

They have a separate “boutique” section where things with tags still on them are a few bucks more.

Dutchess_III's avatar

.99 is the standard in most pricing. Some people, like my husband read, ”$10.99” and say, “It’s ten dollars!” That’s what the advertisers count on. It got very bad when we had mowers that sold for $9999.99, and he’s sell it for $9,000. Seriously. Like, there goes most of our profit. I don’t know why he does that…but after all these years of getting kicked in the shin he’s coming around.

ibstubro's avatar

I bought 3 things at Goodwill today: $2.00, $2.00, & $2.00 (about $40 in value).
The local store policy is resale ends in .00, retail ends in .99.

I gotta love that kid with the 50¢ pricing gun!

In about another month I’ll have another Goodwill to compare. It will be from a different network, a different state. There’s one in that same network about 1½ hours away that has a Starbucks type coffee shop in it. Should be interesting.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was SO THRILLED when Goodwill came to my town. But…the kids were grown and gone by the time it happened. :( Before that the nearest one was 50 miles away. I only went when I was in the vicinity.

ibstubro's avatar

When the economy recovers, the thrift industry is going to be hugely overbuilt. “Used” is trendy right now, but, like all fads, it won’t last forever.

Goodwill is signing long term leases on buildings built for their use, everywhere I go. That’s insane. There’s no other market growing like that, and I don’t know of one that ever expanded that quickly and stayed healthy.
Thrifts are filling up prime real estate here in the Midwest because no other business is willing or able to expand at the moment. Savers will soon be on every corner in Chicago. Same as Goodwill – built to suit buildings.
Thrifts used to be seedy little places off the beaten path. Suddenly, they’re an “Industry”. The bubble has to burst.

ibstubro's avatar

^^ Speechify.
Moral: Enjoy your big-box thrift while you have it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Goodwill is a no brainer. I wish I’d thought of it. The only overhead you have are the buildings and the payroll. Geez….they make a 100% profit on everything they sell!!

jca's avatar

They’re paying the huge salaries to the CEOs in all regions. That’s where their profits are going.

ibstubro's avatar

Our Salvation Army was a in an old storefront in the older part of town, @Dutchess_III. There for decades. Great prices, high traffic and high turnover.

They built a brand new building on the street with the highest real estate values in town. Noe they have high traffic, high prices, and too few employees to keep the store stocked. Clothes are no longer sorted by size, books are not sorted by genre, and shoes (for example) aren’t even sorted, period.
There are now showcases with $100 used men’s boots and $50 Pyrex bowls. The ‘elders’ make arbitrary retail decisions, like, lamps go on a top shelf (literally) 6’ tall.

Understand that Kohl’s initially sells shirts for $75. Goodwill for $3. Competing for real estate probably isn’t a good plan for Goodwill, long-term, IMO.

jca's avatar

The average shirt in Kohls, with a sale and coupon, is about $15. That’s part of why I don’t buy at Goodwill. I am not sure I’ve seen a $75 shirt at Kohls, @ibstubro. If there are, (and there probably are), there’s usually a sale, 30 to 50% off and or a coupon, 15 to 30% off.

I know there are incredible bargains to be had in a store like Goodwill, but for regular clothes, which is what I usually wear, I’d prefer to look through a rack of my choice than a rack of many things with maybe not my size or something not that “fresh” looking. I know it’s a treasure hunt and it’s like a gamble.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@ibstubro

Pretty much. Once the hipster fad of wearing bummy, ill-fitting, outdated, “ironic” clothing passes the thrift industry is in for a huge shock.

ibstubro's avatar

I’m not sure your point, @jca.
My point is that Goodwill’s making a maximum of $3 per shirt and committed to paying the same overhead as Kohl’s.
The inventory of your $15 shirt probably averaged around $30 per shirt. On 33 shirts that’s $990 for Kohl’s. Versus Goodwill’s $99.

“Thrift” is hot right now, @Darth_Algar. “Repurposed”, as seen on Pinterest. Console TV’s made into dog beds for crying out loud. Or put the “bar” in barf.
Think of the time and money spent converting a $3 shirt!
This too shall pass.

Seek's avatar

@ibstubro – Meh, when you don’t have to pay for the nine year old Chinese slave children and the factory they live in, you save a lot of that overhead.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Going by the size of the freshly built, big-box Goodwill here what they save in sweatshop costs they make up for in heating, cooling and lighting. It is ridiculous for a thrift store to have the dimensions of a small aircraft hanger. But hey, at least the building and signage is large enough that you can see it from the Interstate.

ibstubro's avatar

Yes, it’s the conspicuous-consumption Big-Box approach I question, @Seek, @Darth_Algar. Not the concept of reusing consumer goods or providing jobs.

Either @jca doesn’t buy at Goodwill because the profits are going to the CEOs, or she buys at Kohl’s because she prefers the cookie-cutter convenience.
“Goodwill” was offered as an example of a thrift store, and “Kohl’s” was offered as an example of a big-box retail.

I don’t know why it’s so hard to say “Yes” to the OP. I know a lot of people that wouldn’t be caught dead wearing second-hand clothes. It doesn’t make me feel any differently about them.

Seek's avatar

I only buy clothes from Salvation Army on Wednesdays.

Everything is half-price.

ibstubro's avatar

The only local thrift that still sorts by size is a huge, faith-based store, @Seek, and that’s about the only place I shop for clothes, lately. Everyone’s closet is full-up.
(I shop for ½ dozen similarly-sized guys.)

jca's avatar

@ibstubro: My main reason is that I prefer the convenience of a regular store, and am a very good “sale shopper” that I can get very decent stuff at great prices at regular stores. I like that I can see a rack with something I like, and if the price is right, I can go through it and pick my size and be done. i like that I can go on a site and find something on clearance and with a sale code, get that item very cheap.

I am aware that many people love thrift shops and get great stuff and that’s great for them. When people tell me they got a used shirt for very cheap, that’s great! My reason for trying to avoid GW in general is that of the CEOs’ salaries. So my reasoning is two-fold. I am not averse to wearing used clothes. If someone I know gives me something used and it fits and it looks good, it’s a great thing.

Thrift shops are great, and GW is great for a lot of people. It’s not necessarily for me, as far as clothes go and that’s ok. That’s my choice.

Dutchess_III's avatar

By boycotting the CEO’s you’re also boycotting the jobs of a lot of people @jca. Maybe they can get away with paying less than minimum wage to some employees (I’m going to ask the employees next time I’m there) but how does your boycotting the store help them?

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: If I choose not to go there, I choose not to go there. I don’t see why I need to defend myself. I cited several reasons, not just the CEO’s.

I think they get quite enough business without my shopping there. I also choose not to get my pets from pet stores. Pet stores have enough business that my not shopping there is not putting them out of business.

I honestly don’t get why my not shopping at Goodwill seems to irk people on this thread. I also don’t buy used clothes from anywhere not just GW. That’s my choice.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Dutchess_III

You could apply this mindset to anything. By choosing to eat at Burger King you’re harming the people who work at McDonald’s. By not consuming meat you’re harming worker who are only trying to feed their own families. By shopping at Goodwill you’re harming the people who work at other clothing retailers. And so on. No business is owed anyone’s patronage, and people make choices about which business to support each and every day for myriad of reasons. And no one owes anyone else any justification as to why they choose one business over another.

Also, those disabled folks who are being paid less than minimum – Goodwill doesn’t employ them at their retail outlets, as these folks aren’t necessarily equipped to deal with the public. Goodwill employs them in warehouses/distribution centers, where their tasks are more mechanical in nature. The people who work at their retail outlets are normal, able-bodied folks who can get the same kind of unskilled, minimum wage employment in any retail or fast food outlet.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good points, @Darth_Algar.

Do you happen to know the general level of disabilities? I’m asking again, are these people already cared for, housed, fed and just want to work for whatever reason? Do they have to support themselves or families?

Darth_Algar's avatar

Dude, I know Goodwill exploits this law. It’s perfectly legal, but still pretty shitty (in my view). That’s what I know. I’m not a documentarian or researcher, so no, I don’t have that kind of detailed information into these workers’ lives that you seem to want. And why does it matter if they have other means of support or not? Does that justify paying them less if they do?

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, I just don’t understand how it could possibly be legal unless there were special circumstances. I can see it being justified if their housing and all other care are already provided for and they have no out of pocket expenses.

My sister and BIL wouldn’t be caught dead in a Goodwill store. That’s where all those nasty poor people go to buy their nasty poor people clothes.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: In the links I provided, they talk about special salary rates for employers who employ disabled people. They cite specifics.

jca's avatar

Section 14© of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve been looking at it. They cited something about productivity.

jca's avatar

The productivity is not part of the FLSA. The wage is what the FLSA 14© talks about. Here’s a fact sheet on 14©. http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs39.htm

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, it is, @jca. That’s at the heart of the whole sub minimum wage thing. From your link, which I’ve already gone through ”A worker who has disabilities for the job being performed is one whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability,”

Seek's avatar

Hell, in my area, Goodwill “employees” are likely slave labor: People working off community service hours for misdemeanor probation, which is a service contracted and carried out as a ministry of the Salvation Army.

Don’t even get me started on how I feel about that whole situation.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t think that’s how it is here. Around here they have to work for the city, watering plants down town and picking up trash and stuff. And as soon as their 30 hours, or whatever, are done, they’re done.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess: Regardless, Goodwill is paying sub minimum wages under 14c. I just googled “14c disabilities Goodwill ” and there are investigations by legitimate news sources like NBC where they give specifics.

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK. I’ll be interested to hear the results of the investigations.

jca's avatar

They talk about people earning 3 dollars an hour. You have to Google it. I’m on the phone -can’t link to it now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I believe you.

ibstubro's avatar

“Questions have been raised in the media recently about one of the many tools that some Goodwill agencies use to help people with significant and multiple disabilities: the Special Minimum Wage Certificate, authorized under the Fair Labor Standards Act Section 14©. The Certificate is not a “loophole.” The Certificates are issued by the U.S. Department of Labor as an intentional policy specifically designed to create vocational opportunities for people with disabilities who otherwise would not have them. Certificate holders are required by law to determine the wages by a time study; otherwise, they would fail to remain authorized certificate holders. The certificate is one of the many tools a Goodwill agency might use in assisting an individual with disabilities gain skills and be a part of a workforce after assessing his/her capabilities, abilities, wants and desires. That is informed choice.”

Goodwill

Honestly I think you have to see the disabled people who are earning less than minimum wage at work to understand. I have. Many of them have their needs completely cared for, and the job is simply away of giving them purpose and building self esteem.

ibstubro's avatar

I actually read this:

(h) In establishing piece rates for workers with disabilities, the following criteria shall be used:

(1) Industrial work measurement methods such as stop watch time studies, predetermined time systems, standard data, or other measurement methods (hereinafter referred to as “work measurement methods”) shall be used by the employer to establish standard production rates of workers not disabled for the work to be performed. The Department will accept the use of whatever method an employer chooses to use. However, the employer has the responsibility of demonstrating that a particular method is generally accepted by industrial engineers and has been properly executed. No specific training or certification will be required. Where work measurement methods have already been applied by another employer or source, and documentation exists to show that the methods used are the same, it is not necessary to repeat these methods to establish production standards.

(i) The piece rates shall be based on the standard production rates (number of units an experienced worker not disabled for the work is expected to produce per hour) and the prevailing industry wage rate paid experienced nondisabled workers in the vicinity for essentially the same type and quality of work or for work requiring similar skill. (Prevailing industry wage rate divided by the standard number of units per hour equals the piece rate.).

(ii) Piece rates shall not be less than the prevailing piece rates paid experienced workers not disabled for the work doing the same or similar work in the vicinity when such piece rates exist and can be compared with the actual employment situations of the workers with disabilities.

(2) Any work measurement method used to establish piece rates shall be verifiable through the use of established industrial work measurement techniques.

(i) If stop watch time studies are made, they shall be made with a person or persons whose productivity represents normal or near normal performance. If their productivity does not represent normal or near normal performance, adjustments of performance shall be made. Such adjustments, sometimes called “performance rating” or “leveling” shall be made only by a person knowledgeable in this technique, as evidenced by successful completion of training in this area. The persons observed should be given time to practice the work to be performed in order to provide them with an opportunity to overcome the initial learning curve. The persons observed shall be trained to use the specific work method and tools which are available to workers with disabilities employed under special minimum wage certificates.

(ii) Appropriate time shall be allowed for personal time, fatigue, and unavoidable delays. Generally, not less than 15% allowances (9–10 minutes per hour) shall be used in conducting time studies.

(iii) Work measurements shall be conducted using the same work method that will be utilized by the workers with disabilities. When modifications such as jigs or fixtures are made to production methods to accommodate special needs of individual workers with disabilities, additional work measurements need not be conducted where the modifications enable the workers with disabilities to perform the work or increase productivity but would impede a worker without disabilities. Where workers with disabilities do not have a method available to them, as for example where an adequate number of machines are not available, a second work measurement should be conducted.

(i) Each worker with a disability employed on a piece rate basis should be paid full earnings. Employers may “pool” earnings only where piece rates cannot be established for each individual worker. An example of this situation is a team production operation where each worker’s individual contribution to the finished product cannot be determined separately. However, in such situations, the employer should make every effort to objectively divide the earnings according to the productivity level of each individual worker.

(j) The following terms shall be met for workers with disabilities employed at hourly rates:

(1) Hourly rates shall be based upon the prevailing hourly wage rates paid to experienced workers not disabled for the job doing essentially the same type of work and using similar methods or equipment in the vicinity. (See also §525.10.)

(2) An initial evaluation of a worker’s productivity shall be made within the first month after employment begins in order to determine the worker’s commensurate wage rate. The results of the evaluation shall be recorded and the worker’s wages shall be adjusted accordingly no later than the first complete pay period following the initial evaluation. Each worker is entitled to commensurate wages for all hours worked. Where the wages paid to the worker during pay periods prior to the initial evaluation were less than the commensurate wage indicated by the evaluation, the employer must compensate the worker for any such difference unless it can be demonstrated that the initial payments reflected the commensurate wage due at that time.

(3) Upon completion of not more than six months of employment, a review shall be made with respect to the quantity and quality of work of each hourly-rated worker with a disability as compared to that of nondisabled workers engaged in similar work or work requiring similar skills and the findings shall be recorded. The worker’s productivity shall then be reviewed and the findings recorded at least every 6 months thereafter. A review and recording of productivity shall also be made after a worker changes jobs and at least every 6 months thereafter. The worker’s wages shall be adjusted accordingly no later than the first complete pay period following each review. Conducting reviews at six-month intervals should be viewed as a minimum requirement since workers with disabilities are entitled to commensurate wages for all hours worked. Reviews must be conducted in a manner and frequency to insure payment of commensurate wages. For example, evaluations should not be conducted before a worker has had an opportunity to become familiar with the job or at a time when the worker is fatigued or subject to conditions that result in less than normal productivity.

(4) Each review should contain, as a minimum and in addition to the data cited above, the following: name of the individual being reviewed; date and time of the review; and, name and position of the individual doing the review.

ibstubro's avatar

The short version is that disabled people unable to hold a regular job may be employed at a per-piece rate that is comparable to a non-disabled person.

So, the rate Goodwill pays is the same regardless of how many people do the work. But the more employees, the higher the administrative costs.

Dutchess_III's avatar

“Honestly I think you have to see the disabled people who are earning less than minimum wage at work to understand. I have. Many of them have their needs completely cared for, and the job is simply away of giving them purpose and building self esteem.” That’s what I suspected, and was trying to determine. I’ll look at the Wall of Words tomorrow at work.

Thanks @ibstubro.

ibstubro's avatar

You can take my short version at face, @Dutchess_III, if you like. It just describes how the pay per piece is to be determined.

I also read that, since the people are disabled, Goodwill has to account for their time as long as they are on the premises. So if a disabled person hangs a dozen items, there is a problem that stops them working, and transportation doesn’t arrive before the hour is up, the wage for the hour is 6 items. Apparently the workers under the certificate aren’t clocked in or out, or expected to do more than they…well…do.
Given that “X” amount of work is accomplished regardless, it seems like the easiest thing for Goodwill to do is eliminate the disabled positions and just hire more minimum wage workers that produce a steady amount of work at a steady wage with minimal administration.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, I believe you. I still want to try an read it myself. It’s a challenge, ya know.
So do you think they’re helping them rather than taking advantage of them @ibstubro?

Dutchess_III's avatar

This sounds like a response to the ADA that was signed into law in 1990.

ibstubro's avatar

I think the program almost certainly has to be costing Goodwill money that it does not have to spend. Extra administration, supervision, bookkeeping.

I’m actually impressed that they’ve refused to cave to the pressure surrounding their employment of severely disabled people. The easiest thing to do would be to quit hiring disabled people that can’t compete for minimum wage jobs.

ibstubro's avatar

Response to NBC News Reports on Special Minimum Wage Certificates

”“The Special Minimum Wage Certificate allows employers to focus on what workers with the most significant and multiple disabilities can do rather than penalizing them for what they can’t do. It is a tool that some community-based Goodwill agencies use to provide a safe, nurturing environment where people with the most significant disabilities can advance to reach their full employment potential — whatever level that may be. As a leading advocate for people with disabilities, we at Goodwill are always happy for a chance to further the discussion about the best ways to help people with significant disabilities enter the workforce and live happier, more fulfilled lives.””

Dutchess_III's avatar

@jca from your first link, another reference to productivity: ”Section 14© of the FLSA allows employers to pay wages below the federal minimum to employees who have disabilities that directly affect their job performance.”

Also from your first link: “Goodwill Industries ® is North America’s leading nonprofit provider of employment training, job placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face other challenges to employment.
In 2012,165 independent Goodwill agencies in the United States and Canada collectively provided employment training and job placement services to approximately 6.7 million people.

To my mind, it doesn’t sound like they’re taking advantage of these people. Quite the opposite. They’re offering them employment they can’t otherwise get. For example, (also from your first link): These community based or center-based jobs provide opportunities for individuals to work while benefiting from ongoing supportive services that help them maintain their job security and/or advancing their careers.” (Bolding mine)

Their reason for having a job does not include supporting themselves. They benefit from “ongoing support services,” that aren’t available to the average, non-disabled worker.

I agree with @ibstubro. Employing people with disabilities is probably not profitable, just humanitarian. But Goodwill is rich. They can easily absorb the hit.

jca's avatar

In the NBC article, they reference a blind couple who did seem to support themselves. Not all disabled people live in supportive housing.

Whatever – my reasons for not shopping there are multiple and it’s a personal choice for everyone.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think the conversation took a different direction a while back, @jca. We were just trying to get to the bottom of this “sub-minimum wage” issue. It didn’t have anything to do with you shopping there. I agree. If you don’t want to shop there, don’t shop there.

I still can’t fathom how a blind person could work in a position that required them to visually make so many assessments about an article of clothing, or a trinket, or a piece of furniture. But maybe I’m still missing something. I’m still researching.

ibstubro's avatar

Harold and Sheila Leigland were quoted in the NBC article and several other articles I read. The latent journalist in me wants to follow up:

Sheila quit Goodwill, Harold did not. Why?

Sheila was making $3-something an hour when she had a health issue that took her off the job for a time. When she returned, her certificate required a re-evaluation, and she was backed down to $2.75 an hour during the temporary evaluation period. She chose to quit instead. Was her Goodwill income required to maintain their lifestyle, and if so, how did she replace it?

In numerous articles, Sheila said Goodwill had them doing work they were not suited to – hanging tops. According to Sheila, because they are blind, the Leiglands are not able to maintain a steady pace sorting the clothing by size. Goodwill sorts clothing by men, women and children, not size.

Other articles I read had similar glaring discrepancies. One woman claimed she was only paid 1¢ per article of clothing hung, then stated she had to ‘hang 100 tops to make 50¢ an hour’. Yes, she is allowed to make any error under the sun. In my book the news organization has a responsibility to ask questions until there is a substantiated story, or not.

Typical “make-news” to fill the 24 hour news cycle, is all I’ve really seen.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have to ask what work a blind person would be suited to in Goodwill retail outlet?

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III There was a hardware store in our town owned by a man and his wife. His wife was blind and she ran the till. I think you may have a limited view of the capabilities of the blind.

Strauss's avatar

When I was growing up, there was newsstand/snack shop at the courthouse that was owned and operated by a blind man.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ha ha! I have a “limited” view! That’s funny, @jca!
At every hard ware store I go to they have everything tagged so it can be scanned.
At the Goodwill here they aren’t set up to scan. They enter the price into the cash register by hand, ergo they have be able to read it.
Also, at our Goodwill the cashier doesn’t just stand there waiting for customers. If there are no customers to check out, they’re hanging up clothing. How would a blind person know what item of clothing she has, what size it is and whether it’s men’s or women’s?...Oh wait. Our example, Sheila, said they can’t.

@Yetanotheruser a news stand / snack shop has a very limited number of items. A blind person can easily feel the difference between a newspaper, a magazine, a book and a bag of M&M’s. Goodwill has literally thousands of dissimilar items.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: I didn’t say you have a limited view. @janbb did.

jca's avatar

@Yetanotheruser: The courthouse here has the same thing. Also, there was a local cafe at the train station that had a blind person working at it. Unfortunately, they ended up getting hit by a train in a tragic accident. We can never figure out how the guy in the courthouse keeps track of the money. We wonder if he can see just a little bit because he obviously has some kind of system and it obviously works. If it didn’t work, he’d be ripped off and go out of business.

Seek's avatar

I wonder, @janbb

Remember my question about the blind man’s YouTube videos? He said the main thing he has to worry about when dealing with business transactions is having to trust people are handing him the bills they say they are.

He said he gets ripped off a lot, and that’s why he only goes to two or three places regularly.

Seek's avatar

@dutchess

They could sort donations into areas, definitely. Kids clothing, adults clothing, jackets, dresses, jeans, skirts, etc, curtains and blankets, knock knacks, electronics, art, whatever.

ibstubro's avatar

I don’t know why a blind person would have a problem sorting men’s, women’s and children’s tops with a fair degree of accuracy.
The side the button is on and relative size should be pretty accurate.

Knits are a problem. I find knits ‘misfiled’ in our local Goodwill quite a bit. Size “Large” in the men’s department that is obviously either boy’s or women’s, by the size. There are short “stock racks” at the end of the clothing racks, and I just hang them there if they don’t belong in an area I’m familiar with.

At our local Sheltered Workshop the seniority woman feeding the paper into the paper shredder was blind.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, they could do that, @Seek. Yes, they can feed paper into a shredder, @ibstubro. That’s why I don’t understand why they had a blind person hanging up clothes, unless they were presorted by someone else.

@ibstubro how would a person know the difference between men’s clothing and women’s by touch? What is the difference between a woman’s large sweater and a man’s small?

Seek's avatar

I’ve been shopping at thrift stores for a long time @Dutchess_III.

Most of the sighted employees can’t tell that difference.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL! I know! I run into that on occasion!

ibstubro's avatar

I was referring to buttoned clothing, @Dutchess_III.
You can tell buttoned clothing by the side the button is on. As I said (or meant to say) in my last post, knits would be a problem.

My Goodwill separates menswear into buttoned and knit, long and short sleeve.

Dutchess_III's avatar

That button thing is SO annoying. I think they’re phasing that out.

But if a person is blind how do they know this knitted sweater, or long or short sleeved shirt is a man’s or a woman’s or a child’s?

Seek's avatar

@Dutchess_III – Practice? Just thinking about it: If a t-shirt on the small side has really thick screen-printing, it’s probably a child’s t-shirt. Adults’ screen-printed tees are made with thinner coating for comfort, kids’ is done with a thick coating for bright colors.

A long-sleeved shirt with a v-neck is more likely women’s. T-shirts aren’t separated into men’s and women’s in my stores – just a big wall of adult tee shirts.

They probably have several people doing the final sort, and have the person with limitations reasonably accommodated by having them do the first sort.

The fact that they can’t separate a pair of men’s jeans from a pair of womens’ jeans quickly doesn’t mean sorting everything into “jeans” and “not jeans” isn’t incredibly helpful to the whole store. Someone else likely has the job of sorting jeans into “men’s” and “women’s” – though in my experience they’re not great at their job.

Ask my brother about the time he spent a month wearing a women’s leather jacket before he visited me and I let him in on the magic of the fitted cut.

ibstubro's avatar

“Is this jacket a men’s or women’s?”
“Does it fit?”
“Yes! I love it!”
“Then why even ask?”

Dutchess_III's avatar

I see your points, @Seek, and I totally agree. I just keep referring back to the woman who someone cited above, who said she couldn’t determine the sizes of the clothes because she was blind.

Strauss's avatar

Goodwill in Denver has an boutique-type store in Denver. It’s called Deja-Blue Boutique, and it is in one of the more upscale parts of town.

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