"Goodwill can purchase from Target overstock or open packaged items that do not sell in Target stores," says Danielle Cronin, a spokeswoman for Goodwill. "So we purchase at a percentage of the lowest marked price the items that are deemed 'salvage' by Target. From there, Goodwill prices and sells this product accordingly to generate revenues."
Because Goodwill pays for Target merchandise, it is never discounted from the price Goodwill marks on it the first time. Unsold items from Target overstock are documented, and Goodwill uses the value as credit to purchase more Target overstock.
Since clothing items follow a particular pricing model, there are times pieces will be priced slightly higher at Goodwill than their lowest marked Clearance price at Target. Target stickers are, however, removed.
For home goods, the pricing process is a bit different.
Bell says he prices items at about 50 percent of their listed UPC price. If he isn't sure what an item normally costs, he scans the product's barcode and looks it up on his smartphone. In other cases, he collaborates with co-workers.
On this particular morning, Bell was working on a pallet from the Target store at Peninsula Town Center in Hampton. The Goodwill store in Hampton receives one or two pallets twice a week. The rest of the store's merchandise is donated.
"You want to get it right the first time so it will sell," he says. "Customers will tell you if you get it wrong. They're in here with their smartphones, too. They know what things cost."
A toy truck, in from Target, was priced at $16, for example. The box was open, but all of the pieces were included.
Bell said $8 was still too high for the toy, and he marked it at $6.50.
A small filing cabinet from Target, originally priced at $65, came in with a dent on the side. Bell hammered out the dent, put the cabinet together and priced it at $30, just a bit lower than 50 percent off, because the small dent was still visible.
By the pound
Once priced, goods are placed onto a wire rack. Each rolling unit must contain $143 of priced products.
The items that don't sell in the Goodwill retail store come back to the warehouse and are placed into blue bins that will be carted onto the outlet center where everything is sold by the pound.
Bins stay on the floor for about a day, maybe a day-and-a-half, and then they are brought back into the warehouse. The clothes are packaged for the salvage vendors and the home goods — everything but clothing — are dumped for trash.
"The goal is to take and use it somehow, not to go in the trash," Murdock says. "We have lots of partnerships, like the Free Foundation for medical adaptive equipment, and Shared Knowledge for textbooks, to keep items out of the trash."
Paitsel can be reached at 247-4737 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to shop
Here are the thrift stores open on the Peninsula:
Goodwill, 1911 Saville Row, Hampton
Goodwill, 12638 Jefferson Ave., Newport News