A number of readers have called me snobby and elitist for saying so, but why do thrift stores continue to get away with dirty floors and dressing rooms, crappy merchandise and smelly stores? I don’t care how poor a person is, it’s just human nature to prefer shopping in a clean, well-lit place that doesn’t stink. Are there really that many people, employed or unemployed, who prefer to sift through broken knickknacks, defective small appliances and stained clothing in search of a rare item of value that they can brag about?
For-profit thrift stores such as Unique Thrift in the Twin Cities get it. The employees keep the store and shelves clean and tidy. Prices might be slightly higher than Salvation Army, but customers don’t have to waste time digging for their size because all clothing is sized at Unique. I’m appalled that the management at Salvation Army in Minneapolis’ warehouse district allows dirty floors, merchandise clutter, and bad smells to continue on a daily basis.
It seems to me that if charities cleaned up their act and ran their stores like a business, they would become more profitable. Those profits could then be poured back into the cause, a win-win for all. And since so many workers at thrift stores are volunteers, they wouldn’t be adding a lot of expense.
There must be something I’m missing here. Board members, charitable executives, thrifters, my lines are open.