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A hand up not a hand out…

Most of you know that I recently released a book to Amazon’s Kindle platform called Amazon Mom – One Woman’s Journey from Mom to Successful Online Entrepreneur.  I was great to get my story out there and hopefully inspire others who are or have been in my shoes to make their own success story.  I have gotten the most wonderful comments, reviews, and emails from people all over the country and it has been an incredible journey so far.

But, if you thrift and resell items yourself you will know that not everyone agrees with what you do.  Case in point, I recently had a reader leave this one star review for me:

“I was appalled., July 25, 2014
This review is from: Amazon Mom: One Woman’s Journey from Mom to Successful Online Entrepreneur (Kindle Edition)
When I give to Goodwill I expect that people who cannot afford it under normal circumstances will be able to buy it. It never occurred to me that someone who was better off would take advantage of both the donor and the poor by buying items to turn a profit on ebay or amazon. I can honestly say that I regret buying this book”
Ouch.
On one hand I can see where she is coming from and I believe it is a good place.  Yes, it is great to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves and I don’t believe anybody sets out in this business with the mindset that they are intending to make the poor suffer.  But, on the other hand she doesn’t see the big picture.  Yes, Goodwill does a tremendous amount to help others but they do not exist to distribute inexpensive items to communitiies.  Those thrift stores they run are for the sole purpose of funding their objective which is to provide job training, employment placement services, and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities.  The bottom line is that they don’t care who buys the items just that they are sold.  And as a reseller we are some of the biggest supporters of this cause by spending a large chunk of our inventory funds with them.
And personally I don’t just buy from Goodwill I also donate there.  A lot.  So, do I feel bad about sourcing inventory from thrift stores?  No.  Not a bit. I am doing what I can to support my family and anyone who shops there is free to do the same.  The Goodwills I have shopped at not only expect resellers they welcome us.  It helps them move more product and turn a faster profit which in turn helps them to fulfill their mission of helping others in the community.Does the general population who donates to Goodwill believe their items are being passed along to those that need them?  Maybe, but if that is the true intention you are better off finding a shelter or community center that can put the items right into use.
I’ve been thinking about it lately as I work on my second book which is focused specifically on thrifting and how to make it work for you.  I’m sure there will be those that think it is a horrible way to make a living and that is ok. I would definitely recommend the reviewer above not read it.  But, I believe there are many more that will read it and be given the tools to make their own situation better.
In my opinion, a hand up is always better than a hand out.
What do you think?

3 comments

  1. I completely agree with you. Goodwill’s purpose is to train and equip people buy using their stores as job training grounds. Goodwill is not focused on only serving lower income people with lower priced items at all. Goodwill wants their items sold as fast as possible to whoever is willing to pay. Goodwill usually has to throw away a lot of items simply because they don’t have the room on their shelves for everything that is donated. I’m sorry that this person reviewed your book and incorrectly attacked you based on assumed and incorrect information. Can’t wait for your next book!

  2. Hi Stacy,
    I agree with you, I source from the thrift stores here in my area. I don’t have GW near by, but it’s the same and people just don’t see the big picture. I wish people had more of an open mind and could understand that we are just making a living.

    Neechi

  3. Stephen – thank you!! That is an excellent point about GW throwing away items if they aren’t sold! I think people just don’t think it all the way through. I am not that bothered by the negative review … I think if anything it gives others looking to sell online a better idea of the information in my book. It took everything I had not to reply to the comment there though. lol Neechi – People definitely don’t see the big picture! I do think it is getting better with the recent popularity of thrifting and picking tv shows but there is still a long way to go. The thrift stores need customers and we are their best customers by far.
    Thanks to both of you for reading and taking the time to comment!

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