Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Secondhand Happenings Goodwill World Tour 2010

Secondhand Happenings had a very eventful day on Saturday. It was half price day at Goodwill, and following the map on the left, we ventured out to eleven different stores. We hit the Castleton Goodwill at 9 a.m. and closed down the East Washington store at 9 p.m. with great success and many a McDonald's sweet tea in between. We took notes after each stop and wanted to share our findings with our readers, to help you navigate the wild and woolly world of the half price sale.

It should also be noted that we were after something very specific: vintage dishes and flatware. Secondhand Happenings is starting up a unique special occasion rental service, offering a bouquet of vintage and antique dinner and dessert plates, mugs and silverware. We have three events on the horizon, so we knew that we had to build our inventory very quickly. The half price day was the perfect opportunity and we were able to add hundreds of one-of-a-kind items to our collection in a single day! We'll have more information on this special service very soon.
And now, on to the World Tour!

We started our day at at the Castleton Goodwill. I could hardly believe it was half price day! We parked the car with ease, took one of the many free carts, and at checkout time there was no waiting in line. Besides the fact that we paid half of the marked price, there were no indications that anything special was happening.

Next up was the 96th street Goodwill in Fishers. This atmosphere was more like the half price days that I was accustomed to: busy and crowded with a frantic feel in the air. Notable moments were sightings of a little girl jumping rope in the middle of an aisle and a grown woman testing out a children's toy horse on wheels. Despite the swarms of people, we only waited a few minutes for checkout and they displayed excellent customer service by paging a "box for dishes" when we were still two carts deep in line. We had great success at this Goodwill and it was apparent that we would need it.

This place was hoppin', and by far the busiest Goodwill of the day. Erika had to create her own parking space. We found the least amount of items here and waiting the longest in line: a ridiculous 50 minutes. A notable moment occurred during the 50 minute wait, during which we were behind a mother and her months-old baby. An elderly woman approached the mother with a pair of pink ruffled bloomers, to which she said "um... it's a boy". I was also able to read "How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head" by Bill Peet while waiting, which was delightful. All in all, this is the Goodwill that I would be the most inclined to skip on a future half price day.

This store was heaven for flatware. At the previous stops, we found knives but very little forks or spoons. That changed in Noblesville! Erika found some neat stickers. At this point we realized that we were beginning to see the familiar faces of fellow half price hoppers. With ease of parking and a speedy checkout, the Noblesville Goodwill has our stamp of approval.

(insert McDonald's break here)

This store was quiet and easy to navigate. It was a jackpot for plates, and the other customers were very friendly and curious about our designs for our cart full of dishes.

This store has always been a favorite of mine. Parking was a bit troublesome, but the thoughtful folks here provided traffic control! They had a great selection of new items from Target.

Customer service was efficient but not very friendly. Parking was a breeze. Elizabeth almost bought a record entitled " Exercising Together", an intimate 80's workout regime for couples.

This store was very crowded and claustrophobic. There were multiple hold-ups in line for no apparent reason. Our cashier scanned and wrapped each item individually, though we tried to protest because of the time and effort it took to wrap them when we would most likely have to unwrap and stack them to fit them in the car. She kept insisting with "I've got a system for this". Liz had a bit of a conflict in the silverware bin with an aggressively shopping personal-space-invader. This Goodwill was also filled with terrible and inconsistent prices. Erika found two of the same vases, one of which was marked .99 and the other 2.99. We left with such unpleasant sentiments about this Goodwill that we decided to take a break and check out the Salvation Army across the street.

Even after such a distasteful Goodwill experience, this Salvation Army Store left us feeling eager to resume our Goodwill World Tour. Most of the dishes were chipped, dirty and of course discount-free.

(Insert McDonald's sundaes and small fries here)

At this point Erika's car was so full of dishes that we had to go to Broad Ripple, our starting point, and switch it for Elizabeth's dish-free vehicle.

We arrived around 5:00 p.m., and it definitely felt as though we were experiencing the calm after a violent storm. The toy aisle was just that: toys scattered all over the aisle. It seemed picked over, as it should at such an hour on half price day. As we exited the store, a lady who was entering commented to her friend "I saw her at the last store".

We didn't find too many dishes here, but Erika found a desk and chair! They had an unusual amount of new Target furniture here, and very friendly customers and staff.
In the same strip mall as the Goodwill was a place called Somali Coffee Shop. We were in need of caffeine and a bathroom, so we decided to stop in. We quickly realized that "coffee shop" meant "hookah bar". Elizabeth and I ordered coffee to go while Erika went on a hunt for the bathroom. In her bathroom search, she managed to knock down a wobbly door! The coffee was terrible, but the laughs were worth the $3 spent.

This Goodwill is very special because the blue fluorescent lettering had serifs! Serif Goodwills are extremely rare, with such fonts being frowned upon by the Goodwill corporation. I find them to be friendly and inviting. Erika deemed this the dirtiest Goodwill of the day. It could have been because this was out last stop and our minds were beginning o wander, but we found the most unique items here for ourselves. Notable about this Goodwill were the gorgeous antique plates that we scooped up and the unusual amount of bad parenting that we observed.

After 12 hours of thrifting and hundreds of bargains, we were more than ready to return home. We hope these notes can be helpful to you on your own Goodwill World Tour!

With love, Secondhand Happenings


  1. Hi! Love your blog! I found you via Monica. What kind of vintage kitchen ware are you looking for? I have a box of melmac that I would gladly send you for the cost of shipping, if you want it. Let me know what else you are looking for and I will see if I have anything you might like.
    About a month ago I bought about 45 pieces of Vintage Fiesta at an auction. I bought 2 pieces separate. Then they sold what was left, 42 pieces for one price! Yikes! But I love Fiesta! So I have some listed on eBay and will be keeping some of it. My id on eBay is daddysattic.
    I sell a lot of stuff on eBay, but if I know you want something let me know. I have a lot of stuff sitting around that I have not gotten listed. I would be glad to make you a deal on it!

  2. Hi Dee! It's nice to meet you! (Monica is the best!)
    Melmac dishes are lovely, but we are actually looking for ceramic dish ware. Thank you so much for the offer! It is so exciting to meet kindred spirits via the blogosphere! We will keep an eye on your ebay store!!

  3. Ya...she is a sweetie, and my niece! :)
    I have an old coffee pot that is glass and has two pieces, it is missing a lid tho. I can send a pic if you are interested.

  4. so glad i got to see you guys today! your goodwill summaries made me laugh...i'm pretty jealous of liz's '80s exercise record. see you again soon i hope!!

  5. you didnt go to the goodwill on keystone?? right in broad ripple? that one is really pretty awesome!

  6. Dear littlenavajo, that's my (Laura's) favorite Goodwil1! Since the majority of us live in broad ripple, we planned on finishing the day there. Unfortunantly, the day ended first. :(