This is a new business model for Goodwill. It's the worst run business in this area. As a former business consultant for two corporations & a business school program director (because as a 2nd generation tourism professional I've even competed against my mother and understand grueling competition). I believe as a model it was one of the worst in the country. The Portland, Mercury has an article on line "Ecosystem of Addicted Shoppers and Crap at the Goodwill Bins" researched by Justin Wescoat Sanders depicting dangerous conditions, including injuries from cuts. The Santa Cruz Sentinel has an article "Goodwill stores aim to improve bottom line" from the fall of 2006 by Jondi Gumz describing problems with this business model. Additionally, various individual complaints can be found on google about dirty and dangerous conditions
I've just recovered from a year long bacterial infection that appears to have resulted from my shopping at this store. I was working out & in good condition until then.
Although in the beginning various handicapped people were working the cash registers, this facility is supposed to be for them to learn, by mid year in their first year in business, that wasn't possible.
The floor had become too dangerous for a handicapped worker in a wheel chair to be working on the sales floor. Although the United Nations this year passed a Resolution supporting the rights of the handicapped, the U.S. has not Ratified it.
This store opened in January 2006 three days a week. They sold most items for .40 a pound. I went to find a cheap iron and didn't stop going until 6 months later. In the summer of 2006 I had a few complaints at both federal and state agencies against this store. Most of them asking that this store be forced to meet federal and state standards of health and safety, including OSHA regulations.
The Goodwill Outlet of Lakeland is located in a very small space as part of a training plaza for the handicapped. It's further funded by the State of Florida, Department of Children Services (DCF) that itself has a long history of missing abuse.
Nationwide Goodwill is opening stores to resell items that do not sell at the larger Goodwill stores. Many people believe the retail stores are overpriced. BINS containing the leftover merchandise are brought out on the floor. The bins are not sorted, often containing broken glass, knives, razors and sometimes children whose parents were using the bins to contain wandering toddlers. Women come with babies.
By the summer of 2006 I had been cut deeply by a razor on a kitchen product; cut again by a razor after I was told Goodwill was sorting the products better; and stabbed with knifes that were sitting upwards in the bin. Someone thanked me because had I not been stabbed she would have been. You'll find other reports of sharp objects and injury at this business model nationwide in the article above.
This would genuinely be a good place for persons collecting gear for a start up business, as many people like myself were, except for the dealers who are there to buy and resell. Now, the reason for the real problems at this business model. They are selling GOLD. Gold can be found at the bottom of some bins, computer towers for $1 and ceiling fans/electronics for $2. Items are often
new, that is the biggest positive.
As the year progressed Dealers began to take sides and to buy things for each other, engaging in mobbing to deliberately bait, defame, and get rid of the competition.
Two articles online support that this business model encourages this type of behavior, it's a nationwide problem at these stores.
As a human rights advocate and victim, I've never known selling or giving used stuffed animals to poor children as a good deed. But then again I was a child with respiratory failures and allergies. One Reseller, with a store, who at one time refused my offer to be given a very expensive V tech toy that I had picked up - because she didn't want any more of that monitor computer stuff - later changed her mind for a 133 MHz laptop not as expensive or nice as the Vtech toy, as Compaq didn't put Bios on their first laptops most of them take a high degree of technical experience and extra parts to fix, I happen to have both of those.
Defamation was done under the noses of the management and done with the encouragement of management. Management admitted to me favoring a former Goodwill employee who moved there and was dealing, reselling. When the manager was asked to take an active role to prevent the inevitable fighting that occurs, as one Seattle dealer described in an online article, she was belligerent. She got on top of a table, to address the crowd, telling them she was too old for this, making an announcement about changes on the floor. A place she rarely was.
Often heavy lifting, which many of the women and some of the men will not do, needs to be done. If a dealer doesn't want an item they hand it off for someone to take from them. Don't make the mistake of thinking because 2 minutes before they handed off something that their arm extended this time means the same thing.
Dealers will grab the first items out from under the items lifted before it's safe. Some of the women in the beginning refused to stand in line and cut in front of people, all of this was never controlled by management. Violence escalated as the year passed. As the
internet articles suggest some dealers bring family members and specialize in forcing other people out. The ludicrousness of an elderly woman putting her arms and rear out to block another shopper, pushing them into a handicapped person, so her son can get ahead is beyond belief. As is accusing them of potential child abuse or bragging about the need to carry weapons places. The actions of dealers crossed the line from
capitalism to unlawful behavior repeatedly.
This place was rife with many other deviant behaviors. I was sanctioned for telling a man who called me the C--- word to get some mental health help, because the women in management actually enjoyed watching other women abused. This is not my opinion, I was told to my face by a manager that I probably liked it when men were crude. I read half of Waiting for Godot & Confucius while waiting in line for the opening to avoid listening to sometimes very vicious commentary about other shoppers. I suggest you take Sun Tzu: The Art of War.
I believe it would be very helpful if this place had much more competition from the needy and not the greedy, which is why I filed complaints against this organization which is serving private interests of dealers with a connection to Goodwill.
It should also be said that the handicapped do not have to be paid even minimum wage and in this place they should! The training was minimal. When attempting to get a new handicapped toilet I had seen only the week before, a manager told me if it went unsold it was thrown out . Also, she stated they don't care about that stuff because the handicapped can get those for FREE from the Medicare system. TV news reported in 2006 the City of Tampa, FL is one of the worst in the country for people attempting to get disability benefits. Which illustrates the inability of persons working for this organization that is about the handicapped to understand the needs of the handicapped.
Many of the items I purchased there I donated myself to a homeless or animal shelter. I'm poor myself, but I was given a lecture that things like 60 brand new bath puffs
with men's soap (dial or similar) would never be given to the homeless by Goodwill because they ONLY help the handicapped.
The WASTE of donated items was becoming very apparent. Solid gold, didn't miners kill each other to protect their claims during the gold rush?
Shop at your own risk. One handicapped woman in a wheelchair had her cane stolen from her, luckily she could buy another one there for .40 cents. I had met her when I hit her by accident with a spiral hose. It was still filed with water, which I didn't know when I attempted to pull it from the bin.
No rules of conduct were posted at this facility in 2006, despite repeated requests for a posted set of business rules. Extremely high risk of injury to your reputation and of bodily harm.
Although I no longer shop at this facility by choice, as of the fall of 2006 I was told of changes adhering to state law. You can no longer plug in used electronics for testing. If you have an auto electronic ac/dc converter it would be helpful for you to find out if the small appliance you just purchased works!
SMALL ELECTRONICS WATCH OUT FOR:
Electronics and cameras generally work, but sometimes with flaws. Watch out for any electronics that have very soft rubber. In 6 months of shopping, almost all the products, like projectors or cameras with soft rubber, had defects. The rubber had been melted or was so soft it would ruin film. I would guess items are being stored in a humid facility with no air-conditioning, this is Florida. If you're looking for a particular type of electronic item, it helps to become familiar with the products internal workings. For example I know my Canon Cameras and can tell from a distance whether it will hold up in those type of storage conditions or not!
One of my favorite buys was my Sony Psyc cd player, I use it almost every day!
Many reputable local corporations support the Goodwill. Goodwill's main store performs a community service that's important. If these corporations or individuals representing them retaliate against me or anyone who gives a fair and accurate description of what happens at these stores, because of a bad business model, perhaps they should face United Nations criticism for misuse of valuable community resources. I spent my summer writing for help for a young girl with a serious form of breast cancer. I continue to be very aware of how the needy are being ignored and basic civil rights abused.