Are you getting gouged at Value Village?

Something smelled foul at Value Village. No, it wasn’t the scent of grandma’s 50-year-old fur wrapped in decade long mothballs. Nope. But the smell was indeed stank and it seemed to stink up every corner of the popular Canadian thrift store, which is called ‘Savers’ in the United States.

value village

After careful inspection and a few frugal laps around the so-called ‘village of value’, I found the odorous source. THE PRICES! Have you smelled the prices at Value Village lately? They STINK! Well, at least they seemed a little rank under my schnoz for savings.

Being a person of curiosity before accusation, I left Value Village empty handed for the first time ever, and went online to see if fellow thrifters smelled something stinky too. Turns out a lot of former villagers are turning up their noses at the higher prices and flaring their nostrils on Value Village’s Facebook page. Check it out these comments:

value village complaints

Were these disgruntled bargain shoppers right? Could you really buy brand new clothing at retail for less than the price of used at Value Village? With my squawky senses tingling, I launched my blue Smart Car in search of savings, and even examples of price gouging at Value Village. This is what I found.

windmill

First of all, Value Village still sells some tacky-a$$ed s$it. This maybe-wooden windmill ‘decoration’ will give your friends hundreds of reasons to mock you for only $14.99.

tribbles

Buy this dusty puffball thing with garish googly eyes for $4.99 and I’ll personally teach you about The Trouble With Tribbles. Don’t make me do it.

After a little fun, I got down to some serious money-crunching journalistic-like work. Since I know a lot about jeans *cough*, I decided to hit up Value Village’s denim racks first. And the prices boggled my blue pant lovin’ brain.

thrift store gap jeans

Are you freaking kidding me? Paying $14.99 for a pair of used Gap jeans may seem a steal, but I’ve found them for far less new by sleuthing the sales. Check out my brand new pair of Gap 1969 boot cuts for $4.97. I squawk you not.

gap jeans sale

The best part about not shopping Value Village’s denim rack? No one’s crotch has ever worn, wiggled in, or worn out my brand new pants. Crotch-free shopping for less, people. I’m into it.

Now onto winter wear, ’cause I live in Canada and it’s cold outside.

thrift store snow pants

Behold the $49.99 pair of USED snow pants. U.S.E.D. As in frolicked in the f-cking snow a few too many times for a dollar shy of fifty bucks. You know who’s a dollar shy of a Canadian loonie? Value Village for pricing this sad pair of padded pants for $50. I bought my winter wonderland pants for $29 at Costco last year. That’s right, no one has dangled their winter woobie in my snowies AND I saved $20 over Value Village by shopping brand new.

value village thrift store

Invest $17.99 in this very used Gap vest at Value Village and cry in the cold when this badboy gets discounted for around $25 in Gap stores across North American in late November. That’s how much I paid for mine.

Wanna go dancing?

thrift store shoes

You’ll be trippin’ the light fantastic in these moldy heels for $9.99. I called Payless, Winners (called T.J.Maxx in the States), and Walmart for a price comparison on these stellar shoes. Payless, Winners, and Walmart wouldn’t sell me moldy shoes at any price. Sorry.

Speaking of Walmart shoes, check out these ‘Wizard of Oz’ type kiddie kicks for $4.99.

red shoes

If you want a real deal, I suggest you follow the yellow brick road right back to their home at Walmart where you can buy this pair for $5 on sale. The savings will make the Tin Man squeak.

Time to play with some toys.

savers thrift stores

Thrift stores like Value Village can be the perfect place to score barely used kid’s toys for a buck or two.

value village toys

But this $4 baggie of used teething toys is very well-chewed, and kinda gross. I’d rather spend $2 more at Walmart and come home with something fresh for my baby to drool over. I’ll chew on the peace of mind, thank you.

Speaking of chewing…

red dragon

Would you pay nearly $4 for this red dragon thing to growl at you? The dollar store sells dinosaur figures like this for under $2, brand new.

barbie

Behold two naked Barbie dolls in a bag for the price of $3.99. These double gal pals are a fair price, but they’re naked. And every little girl knows that Barbie needs clothes! So you’re still on the hook for a dress or two. Unless your Barbie is a stripper — then she’s perfect straight outta the plastic baggie. Kudos.

thrift store

Kids grow fast and need clothing to keep up with their lengthening limbs. Thrift stores can be a great place to replenish their clothing for less. Maybe.

I’ve purchased hats, onesie bodysuits, and t-shirts brand new for $1.99 or less at Walmart, Carter’s, OshKosh, and Old Navy. Why would I buy this stuff used (and shrunken) for the same price? Pass.

While you won’t find many savings on kiddlet tops at Value Village, the pants can be a steal. But you have to hunt! Bottoms up…

green overalls

I couldn’t resist this $2.99 pair of Baby Gap overalls. They’re green! Heaven. These retail for over $25 new, and it’s nearly impossible to find a set of crazy green Gap pants for under $3. Sold.

oshkosh overalls

The ‘Genuine Baby’ line of clothing are by OshKosh and sell at Target. A similar pair is currently on sale for $11.90. I prefer this used set for $2.99. Sold.

Two pairs of overalls — that’s all I bought during my trip to Value Village.

So where am I going with this?

The prices at Value Village currently stink. The company has addressed people’s “concerns”, which are really hundreds of negative comments pointing out the price increases on Value Village’s Facebook Page. Value Village welcomes your feedback. :)

value village facebook

If you’re feeling miffed and a little stiffed by shopping thrift, I suggest you take your business elsewhere and email your customer complaint to Value Village here: customercare@savers.com. Companies only listen when people like you speak up.

Sure, I’ll still peek into Value Village during their big 50% off sales and maybe find something rare and awesome (like green overalls), but as a savvy shopper who price checks everything, I’ll likely stick to the department store sales to find great deals on new items since they often cost the same used at Value Village.

I’m curious about your thoughts.

Do you still shop at Value Village? Are the prices fair, or are they way too high for used goods?

Love,
Kerry

Your two cents:

  1. Sheryl (Cdn Gwen) November 5th, 2012

    Finding a deal there is a rarity now.
    I wonder if it’s a marketing ploy though. Bump up prices, have more “special” days (50% off, seniors, members days etc), then sell it for what it is worth on those special days. If you want it bad enough to pay “full price”, you’ll pay it.

  2. Robin from Frugal Family Times November 5th, 2012

    Thanks for confirming what I have been gripeing about for months, Kerry. I’ve noticed the very same thing and I now don’t even bother with Value Village. There are so many other options out there to waste time and money there.

  3. Kaylen November 5th, 2012

    I mostly shop at Goodwill because not only are their prices lower but they don’t have to charge tax as Value Village does. I won’t go to 50% off days because it’s too crowded. I also try not to donate to VV.

  4. Fred Ziffel November 5th, 2012

    Totally agree about Value Village. We have a local Bibles For Missions thrift store and they just want to move their stuff out the door, so prices are much better. Plus I like where the money is going, rather than the private owner of VV.

  5. Esme November 5th, 2012

    Even if I agree with you that some of the VV prices are getting too high, thing is, prices at Walmart and others are too LOW. I do not take pride in encouraging them.

  6. Tony November 5th, 2012

    I agree V.V. has gone to crap. I think the biggest thing is the have a bunch of young teens dealing with the pricing, we all know most teens are not good with prices.

    I also have tried bringing stuff there and have nothing but problems. A couch in great shape but there was a 4inch mark under the cushions they.wouldn’t take it.

  7. ~j. November 5th, 2012

    I loathe giving money to WalMart so try to avoid it, even for a bargain.
    I personally would rather shop in a vintage store where the owner/buyers have combed through used clothing shops across the city and pulled out the best of the best. I don’t mind paying a premium for the luxury of looking at a small rack of finds instead of a gymnasium-sized store. Also more than happy to be supporting an independent business.

  8. Anneh November 5th, 2012

    How timely! I was just there over the weekend and was shocked to see that all the cute dresses were 19.99$! What?!? I’m appalled to see that they can charge so much for items they have been GIVEN for FREE. But I don’t want to support corporate giants like Wal-Mart, and I’d rather keep clothes out of the landfills. What’s the answer?

  9. Anneh November 5th, 2012

    I just read the other comments…Goodwill here is twice as expensive as VV. 20$ for jeans! Pardon me, 20.02$. What’s up with their crazy palindrome pricing?

  10. Suzie November 5th, 2012

    While I do agree that VV’s prices are too high, some charities receive the bulk of their funding when items/clothing are donated to VV, so the company is not all corporate greed (although it would be interesting to know if the charities $/per bag rate has gone up as well as VV’s prices).

  11. worker of vv November 5th, 2012

    For someone who has worked with value village for five years, the prices have gone up slightly but so has prices in every store, so for you people who complain about us marking our. Stuff too high yet you can get it from walmart and other companies for cheaper, that’s bull. I was just in a walmart right now and the cheapest baby item was a pair of newborn socks for $3.77. We price ours usually at .69 each. I love shopping at value village even before I worked there and ill still shop there after I leave the company. So to the customers who all just complain, the prices here and everywhere else aren’t going down, especially with the economy these days, so get used to it. Finally just FYI, we don’t get our stuff for free, 4% of each cart we weigh goes back to charities in each district. You may think that’s not a lot but we process over 5000 items a day so all in all it helps the community with the extra $715.00 they get from us each day. Thats why things are taxed in our store because WE DON’T GET STUFF FOR FREE!! However we PST tax isn’t included in childrens clothes, shoes and our books, there’s some good news. As a cashier hearing the same complaints about our prices, it gets old very fast so there’s some education about our company. Nothing in life comes free so stop being so negative. Sincerely vv employee:)

  12. stopped going no value November 5th, 2012

    The value has left value village. Do go anymore.

  13. Kade November 5th, 2012

    It’s also called Value Village in some areas of the US, such as Oregon.

  14. Diva Mom November 5th, 2012

    I think that like at any store, you need to know your prices and be prepared to walk away.
    The pricing can be crazy sometimes. I’ve picked up 2 identical(cheap and cheerful) vases, one was $2 the other was $5. Huh?
    I will probably pop in once in a while, but a “hunting” expedition at Value Village just isn’t fun anymore.
    Can’t wait til Garage Sale Season where books are 5 for $1, not $2 each.

  15. jaquie November 5th, 2012

    I live in Calgary, Canada.One of the most expensive city in Canada, and North America too.VV was a few years ago, good deal. but my husband everytime joke and sometimes,…im thought : His could be right : in VV the clothes and donations (high quality of clothes brand news…..etc…) is come from people how died.or passaway….(sorry english is not my first lenguage), so, between that, im understand how some clothes is look new…..very new, and im sad because the exploted by them bussines this. In other hand, I checked here in Calgary, they are tricky, yep! because, they overprice some brands and i found a lanvin pant (so top french and stranger designer for 4.99$) and We can think: ok! the people how put the price dont have idea how kind the designer is come from, BUT IM VERY VERY THINKING ,NOT! THIS JUST A TRAMP…..THE MAKE HAPPY FOR A DAY A FAMILY VIA FCBK OR BLOGS…..ABOUT HOW GOOD DEALS YOU CAN FIND IN VV AND THEN :CATCHIT!….PRICE MOVE UP AND UP……MAY BE WHEN THEY DONT HAVE TOO MCH STAFF!…. SO WE NEED (COSTUMER) TO BE SMART…AND NOT GET THE STUPID IDEA TO SAFE THE PLANET BY THE WAY TO BUY USED AND NASTY AND NOT TRANSPARENT BUSSINESS PEOPLE

  16. Heather November 6th, 2012

    Value Village is leading the way in price gouging….I’ve been noticing it for the past couple years. Yes, on occation, you can find a “deal”, but rarely…like Kerry mentioned, if you shop the clearance racks at retailers you can walk away with steals! However, for everyday items, the so called, value, is gone. Ironically, I was just researching this same issue and found an interesting article about how Value Village is gouging the charities it touts as supporting. These charities have had their contracts changed without consultation. Not only do they need to bring in X-amount of soft goods to fulfil their obligation, but they also need to bring in hard goods like furniture. These hard goods do not bring the charities any dough…just the soft goods. Hmmmmmm…ya, ya, costs smoshts….google “Value Village profits. ‘Nuf said, THANKS KERRY!

  17. SavingMentor November 6th, 2012

    I’m with you Kerry, I prefer to shop new and on sale over shopping at thrift stores most of the time. True, the thrift stores can be cheaper but you can find some amazing clearance deals at the mall and at the department stores that are nearly as cheap and sometimes even cheaper than the used item as you so clearly pointed out.

  18. Callie November 6th, 2012

    unfortunately I have not choice but to shop hear but I only go in for clothing. I wear plus sizes and it is incredibly hard to find young looking clothing brand new for a reasonable price
    zellars (too old), sear ($100 for a pair of jeans or too old), the bay (too old), addition-elle ($60 for jeans) or Wal-mart (really far away and rarely – I don’t drive) so sometimes I have no choice but to go to VV but I hate it. Prices have gone up. BTW know anywhere I can get clothing for cheap for a 2XL?

  19. Tami November 6th, 2012

    While I’ve never shopped at a Value Village (Goodwill is the second hand store that I tend to frequent)I completely agree that those prices seem outrageous. However, there is an argument that you may be able to find better brands and higher quality clothes, even if used, at thrift stores than at some of the chains, which are notorious for mass producing cheap and inexpensive clothing. This makes those clothes more likely to be disposed when they fall apart after a couple of wearings and end up becoming more crap in our landfills. Not sure there’s a good answer to this dilemma. Just something to think about.

  20. Kerry November 6th, 2012

    A reader emailed this comment:

    Hi Kerry;
    I so so agree about the gouging @ VV.

    The thing that makes them different that people don’t know is they are a FOR PROFIT org that actually sells the stuff not sold here in the stores to other countries.

    How I know this? I have complained to VV staff/ managers @ various Niagara region stores for the past two years about the outrageous prices of 2nd hand clothing. For years I donated my used clothing there as a firm believer in recycling & having grown up shopping at Amity/ thrift shops/ Goodwill in Toronto.

    It is a crime when Canadians donate their used items believing they are going to help those less fortunate, when in reality they are ” retail priced” too high for low income earners to even consider – then shipped internationally! I want my donations to be available for local consumption!

    My advice – start shopping as you suggest @ retail store clearance sales of new merchandise or the more realistic 2nd hand options rather than the Big Box Gouger Value Village where, quite frankly, there ain’t no value anymore. :(

  21. Terra November 6th, 2012

    Value Village is overpriced most definitely. I rarely ever go there, having long ago noted that buying new is more thrifty. I do, however, similar to others who have posted like to avoid buying everything new. I find I have been pretty lucky with getting clothing at .. yes, garage sales, hand me downs from friends and clothing swaps. I will though spend quite a bit of money on wool, to knit a sweater that takes hours to create. That is not savings of either time or money when you compare it to the price of a sweater from the mall. Sometimes I will buy something from an artisan that costs quite a bit too (in comparison). All of our choices laden with values that have their own unique worth, sometimes outside of the price tag.

  22. Denise November 6th, 2012

    Callie – Winners has a great selection of plus size clothing.

  23. Sue November 6th, 2012

    Kerry,

    I shop at the same Value Village as you, and I would agree that their prices are particularly outrageous. Kelowna and Kamloops don’t seem quite as extreme, but they’re rising also. I’m lucky inasmuch as my work generally allows me to shop the half price sale days, so I when I can go, I head in early. Otherwise, forget it!

    They also seem to have fewer promotions (i.e. stamp cards) and when they do, the spending/donating requirements are much higher than they used to be.

  24. Murray November 6th, 2012

    VV has been over priced for quite awhile now. I read an article on the “big” business these types of places are doing based on the fact that their products are donated and it was astounding. That being said Wal-Mart isn’t really cheap when you have to buy 3 of the same items a year because of quality. I find that buying cheap can be more expensive in the long run… My personal argghhh? The can opener. Under a buck at Wal-Mart but I would go through one a month because the dang thing would always break.. Smartened up, albeit after a few months too many, and spent 10 dollars (on sale) for a well crafted name brand one and have been using it for over a year with no issues…

  25. Marcail November 6th, 2012

    I don’t bother going into VV anymore…can never find anything cheap enough to justify buying used. On the other hand, I always find something (generally for my kids) at the Salvation Army close to my house. And when looking to donate items, I always take them to Sally Ann because at least more of the money earned on the items will be helping people, not lining the pockets of the CEOs of the organization.

  26. rainglow November 6th, 2012

    I tried on some jeans there last week. When looking at the price tags, one pair I grabbed were $69.99!!!!! For used jeans. Unbelievable.

  27. Cathleen November 6th, 2012

    i stopped shopping at VV a long time ago. Their prices were outrageous for the quality of the goods. They may be supporting charities, but I’m pretty sure that these charities could fundraise in a different manner and still come out ahead. A friend went shopping for winter boots for the express purpose of just being used to play in the snow, and found a pair with completely worn-down grips and collapsed toe boxes for $29.99, that was the nail in the coffin for both us shopping at VV.

  28. Sheila November 6th, 2012

    I live in California and lost faith in thrift shops long ago when I found a very used basic torchiere lamp for $14.99 at a local thrift store. I was positive that it sold new at Home Depot for that price! I still occasionally attempt thrift stores when looking for Halloween costumes or one time use items, but more often than not I leave empty handed. I get my bargains at the Dollar Store, Target and WalMart sale racks! Also, Craigslist (don’t forget to check the Free section!)

  29. Tina Westin November 6th, 2012

    THANK YOU for this post! I followed that thread on Facebook too and weighed in. I’m glad it’s not just my imagination that their prices are TERRIBLE and I’m glad you have confirmed to me that I can buy new for less. You rock SquawkFox!

  30. Christina November 6th, 2012

    I have noticed the prices seem to be getting high. I still go there, but find myself leaving empty handed more often than not. I can’t believe some of the stuff that gets onto the floor sometimes…. but I still find a deal on the odd occasion.

  31. Bee November 6th, 2012

    Kerry, I totally agree with you. Was in VV a couple of months ago to shop for glassware for my nephew for university and was horrified at pricing! For the same price they asked for 3 scratched and tired looking glasses I was able to buy a set of 4 boxed beautiful Anchor glasses for $3 at the dollar store! While shopping , I overheard comments made by other shoppers about the unreasonable pricing so the feeling is out there.

    Also years ago I found beautiful cashmere sweaters there for a reasonable price so I check in from time to time. However, given the pricing level currently, I doubt they would still be a bargain…

  32. lois November 6th, 2012

    PRICES ARE TOO HIGH I HARDLY SHOP THERE .

  33. Reinita November 6th, 2012

    I stopped shopping there long ago. I have gone in a couple of times a year looking for things and usually walk out empty handed. The little ones such as Hospital Auxilary etc are much better. I have the benefit going to visit family in the USA and there Goodwill is much better especialy on Stat holidays as then the deals are even better. Yes the dollar store is better than VV!!

  34. Jan Anderson November 6th, 2012

    We do not have a Value Village where I live in Campbell River,BC, but there is one in Courtenay. Although, we do have a Salvation Army Thrift Store, whose prices are probably higher than Value Village, especially their Christmas stuff. They price ornaments higher than what you can buy at Walmart or Can. Tire. I also prefer to donate items like womens clothing to the local Womans’ Centre where clothing is given out free. Even the Liquidation World store is cheaper.

    Value Village also pays for clothing collected by the Can. Diabetes clothing drives that do scheduled Pick ups in our area. I have always found good deals at Walmart on their clearance sales.

  35. Julie Jaggernath November 6th, 2012

    For Halloween the kids and I popped in to V V to look for a “rock star” top for my 12 year old. She got lucky with one for $2.99. My 9 year old son, however, gave up as he just couldn’t find anything reasonable. Even the kids were saying, “they want how much for that?!?”

    Then my son fell in love with a stack of Guinness World Record books to add to his treasured collection. I just about choked when they wanted $5 a piece for them! The local, hospital fundraiser thrift store sells the ones they get for $0.50 each, or $1.00 if they’re in nearly perfect shape!! I felt so bad for him because he just loves those books.

    He did buy a couple of them with his allowance, but even he recognized that what he spent cut into his spending money more than he’d have liked.

    I know V V supports charities and their programs by buying used items, but if less people buy at V V overall, that funding is in jeopardy then too.

  36. Yeshanu November 6th, 2012

    I almost wrote a book in response to this post, but I’ll shorten it a bit. Yes, I still shop at VV, for the same reason as Callie–options are limited for plus-sized women. Other thrift stores don’t size their merchandise. I also shop at Wal-Mart, because really, being poor and a 2X doesn’t leave you much choice.

    But if you’re really broke (or just plain cheap), why don’t you try to eliminate cash altogether? It’s not only possible to get stuff free, it’s actually easy.

    Through my church friends, I’ve been given a matching couch and chair set for my living room, an almost new condition sofa bed and lamp for my office, all of a quality that I could not afford even if used. When I was really down and out and needed interview clothes, I put an ad in our church bulletin, asking for clothes in my size, and got several big bags of stuff, all of which was in excellent condition. What I couldn’t use, I donated.

    Or you can do what we do now: Host a free event where people bring in new or almost new unwanted stuff. We sort the stuff, then we open the doors, and folks can take what they want or need.

    A man who visited last night to pick up some of my excess guppies (given away for free), told me that he had done most of his Christmas shopping on Kijiji, which is another source of cheap or free stuff.

  37. Canadian Budget Binder November 6th, 2012

    We used to pick up some great deals but now I only go in to get some overalls for the winter outside which I usually find for decent prices as I need good ones. On the rare occasion I find some t-shirts that are pricey and in decent condition as well. We have noticed the prices going up and up but like you we find the odd great deal or go in on a 50% off day. It’s the greed that’s going to take them down just like any other business who gets high up on their horse. What gets me going is the fact that they charge bloody tax on items that have already been taxed by the original purchaser then tax us again on the blinkin stuff that is USED… I don’t get it how Canada operates sometimes but that stinks to me! Great post SF! Mr.CBB

  38. Michelle Black November 6th, 2012

    Hi there, and am liking the comments so far. I live in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. Here the VV is still a value, IMHO. Yes, you can get cheaper sometimes by venturing to the new-stuff stores, but consider this: How much more time would it take to find those rare deals than to simply visit VV a few times a year during their 50%-off sales? If you are a time-challenged (and who isn’t?) but discriminating shopper, you can buy every category of stuff, of every make and style, in VV.

    For my money, I’d rather find a whole whack of diverse, interesting goods that have already had the chemicals washed out and have NOT put more strain on the worldwide resources that go into manufacturing clothing (including the social justice angle on this). I suppose if you’re someone who likes to buy 6 of the same make and size clothes just in different colours, you won’t like VV (but then, how many Baby Gap bargain basement sales will have that anyway?).

    From what I can see here, it might be a matter of where your particular VV is located. Mine are not jacking prices up like some of the folks here have seen, and the goods are actually high-quality in my neighbourhood (high standard of living for most, but still lots of people stretched more than ever).

    And in general, all stores will have a few things that are a true rip-off. But one woman’s junk … you just have to know the value of something to you.

    I love your articles – both their contents and their scrappy tone.

    Michelle (aka SimplyRead)

  39. Valerie November 6th, 2012

    I have not shopped at Value Village for years now. Even tho they make jobs for people, mostly women. someone (many in fact) are getting rich at the top. Places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, Mennonite Central Committiee (Ontario) use their profits for overseas and local volunteer progammes. These stores do not charge taxes as they are classed as CHARITY.

  40. Brenda November 6th, 2012

    I agree that VV is becoming more expensive, and that Vernon is more expensive than Kelowna.

    I don’t get all the people complaining about the greed, etc., though. Value Village is a business, and businesses are in business to make a PROFIT.

    I think a more legit complaint is that so many people think VV is a charitable org, when it is not, however, if you don’t like it, don’t donate to them. I donate to the local Salvation Army and Senior Thrift Shops, as then I know the money earned stays in MY community and helps local people.

  41. Denise November 6th, 2012

    VV pays those Charities a $/lb for all the curbside, personally donated, & those charity calls asking for used clothing they collect. Also if companies such as GAP, OLD NAVY, WALMART etc have unsold overstock it is squished into a tight square & again, just like metal VV will pay them so much per lb. That is VV ‘helping local charity’. Everything else is profit after wages. They DON’T have a pricing system just a bunch of people with a price gun. You have to scan EVERY item & you just might luck out & find an adult sz jeans/pants $6.99 (my max) & adult shirts $2.99-$4.99 & did in fact find brand new mens PJ pants fleese for $2.99. My issue is Coorporate with VV & I don’t go often, never on 50% days b/c of crowd, & stick to my local thrift (but those are so limited). I have to travel 30-40mins for the closest GAP, OLD NAVY, CHILDREN’S PLACE so going ‘shopping’ would be very planned.

  42. Na Na November 6th, 2012

    We don’t have a VV here but we do have a for profit thrift store called Unique. What I like to shop for great bargains are several thrift stores run by local shelters. Each shelter whether for the homeless, battered women, teenage mothers, or other type shelter has a store of it’s own to accept donations and sells at very reasonable prices. Often the people in the shelter does volunteer work in the store and gets store credit to spend when they get a home of their own. All store profits go directly to the charity running it. I often pay a price higher than I believe it should be because I know who will benefit. “For profit” thrift stores are just not my idea of shopping for bargains or giving donations.

  43. Annie November 6th, 2012

    I’m glad to see others are deciding to bypass Value Village too. I have left empty-handed the last three times I went there; I won’t be going back. Why bother when (as others have stated) better deals can be found for new items in retail stores? I am also going back to giving my gently-used items to the Salvation Army or other charity shops. You know, I just feel ‘dirty’ now after leaving Value Village…my hands feel like they need sanitizer.

  44. Lynne November 6th, 2012

    Nope. I recently discovered the St. Vincent de Paul (Vinnie’s) – money goes to charity, great selection, very reasonable prices. Not going to tell you what town I’m in – it’s my little secret!

  45. Christine Weadick November 6th, 2012

    My Mother-in-law used to love that place!!! She and her sister dropped a small fortune there at the local store. I don’t have one anywhere near where I live so I shop at the Salvation Army Thrift store. It’s in town within walking distance. Our younger son used to work there P/T until the economy crashed and they had to let him go due to reduced sales. He had the least seniority so that was that. I know that the money raised there stays in town and I know that when people leave crap outside the store they have to pay to take it to the landfill. Our son hated garage sale season as people would drop off the junk that didn’t sell at the thrift store for them to haul away on Monday.

  46. Tom November 6th, 2012

    I’ve never been to Value Village, but have been told it is a great store here in St. Catharines, Ontario.
    Was also told to wait till after Holloween to go there, because of the holiday’s prices.
    But now after reading all this, I may not go there at all.
    If any of your readers are from St. Kitts, please let me know what you think of the V V store on Ontario St.
    Thanks

    Tom

  47. Atina November 6th, 2012

    I used to really like VV for many of the reasons already mentioned. I mean where can you get such a good selection of clothes by going into one store. But, the prices have gone crazy (I heard Winners had taken over). I only shop there on Seniors Day (Tuesday) for the 20% off. But even then it’s hard to find a bargain. My condo is doing an Out of the Cold clothing drive so I went to VV today in the hopes of picking up some cheap mitts, toques etc. to donate. I really was flabbergasted when I saw a pair of mitts that had been hand knitted – they were nothing special and were $4.99! Give me a break. Also books are a rip off too – original price $10.95+ are $4.99 – even paperbacks are originally $10.99. No wonder they have soooo many books – you’d think they’d mark them down to get rid of them.
    Love your posts Kerry and I’m going to email my comments to VV too.

  48. Chris November 6th, 2012

    I live in the U.S. No V.V. near me…. However in the past, I have purchased LEVIS at great prices After your description “No one’s crotch has ever worn, wiggled in, or worn out my brand new pants. Crotch-free shopping for less, people. I’m into it.” I have decided to purchase new! LOL!

    p.s. You Rock!

  49. vv shopper November 6th, 2012

    Vv is the greatest place on earth, I love the discounts and the costumer service. I always leave with a smile on my face. I live in oshawa, ontario and you won’t get a better deal on furniture then the v.v. In oshawa. I always donate to see the super cute redhead with glasses! Everyone should love value village!

  50. Rachel November 6th, 2012

    I live in Vernon and have stopped going to VV. The prices seemed to have more than doubled in the last two years alone. About five years ago you could get some really great bargains, but honestly I agree with Kerry. I looked and looked until I was exhausted; for the price a lot of the merchandise was garbage and handsomely priced. So I turned around and went to the mall and was pleased with the garments and the price. That makes me sad, really sad for those who used to depend heavily on VV.
    I now give to the Salvation Army or directly to those I know personally have needs, my stuff always looks brand new and that makes me feel glad for those who will walk away with what i have brought.
    When my children and I fled from an abusive now ex it was the salvation army that provided the Christmas hamper for us. I did not know such a thing existed and my oldest son just happened to talk to the head of the army and told him our situation. He filled up a box with his own turkey, presents and treats and drove my son home . I cried for weeks from the kindness showed. So I will happily take our things there and have a look see what I might get for a good price.

  51. Mary November 7th, 2012

    I had to weigh in on this as I wrote a blog post about this about a month ago. VV has absolutely outgrown its britches! And something I’ve not seen anyone else mention is something I learned talking to another customer one day in VV. We were talking about the increase in prices and she had used to buy things for clients she had that needed things. She told me she complained to an associate & then the manager one day and was told that the thing she had in her hand was an antique! She quickly told them they aren’t an antique store! I’ve also overheard this conversation at Goodwill by associates, that they need to check the tags & markings on things before pricing. My take on this? Let them sell those things on ebay or such and put the prices back where people down on their luck can afford.

    I’d also like to make a comment to Tom, who asked about the VV on Ontario St. in St. Catharines…..this is the store that the lady told me about the antique comment…but think you’ll find prices are pretty much the same across the board. Shop at Bibles for Missions or Christian Benefit Shop instead…..they just want to move merchandise.

  52. Lynn November 7th, 2012

    Ok, so I am not the only one complaining about this. I noticed this year when it came time to my my preschooler her fall wardrobe that I couldnt find anything and that my $20 wardrobe for a season was over now. Sadly something good has turned into something bad. Good article

  53. Mandy @MoneyMasterMom November 7th, 2012

    Great investigative post. You’ve articulated what we’ve all been feeling. I havn’t been to value village in years. As soon as jeans passed the $10 mark I was done.

  54. ruth November 7th, 2012

    I agree about the VV price shift, and its ‘for-profit’ slant. I prefer to shop at the Salvation Army, Goodwill and MCC thrift stores where I know profits will help others, AND I will get more bang for my buck. VV is still better than new in my books though, because I know I am not putting money directly into the hands of companies that use sweat-shops, and it’s just better all around to reduce and re-use.

  55. Erin November 9th, 2012

    Great post. I’ve been noticing prices creeping higher at vv. It seems especially cruel in small communities- where there are lots of seniors and folks who need help with the basics.

    I try to give to charities who give directly to those in need, and I’ll try and shop there too, when I can. Found a fabulous vintage dress recently at a Salvation Army store. It was a sale day, and the dress ended up being $3! You can’t find stuff like that at vv anymore.

    Also, to both Callie and Yeshanu – I’m a big gal, and the best place I’ve found that you can get beautiful clothing for Sizes 16+ is a store called Torrid. It’s only in the US (there’s nothing like that in Canada- trust me, I’ve looked everywhere). Shipping can be pricey- but they often do 50% off clearance sales, which offer huge bargains. I think they have a sale on now- be sure to check them out!

  56. Shauna November 9th, 2012

    Goodwill is just about as bad. Their prices are way too high for used stuff that someone donated. Additionally, their hiring practices are criminal but because they are “Goodwill” they get away with it. My daughter who is mildly handicapped was hired at our local store. She was one in a long line of employees fired on her 89th day of employment because she was eligible for insurance benefits on her 90th day. Because of high unemployment people are willing to take these minimum wage jobs and be treated poorly.

    This is a BIG profitable business. Their materials are free, they get tax breaks, their labor is dirt cheap with government subsidies to them for ‘hiring the handicapped’, and then they get off with paying no benefits.

    Someone is getting rich here.

  57. Karen November 9th, 2012

    I used to live about two minutes walk from the Kelowna Value Village and shopped there about once a week. A huge portion of our clothing and housewares came from that store. About ten years ago, we noticed that we could buy new at the original retailer for about the same price VV wanted for used, stained and/or damaged. There were still a few bargains, but you could just as easily get taken. I now shop at other thrift shops because the last time I went into VV I saw nothing that I could not get cheaper any number of places, including the sale racks at Orchard Park. I don’t even bother to check anymore.

  58. Judi Weldon November 9th, 2012

    Firstly let me say I have found deals at Value Village but shop there seldom anymore for several reasons:
    1: the ever increasing high prices for half worn out items is insulting
    2: their whole business model-basically we are giving them their inventory for them to make money. that would be like all of us donating to Can. Tire or the Bay so they can resell it back to us.
    They have been investigated many times for their misleading advertising that leaves people thinking they are donating to an non-profit org. or that Value Village supports charitible org thanks to your donations, When in fact they give less to charities than an a normal company.

    In my view it’s a scam but it only works because we support them both with giving them their inventory then buying it back at more and more inflated prices. After awhile we have to help ourselves.
    I try and boycott them as much as possible but admit that once in a blue moon I do go in for a quick look.

    I do make sure all my donations and 99% of my business goes to other thrift stores.

  59. Noralee S. November 10th, 2012

    I shop at V.V. all over southwestern Ontario, & my friends & I have noticed the increase in prices since 2010. However, as a plus-sized senior, I am still more likely to find something that fits, and that I like & can afford at V.V. than anywhere else. That’s because most, if not all, retail stores get their stock from third-world countries, and it’s mostly cr*p – if you’ll forgive my language. I am still likely to find garments that are made in Canada or the U.S. at V.V., because they were originally purchased before everything became “Made in China”!

    Also, I never have to worry about anything shrinking, or the colour running, because it will already have been laundered several times before I get it. Even the cheapest price at Walmart is too much if the garment doesn’t stand up to laundering. And I’m a very competent laundress, so I know how to get the most wear out of my clothes.

    I can say that this year was the first time I ever left a V.V. empty-handed. My friend thought I was ill! LOL I will still shop there, but I’ve just become more discriminating about what I’ll pay. In Life nothing ever stays the same, and thrift shopping is no exception. Adapting to change is what keeps me flexible in mind and body – and that’s a good thing, as Martha would say. ;-)

  60. Pauline November 13th, 2012

    Although VV is for profit it does purchase clothing that was donated to not-for-profit organizations giving them much needed $. Check their policies when donating.

    And, both Goodwill and Sally Anne seem expensive too – better to shop on their sale days.

  61. Tushar @ Everything Finance November 13th, 2012

    I’m frequently surprised as to how expensive Value Village has gotten. I noticed that a while ago when I went to buy some pants. I ended up spending almost $20 on them, and they weren’t even that great of a brand. I probably could have bought them brand new for only a bit more.

  62. Heather November 14th, 2012

    In defence of Value Village! I consider vv the costco of used item shopping where everything is under one roof. I have just bought a coat there after driving around to find cheaper new/on sale alternatives at better known outlets. No luck. Next, I had to get boots and the same thing again. My time is precious and where else can you get a bargain on everything from sweaters to skis? I think that not all vv stores are created equal but mine here is great, clean and spacious. You just have to look around and shop often. You also get a rebate for bringing in household items for re sale.

  63. Sujojo November 14th, 2012

    I agree too… their prices have definitely gone up… to the point of ridiculous for some things!!

    BUT… if you have a really good eye, you can still find some bargains here and there.

    They do need to get their pricing more in line with the “USED” reality, and keep the VERY USED stuff off the shelves (as many have said, to even try to sell it is insulting sometimes).

  64. Lisa November 14th, 2012

    I do find some of the prices at VV too high especially when one can get the same item new at a dollar store. However, in my town I have found the Goodwill more expensive for housewares, at least e.g. $2.02 for a 1L canning jar vs. $0.69 at VV.

    I do agree with some of the comments above in that I do not want to frequent Walmart because of their business practices. I also want to buy used for environmental reasons. I hope these thrift stores do some rethinking of their prices, but I will still continue to shop at them and find what I consider bargains without taxing the environment by consuming new products.

  65. marge November 14th, 2012

    Value Village receive all their merchandise free they donate 3cents a pound to the diabetes society (so I’v been told?) and promote themselves as charitable!!I do not donate nor buy there, I used to and stopped a year ago when prices started going crazy. ornaments with broken ears,hands etc. @2.99 naked barbies with ruined hair, ink over their bodies etc. 2.99.Clothing WELL USED SOME THREADBARE AT WICKED HIGH PRICES. SHOP AT SALVATION ARMY. Salvation army gives to our communities during fires, flodds etc. they sell clothing at a fraction of value village. this is an american owned company ripping off canadians. The poor can’t afford to shop there. frenchy’s are reasonable however salvation army is still the place to donate & buy. support our own.

  66. marge November 14th, 2012

    MARGE; I AGREE WITH ALL OF ABOVE, I USED TO BE A REGULAR SHOPPER IN SYDNEY,NOVA SCOTIA. HOWEVER IN THE PAST YEAR I HAVE NOT BEEN IN THE STORE. THEY ARE OVERPRICED SELLING DOLLAR STORE ITEMS FOR $2.00 (TAGS STILL ON BOTTOM OF ITEM SHOWING DOLLARRAMA) ORNAMENTS WITH BROKEN PARTS @2.99, CLOTHING THAT IS THREADBARE,CHEAPER TO BUY NEW AT END OF SEASON SALES. RETURN POLICY IS TERRIBLE AND MOST OF THE TIME THE STAFF ARE NOT POLITE OR FRIENDLY WHEN YOU DO RETURN. THIS IS AN AMERICAN OWNED CO. WHO GIVE VERY LITTLE TO THE DIABETES SOCIETY AND ARE GOUGING THE POOR.
    GIVE TO THE SALVATION ARMY, THEY HELP THE COMMUNITY IN TIME
    OF NEED. PLUS THEIR IN STORE PRICES ARE GREAT. THEY ARE THERE FOR THE NEEDY. FRENCHY’S IS GREAT TOO.

    THE SMELL IN THE STORE AND THE JUNK WHICH SHOULD BE PRICED AT .25 CENTS OR THROWN IN GARBAGE IS ENOUGH TO DETER ANYONE.

    MARGE CAPE BRETON NOVA SCOTIA

  67. Kevin November 16th, 2012

    I have had the opposite experiences at VV for the most part. I find that the value is excellent, and may even be improving. I shop there weekly, and visit a variety of value villages across the country when I travel with business.

    Just like on ebay, you can find some expensively priced crap, and some incredible bargains. The people doing the pricing almost certainly upcharge desirable brands, because it’s a surer bet for profits, and it likely doesn’t dissuade brand-conscious buyers.

    Generally, I skip the Gap and Tommy Hilfiger and go straight to the upscale brands. I’ve gotten Hugo Boss suits for $15, which is probably a 98% reduction. I got a Breville capuccino machine for the same price, regularly $300. At the same time, I’ve seen BNWT J. Crew leather boots for $50, which makes them the most expensive item in the store, but is still a reasonable deal. My biggest victory was a four-point wool Hudson’s Bay blanket – no holes, no stains, immaculate condition, for $8, whereas I saw the exact same blanket at The Bay the next week for $450.

    This blog’s assertions are pretty ridiculous, because valuation becomes incredibly difficult in the second-hand market. Fashions change, quality varies widely, and you can never be sure that an item’s condition is acceptable to a potential buyer. Known brands offset a lot of those quality concerns, and often hold style better over the long term.

    OF COURSE you can find other, better deals if you hang around sale racks, or buy everything from the dollar store, but is EVERYTHING at the gap >70% off? Value Village shoppers know there will occasionally be shoddy electronics, stained garments, and even moldy shoes, because the people sorting and pricing aren’t experts, and can’t go over everything with a fine-toothed comb. Furthermore, broken or soiled items might not even deter the customer from buying!

    If you want curated, restored, or tested second hand items, that’s what pawn shops, fripperies, and antiques dealers are for, but you pay for that curation, and often dearly.

  68. Neeroc November 21st, 2012

    Interesting! We moved last year, and I just chalked the prices at the new store up to being in a different part of town. I wonder if there isn’t as big a disparity as I’d assumed…

    My personal experience is that I’ve several times found items that were priced higher than retail and when brought to the attention of the store, they’ve reduced the prices. But for general higher pricing, yes, I wait for the 50% days too.

  69. Jen November 22nd, 2012

    I’ve noticed their hike in prices for a few years in Brampton. I bought a few NEW shirts for my son at the children’s place for around $5 each….. I go to VV and see a ratty faded children’s place shirt for $7!!!! I said to the clerk I got new shirts same brand for cheaper than what you guys are selling used ones for….he said when new ownership took over they changed their pricing guide. Brand names go for more even if the article is ratty they price it by brand. When did used kids clothes cost more than a buck a piece. A great thrift shop that still sells at thrift prices is GBF in Grimbsy. They even have $5 bag days fill a bag with anything in store for $5 and these ladies stuff the bags full! I also shop at Talize they are like VV but I find better quality and better brands for slightly cheaper than VV. days of cheap thrift shopping is over unless u find the small church or volunteer run shops.

  70. Mary November 23rd, 2012

    Hi Jen,

    You peaked my interest when you mentioned GBF in Grimsby as I shop there all the time. You’re right….great prices and decent merchandise. It’s one of my favourite places to buy books and they even put them together by last name of author!

    I had never heard of Talize but looked it up and see there’s one in Hamilton. I’m in St. Catharines now, so don’t get up that way much anymore, like I used to but I’m definitely going to check it out. I can always find an excuse to go that way with a friend, who also appreciates great thrift stores. Thanks for the tip!

  71. Dawn November 23rd, 2012

    I totally agree! The prices have been creeping up and up! I *almost* bought a winter coat But at $29.99 it was at the top of my price range. Better values exist at Bibles for Missions, or Salvation Army. But, I have found better housewares at Value Village all the same. Please, if you’re going to donate, please take it to Salvation Army or Bibles for Missions~! Value Village is FOR PROFIT. The only way that they will lower their prices is if we take our stuff and cash elsewhere.

  72. Chris November 29th, 2012

    Thanks Keri for the great postings with photos! I thought I was the only one thinking that Value Village prices have hit the roof.

    As Dawn points out VV is FOR PROFIT. I’m for profit but when so much is donated I expect the price points to be more reflective of this.

    I rather go to local hospital thrift shops, wildlife animal thrift shop and the like. My donations go to such shops (but I really hate it when I buy my own stuff back!)

    Thanks for your entertaining writing.

  73. theresa November 29th, 2012

    Not just VV but Goodwill too. Insane prices. I can do better at the mall.
    Small thrift stores are still the cheapest. Kijiji is great too.
    Some people just truly think value village is cheap…..it isn’t.

  74. theresa November 29th, 2012

    The Salvation Army is awesome and the money goes to noble causes.

  75. ABgurl December 2nd, 2012

    Perhaps the terrible sticker shock at VV might be better understood of everyone realizes that yes the goods they receive are indeed donated aka free to them but that VV is an American “profit” organiztion versus a non-profit like Goodwill( and I agree GW has inflated its prices beyond belief for what are donated items).Both of these are out of touch given reality is the goods they receive to sell are free to them.
    Hence in reality VV is and has always been from the day it set foot in Canada, a business that operates solely for profit ( but gets to use the rules of a charity for their operating purposes).
    As a result of this knowledge I have never and never will give this outfit a single penny of my money ( and the same goes for Walmart-another disgusting American business that should be banned in our country for the havoc it wreaks on local businesses)

  76. Bren Schill December 5th, 2012

    Its not just $49.99 wool coat (men’s small), alongside the $19.99 wool coats (men’s x-large, xx-large) it is also the absence of products. For instance gloves, umbrellas, working lamps, shoes (8 1/2–just tennis shoes and soccer cleats). Things they used to have (clocks, small boxes (wood), small storage boxes (tupper ware style, warm shirts) that are never there anymore.
    I’ve watched people go through the floor lamps and buying 10-15 (and still counting when I left). One man buying 10 pairs of children’s shoes that were nearly the same size.
    I’ve witnessed one of the small size semi trailers being unloaded in a VV parking lot (8:30pm in a winter night’s rain as well as during a sunny spring morning) with merchandise (furniture) being set aside and picked up by people. Picked up between the trailer and the delivery door (without going through the store). In Seattle. (No raincoats in VV Seattle. Couldn’t find a winter coat to fit me in Edmonton.)

  77. beth December 10th, 2012

    In reading all the comments I feel that there is definently a lack of ignorance. I have been working for this company 13 years and I woulD only have to agree with one comment and that is that prices have increased over the last couple years but so has the company wages to support and pay an average of 50 to 60 employees plus benefits and what retailer hasn’t had price increases? Including groceries,gas,hydro? Value village supports over 150 charities not just 1. The only items that gets shipped over sea’s is clothing that has holes n stains n doesn’t meet the avg canadian or american standards. Sorry but homeless or less fortunate need shoes too. And the opportunities for employees are endless.what other companies out there would invest in their people? Just wanted to let you know that value village pays for items sight unsee and yes there is a lot of garbage that comes with the business that can’t be recycled-disposal cost are not free.just sayin that there is a lot of overhead that comes with a business and employees that earn a paycheck-sorry folks but groceries n gas for our vehicles have also increased in price-maybe u should boycott them!

  78. Donna December 13th, 2012

    Benefits???? It’s a thrift store-most retail stores do not pay their employees benefits. All retailers have bills, they pay for brand new and clean. VV get’s good for free or pennies a bundle. Enough with the excuses.

    I have only seen framed art nice enough to warrant the prices twice, and they no doubt sold quickly. I wanted unique picture frames for some art I bought-which I could not find so looked closely at the more ‘run of mill’ frames. Closest I found was not in good shape so I ended up in Walmart-Where- Same quality frames, some exact, without the crappy outdated artwork at walmart on a promo rack-half the price of VV, brand new no scuffs no broken backs…. Come on Value Village re-think. Shoes…do you want to move these items, prices way out of proportion again for out of fashion footwear, some prices gouged just for the name, they are still old and still used.

    Housewares-prices have gone wayyyy up. I returned a dinner sized decorative (blue mountain pottery)plate I bought for 19.99 because VV had placed the price sticker over a chip on the back. Next time I went back-sticker was again on the same spot-14.99. Another beautiful blue glass plate I would have bought if not for the sticker price-79.99!!!! It was on the shelf forever- Probably in a store owner or Managers house.

    I used to love the thrill of finding treasures at a great price. Now I don’t dream of given VV anything. Frequenting other treasure troves.

  79. jeannie December 15th, 2012

    Value village has NO value or savings for consumers. They sell rubbish at high prices; higher even than Walmart, Winners and sometimes even COSTCO.

    The Salvation Army on the other hand, sells at better prices and the money supports life saving charitable works – shelters, food banks, drug rehab, etc…

    There are NO treasures at VV, just worn out and used trash.

  80. jeannie December 15th, 2012

    BETH:

    “In reading all the comments I feel that there is definently a lack of ignorance. ”

    You are correct. Everyone seems to understand exactly what they mean.

  81. Ace December 17th, 2012

    Value Village must be doing something right. There are stores everywhere throughout the GTA and more and more new stores being added every year. Every time I go to shop there, the stores are usually quite busy and the checkout lines are often long (one of my few gripes).

    I think people are missing out – by thinking the only benefit of such a store are low prices. But it’s more like a giant garage sale, open all year round and 12 hours a day. There are items there you just can’t buy anywhere else besides thrift stores. Old VHS tapes, records, vintage clothing (I once found a Montreal Expos t-shirt for 5.00) and other obscure goodies.

    Some of the problems with the store are not their fault. For example, the toy section has a lot of broken toys but that’s mainly because they seem to have no problem allowing little kids to play with them unsupervised.

  82. theresa December 18th, 2012

    Beth…I am sure you meant there is a lot of ignorance. Otherwise you proved the whole point of post.

  83. jeannie December 27th, 2012

    Ace says “Some of the problems with the store are not their fault. ”
    ———————————————————-
    The comment above is the reason why as a hardworking consumer, I am so ticked off with this store. Its their negative attitude towards their customers that stinks. They take no responsibility for the items they sell.

    Ace says the reason they sell shoddy and broken toys is because customers allow THEIR children to break them!

    Oh, give ME a break! Value Village sells many dirty, shoddy and broken toys because it can; I have also seen on sale many items that have been on recall lists for years including children’s jewelry recalled for lead content and recalled electrical appliances.

    If I sound harsh, I mean to! They are taking billions of dollars in from customers that believe they are being eco-friendly and price conscious. They owe their consumers some respect.

    As a matter of fact I think I will make a project out of documenting the issues I have with this chain of stores and why shopping there may be hazardous to ones health.

  84. Sylvie December 27th, 2012

    When I shop at thrift shops is is normally for the reduced prices. And like everything and anything else I go with a budget. But my main reason for going is to reduce. reuse and recycle. Frugal living is (for me) is about cutting cost buying what I need but most of all reduce my environmental footprint of my little space called earth!

  85. jeannie December 31st, 2012

    Sylvie :

    I agree with you wholeheartedly! Most of what we buy, we use only a few times anyway so why not reuse someones gently used item. But I have found a few “used” things I am still using years later such as a solid teak coffee table I found for 30$.

    I collected all my pottery/dishes over a period of about ten years – now I have a beautiful collection of hand-painted Denby (pieces from 1930-2000) which I use everyday. All of these things were “thrown out” as single pieces, but together they make a beautiful collection that I and others have found new value in.

    Maybe my attitude towards shopping “used” is negative to manufacturing and the economy, but if companies like Walmart produced more sustainable products made to last or even paid the producers of such goods a living wage, maybe I would buy new goods instead of recycling.

    But for now, I will take advantage of the tremendous amount of discarded, unwanted and ultimately quality items available and donated knowing that perhaps my money will support a good charitable endeavor.

    Happy New Year to everyone!

  86. balkanbabe January 2nd, 2013

    I am going to have to disagree with the vast majority here…

    While there are overpriced items at Value Village, they still have loads of great deals, and you can find much faster than at a Goodwill. Like any store, it is buyer beware.

    On a recent trip to a VV in Toronto, I bought the following items, all like new –

    A Nanette Lepore dress for $15 – these usually are $300-400.
    A 100% silk Sandra Angellozzi blouse for $12 – these usually start at $100
    A wool Banana Republic skirt for $10 – these usually are $80
    A Banana Republic blazer for $12 – usually $100

    PLUS I had 30% off coupon! I was there for only an hour to find these amazing deals. I spend the equivalent time at Goodwill or Salvation Army and come back empty handed.

    Also – I think it IS better to spend $15 on a pair of gently used Gap jeans than $15 on a new pair. Recycle! Its better for the planet.

    Also – on the “crotch” comment in the blog post – you realize that people try on new jeans at the Gap right? Your crotch isn’t the first and only crotch to inhabit even a new pair of jeans?

  87. OnaBudget January 29th, 2013

    I do shop at VV alot, and have seen prices rise sometimes way out of line but what really gets my goat is finding jeans (St Jacobs) and wool blankets (Aberfoyle flea market) that I have been told come at least in part from VV!! What’s going on?? The amounts of these goods seem to indicate an organized effort, sort of sad when the goods have been donated in good faith.

  88. It's Just Laura January 30th, 2013

    I’m in the US. Savers is actually my favorite thrift store. Like any other thrift store, you need to watch. A lot of times things are cheaper new.
    Basically what I am saying is that I don’t think that your observations are unique to Value Village. It is a widespread problem, at least at the thrift stores that I shop at.

  89. Connie January 31st, 2013

    “It’s Just Laura” likes Savers. But she should know that Savers is a for profit corporation as is Value Village and the same businesses practices apply. Kerry’s observations are the same as I have observed at Savers. Mostly way too high prices with the occasional goody. The last…and final…time I was there they had dirty glassware (complete with dried on milk) identical to the glassware at the dollar store but twice as much. I don’t support them any more as there are good alternative thrift shops in every town run by local not for profit organizations. I donate to them, give things away on Freecycle, sometimes just give to friends, and occasionally sell the really good stuff online. And the really ratty clothes become cleaning rags. Remember those?

  90. Slim Pickens February 2nd, 2013

    Aside from their ridiculous prices, Value Village is deceiving the public as according to the Webster Dictionary, the definition of the word ‘donate’ is: “to make a gift of; especially : to contribute to a public or charitable cause.”
    So how can a for-profit business like Value Village blatanly use the word ‘donate’ in their advertising and signage, to solicit ‘donations’ and mislead consumers to think they are helping a local charity? That ain’t right. Not only does it hurt actual charities who rely heavly on local donations, VV does nothing for needy individuals or support local community help programs.
    Value Village (Savers) is a very secretive, intensly private, for-profit business that uses a charity like Canadian Diabetes Association here, as shield to hide the truth. The real story is disturbing. They are takers, not givers. Why haven’t Consumer Affairs and the Advertising Standards associations investigated this deception? And why does CDA spend more on their donation pickup program, than on diabetes research? Where is Geraldo when we need him?…. Hello CBC Marketplace? 20/20? Nightline? Anyone?

  91. winterfrost February 10th, 2013

    I am not a big fan of Value Village but their stuff is not cheap. I prefer to buy new clothing and have found stuff on the back racks of stores to be cheaper. Or I buy when its on sale. I think its ridiculous that a place like this charges such high prices and takes advantage of other people’s good will. In my area I prefer Salvation Army as they seem to have alot more stuff and their prices seem to be better. And for stuff that is used! Another indication that our world is ever so messed up.

  92. justin February 14th, 2013

    Value village charges way too
    much for their baseball caps

  93. jeannie February 16th, 2013

    Where is Geraldo when we need him?…

    ———————————-
    I hope you do not mean Geraldo of Rivera fame ! The great R******* money saver…

    What does that man have to say about the real lives of women and how they manage to take care of themselves and their families??

    Its so hard to meet the needs of a growing family today that these shops exist in the first place. But it was not long ago that it was shameful to use or wear “someone elses” possessions even if you had very little. My mother would never have gone into a church charity shop for instance (1950′s-1960′s). Thus used goods stayed really cheap back then.

    But today it seen as unforgivable to waste perfectly good stuff. This change in attitude is very appealing to marketers. They know we need them, and they have started
    to take advantage of good people.

    When will it end?

  94. Lin February 20th, 2013

    Thanks for posting this! I was disgusted when I went to buy kids clothing for my daughter. Instead I buy kids clothes from a locally run consignment shop (in much better shape and for a way better price). We donate our used clothes to the homeless shelter and to the Society of Services which runs a local thrift shop with great prices (aka: the needy can actually afford to shop there, and the money they make goes back into the community… a double-win!) I think it’s important that people know WHO they are donating to. We specifically avoid religious groups, and anyone who makes a profit on someone’s poverty.

  95. Jasmine February 22nd, 2013

    Yeah, I haven’t shopped at VV since I moved out of my crappy college apartment, where the only shopping I could reach was the VV at the end of the block.

    Now I prefer to donate and buy from Goodwill. There are several outlets and donations centres here in Edmonton and for my needs they’re perfect. There’s a dedicated book store for when I want to expand my library, and I can regularly find a few pairs of brand new quality slacks for under $8.

    Now, if only busty girls like me would start donating their cute tops…

  96. Kelly February 26th, 2013

    I still find good things at VV (I’m in Oakville, ON). I originally went there for clothes for my son – in the GTA there are NO boys clothes on clearance racks at Gap/Old Navy.. and for me, a size 2, no sizes left once things are super cheap. On Sunday I went to VV’s 50% off (LOVE that they open it up on Sundays now) and got an amazing vintage lamp (working!) for $4.99 (not part of the sale), 3 tops for my son each under $3 and jeans for him for $4 that look brand new. I buy things for him when I see them even if they are larger sizes than he needs at the moment. Also LOVE the toy prices! I often take my son there when I want to treat him and he’s 4 so doesn’t care about the toys being used. I find most stuff is dirty but I clean the items and magic eraser marks off stuff and it looks brand new. I think the prices range greatly and I just stick to what I am willing to pay.

  97. pierre March 21st, 2013

    I used to work at value village in 2003 or so. Honestly one of the best jobs in terms of nice coworkers and decent managers. The prices were quite reasonable and with an employee discount they were downright insane. Pay was low but I needed a job.
    I agree the prices now are just not realistic at all. Before we’d be busy as hell and people would come because they knew they’d find a few cool things at a good price. Even retro shop owners would come buy stuff to resell. Maybe Savers management saw that and thought, “shit, why don’t we charge the same price?”. The issue is you’ve now lost about 80% of your demographic. Considering the cloths are donated your cost is sorting and stocking. Anything left over after about 6 weeks was compressed into a bale and headed off for the developing world. Overall, it was something were I think everyone came away with something. These days I’d rather deal with goodwill.

  98. frances March 23rd, 2013

    I haven’t shopped at VV in a long time but went in recently looking for scrapbooking odds and ends that usually come bunched up in plastic bags. I ended up leaving without anything since they packaged bits of lace, which i did want, with sewing machine stuff that I did not want. the prices are way too high. I then went to MCC only to find that as soon as they dressed up the store, the prices also got dressed up. Don’t go there much anymore. UGM is still pretty good.

  99. James March 25th, 2013

    Mm Stop and think a minute, now take a deep slow breath, and realize that these “thirft stores” are acquiring this stuff for FREE! Now when I thought in these terms I want to blow my top! Sorry but I can’t shop there! For there is NO value. Don’t be buffalo!

  100. John April 7th, 2013

    OMG busines is business if you don’t like value village don’t go and stop your whining. Wait for your once a year sales at the big box stores. If enough people stop going maybe they will bend and lower prices.

  101. Susi April 10th, 2013

    I totally agree this past year in Vancouver and Burnaby, BC they just keep raising their prices. I went there yesterday to find a new belt for work. I found a black plastic belt, (the kind you get for free with a dress) was $6.99! It wasn’t leather or anything even had a tear in the stretch material on the back. I thought VV was to help people who were low income how can these people afford it? And I stopped dropping off my used clothing to them after I heard they only give a very small percent to helping people the rest goes to the corporation.

  102. Paula April 11th, 2013

    So glad I found your experiment article!! You are completely right, prices are out of control!!! I often see many items for 75% more than their original home @ Dollarama!!! What was a buck there, is 2-20 AT VV. We do not shop there anymore as a result of their crazy prices and the fact that they are, as Slim Pickens mentions, “…. a very secretive, intensly private, for-profit business that uses a charity like Canadian Diabetes Association here, as shield to hide the truth.” My husband used to get so wound up and almost ‘rage filled’ after leaving VV the last few times and his negative energy was contagious. What should be a pleasant experience, or so we thought, turns out to be followed by, a ..”What the heck is wrong with these people?!!!” rant all the way home and continues on from there….I too could write a book after reading this!!! Just glad to know we are not being over exaggeratedly unappreciative people. I will confess though, we have made it a sort of ‘outing’ in the cold winter months and gone to VV to simply let our toddler run around the isles and sometimes, straight to the toy section (antibacterial hand wipes in pocket)!!!!! We will buy something, if it catches our eye while observing our toddler, and even then, that is pretty rare. Sometimes, while I observe my toddler and interact with her or walk briskly down isles with her, my husband will start up conversations with others about the prices and educate them about the fact that VV is private and for profit, and then mentions all the places he knows that are non profit places to shop and find things they may need. Sometimes, he stops people right at the drop off depot area and does the same. No point in emailing them. I feel confident that they already know about their prices and it would be a waste of time. Some big wigs got to go there and do a consumer program special or something. We all know that there is a plethora of information to do so. Anyway, thank you so much for this article, I am posting URL re facebook right now!!!!
    P.S Hope you enjoyed your green overalls!!!

  103. martine April 14th, 2013

    My favourite…those silver hexagon tea light lanterns with glass sides, commonly $3.00 @vv. Also sell new, without rust @ IKEA for, wait for it….$ 2.99. I got mine for free on a promotional deal @ IKEA many years ago.
    The Edmonds VV has a flour sifter for 4.99, it’s a piece if crap made in China not worth 2 bucks, but the best part is…it’s broken! It’s been on the shelf for over two weeks, I think they believe it’s vintage cause it’s styled after a vintage design. Nope not vintage, just garbage!
    Clothes @ Sears liquidation are half what the are at VV & no one has worn them out for you.
    That Gap vest you mentioned, got mine @ Orphan Aid on Edmonds for $5.00, down filled.
    VV is complete rip off yet it’s still packed with people, what gives?

  104. Joe April 18th, 2013

    Who ever prices this company’s books and records and puts them behind the “special area” is an idiot. Scratched Beatles records for 19.99! Books that are book club edition for hundreds of dollars! Yes some book club editions are nice, but 250 bucks for a book that sells on ebay for 100!?!??!?? Get your act together Value Village and stop ripping people off.

  105. Max Ikbal April 24th, 2013

    I agree with the comments about not shopping at Walmart. Giving your business to the big W is like encouraging worker manipulation in North America as well as the rest of the world. Walmart is responsible for the bankruptcy of so many mom n pop small businesses.

    There is a lot of hype around the new Target stores in Canada. I wonder if they will be any better than W-mart ( I hope so)

  106. Emryss April 27th, 2013

    We have been shocked by the prices at Value Village too. We wander through from time to time, more than half expecting to not get anything because of those ridiculous prices.

    Sometimes, though, like with your cute green kiddo overalls, we do find a bargain. I rescue Barbie dolls, some for my own collection, some for my little granddaughter who is just starting hers, other to clean up and give away…but the thing is even at Value Village’s odd pricing, to find the older dolls at all is great! And at anything under $20 is all the better. I once found a #2 Barbie for $3.99! Granted she was in need of clothes, but some of these particular dolls go for hundreds of dollars!
    My roomie is into manga and anime, or the Japanese books like Naruto, Black Butler, Samurai Champloo. These can sometimes be found for the price of children’s books, while they retail at $10.99 or more. And many of them are no longer available.

    There is the “thrill of the hunt”…but Savers/Value Village needs to keep in mind they ARE a thrift store!

    Thanks for the well done article!

  107. Steve May 1st, 2013

    Value Village does nothing more then gouge customers. They do not give anything to Diabetes Association. The truth is they BUY the product from them. So its tit for tat. How are they donating anything. They are not. i have found a GREAT thrift store in Oshawa. Star Thrift store. Rumor has it that an ex value village executive started it. he got sick of Value Village and its attitude. Terrible customer service. Its located at 200 John st W in Midtown mall beside the dollarama. Lower prices, quality items, doesn’t stink like most thrift stores and the employees are kind and thoughtful. I suggest you check it out. They are in need of your donations and they support the CANADIAN CANCER SOCIETY. 905-728-8365

  108. John C. May 3rd, 2013

    Absolutely excellent article and comments.

    Now, I know my local Value Village employees kids and probably lots of first timers in the work force. And I do still find the odd deal on a book or hobby item.

    But donating to Value Village: NO WAY!

    The thing that so sticks in my craw … Tom Ellison, owner, bought this waterfront mansion:

    “This landmark compound, “Harmony,” sold in 2012 for $21.6 million. This was the most expensive LW Map of the Stars® waterfront sale in 2012. It was listed at $26.9 million … From the listing: “Resting gently on 2.93 acres, Harmony commands an extraordinary 324 feet of Lake Washington waterfront and sets its vista on the Seattle skyline and Mount Rainier . . . Waves roll gently up on the beach as the sun shines down on two private docks. . . [nearly 20,000 square feet in 4 buildings]. . living wing plays host to the grotto, saline pool and exercise areas. Upstairs two guest suites each with their own bath and walk-in closets . . . private outdoor spa . . . A world like no other.” The listing was featured in a 3/20/11 Seattle Mansions Blog. The seller was Marsha Stroum Sloan Glazer. The buyer was THOMAS ELLISON, the principal owner of the Value-Village/Savers chain of stores.”

    You have to be kidding me.

    The man is making a killing on other peoples’ ignorance.

    Its literally highway robbery.

    Mind, I need the exercise, so I’ll still walk there, especially in the winter, for a warm pit stop.

    Again, great site, article and posts.

  109. keitha May 4th, 2013

    Pretty sure you mean “gouged”, not gsuged?

    I agree, btw. VV is mostly overpriced.

  110. Martyna May 7th, 2013

    I agree that the prices are terrible! This seems to be consistent with other big name thrift stores like Salvation Army and Goodwill (Have to wonder how they get away with making money SO MUCH MONEY off of merchandise that is donated AND delivered for free!)

    The prices are generally high but there are things you just have to stop and laugh at. I think this is partially because employees are sifting through so many items that they can’t pay enough attention to properly price merchandise. Pieces are grouped into general categories and priced accordingly. For example, the other day I found a pair of 7 for all mankind jeans for $9.99 (Retail $200+) beside a pair of George jeans for the same price (Retail $14.99).

    Having said that, I am still a huge thrift store advocate and have been able to consistently find good deals. I would, however, like to mention that there are plenty of amazing thrift stores that are 100% charity centered and have amazing prices, if you live in the brampton/georgetown area, you should check out the UCHS thrift store located in Moore Park plaza – Georgetown. Fantastic items, dirt cheap prices and friendly staff. Pet friendly!

  111. Barbara May 21st, 2013

    It’s not just the prices, either. The customer service at ours is terrible. When I told a cashier that I didn’t understand the cards they gave out and thought they were a waste, she got very snarky with me. Not that she was friendly before. LOL

  112. Kathie June 4th, 2013

    Hi everyone I complained to Value Village on their FB page and posted pics as evidence of their overpricing on some items and they blocked me and deleted all of my posts. For the VV employee who responded here I just want to say, its not that we don’t understand that the cost of business goes up and did go up but when an item is so obviously ridiculously priced, it just seems that something smells rotten!!! Yeah, we’ve all heard how generous VV is by giving to charities but they will get tax deductions on these charitable donations, that still doesn’t mean that they need to suck every conceivable penny out of your wallet…too many examples are out there for all to see…used children’s bikes $149.99 (?), it was probably only $89.00 new so who does that research and comes up with that price? If it’s deemed a collectible they jack the price up to even more ridiculousness, why? They do this because someone with authority said “Make them pay!” THAT is at the heart of the pricing issue, the obvious gouging of their customers. Now don’t get me wrong, there is still good deals to be had on used items in VV but the ridiculous pricing is overshadowing any good pricing.

  113. sugarstuff June 4th, 2013

    Re: Kathie,

    Its clear that they are looking for someone to fall for it, or when they have their ‘sale’ they make sure that they get every penny they can. The less people shop there they will lose their support and will either have to change their ways or close.

    Clearly that are also not a ‘value’ store, just as greedy as other retailers. Except that they are re selling donations and used items! They should be embarrassed but I guess when something really happens then they will have no choice but to pay attention.

  114. Lisa June 4th, 2013

    Hahaha, I used to work at that exact Value Village, Kerry, and let me tell you, it’s the bosses who make the prices too high. And when the stuff doesn’t sell on the floor, it’s packed up and SOLD to third world people for them to resell.

  115. marilyn June 18th, 2013

    I have enjoyed reading the comments re VV. Completely agree. I shop at Bibles for Missions. Their prices are amazing and quality very high. All staff are volunteer and every article is inspected for stains rips tears etc. Volunteers repair, replace buttons, zippers etc. If stained it will be laundered and only be offered for sale if clean. Staff are extremely pleasant and helpful. My family depends on being able to dress well and furnish our home within our very limited budget thanks to this store. While everyday prices are low ($3.00 for jeans, slacks, skirts, $2.00 for t shirts) on the first Mon of the month they have 50% off household items and clothing is $5.00 a bag. All this and the money goes to a wonderful cause. Not as previously stated re VV for buying mansions here on earth. Try it, you’ll be amazed!

  116. Bon Bon June 22nd, 2013

    My sister ran a business right next door to Value Village (Edmonton) and they had a garbage dumpster (huge) that was full of good items. Brand new hiking boots (looked like never worn), Betty Crocker cookbook (never opened), pocket books, luggage (just like new), shelves, children’s toys, children’s bike, wall pictures, clothes. They might not have sold quickly, which is hard to believe so they tossed them in the garbage dumpster (huge), that was picked up every week. Did I tell you the dumpster was huge… at least 6 feet deep and 10 feet long… huge. She was caught taking perfectly good items out and they told her they would call the police and report her. This was garbage so how is she stealing. This went on week, after week, after week. The stuff they THREW OUT was overwhelming – this made no sense. So if you give them something, you might just find it in their dumpster, that was huge…..

  117. Kim July 4th, 2013

    The prices at Value Village are criminal. Every once in a while I’ll find something that’s escaped their price-gouging, but most of the prices are comparable with brand new items. For example, faded and worn tops from Walmart that probably cost more than they did new.

    Recently I found a pair of Silver Jeans where the top of the jeans fit, but several inches of the bottom were destroyed (not in a fashionable or deliberate way!). They were asking $14.99, so I asked if it would be possible to get a discount because I was going to have to make them into shorts. The “supervisor” condescendingly explained that they were Silver jeans and that they were worth $120. I laughed because I happened to be wearing a pair of Silvers that I bought brand new from Bootlegger for half that much. There’s no reason to pay full retail price when there are frequent sales.

  118. Bella July 17th, 2013

    I am very happy to see that most of the comments here are exactly what I would have written. I have been a long time supporter of thrift stores, and basically could not have clothed my 4 kids without them. The past two years have seen a steady increase in prices that range from ridiculous to laughable… I refuse to buy clothing at VV, or anything electronic…I avoid bedding, and curtains, and my one time favorite, vintage ART…all now hugely overpriced. I now frequent the new local used book store and other thrift shops where bargains are the norm, not the exception… Frenchies, Louies, Sally Ann,…But the best place to find bargains if you are quick is Kijiji…buying from real people in your community is a great way to recycle and help support others. Don’t donate anything to these “corporations”. Post notices in grocery stores/post office/community centers or online to sell locally. The trend these days is to minimize anyway… lets all buy only quality used goods from reputable sources. Sell or give away your gently used goods to friends or donate to genuine charities for re-sale. Maybe these greedy corporations will get the message. We are not as dumb as you think! Great post!

  119. scottty July 20th, 2013

    Lots of great comments here; loved reading them. I fall somewhere in the middle. Certainly the prices at VV have gone up (in some cases to ridiculous levels) but I still am able to find great deals with careful shopping. I’m in the camp with those who would rather buy a lightly used quality brand than purchase poor quality new items at Walmart. The local VV stores around Puget Sound WA area like to price name brand jeans between $15-18 which is usually more than I like to pay but since when can you find Levis anywhere for $15? I picked up a like new Columbia fleece vest a couple weeks ago for $6, I’ve not seen that on any clearance rack (and I do shop clearance). I would like to see VV reduce the everyday price on their merchandise rather than focusing on the holiday half off days to make it easier to find bargains all the time. Happy Hunting Everyone

  120. Barbara Ann July 24th, 2013

    Value Village in Ontario has skyrocket prices, honestly, $25 for used pair of shoes, whereas some people mentioned getting new at Payless! However, I did managed on their 50 off sale to buy a pair of good quality safety shoes for $15.
    Other than their 50% sales, no one even shops there. In Kensington Market – Spadina, Chinese shops are selling plain t shirts at 6@$10! And brand new pants at around $10 each.
    Value Village use to be cheap when they first came out, but honestly, why go there when you can hit the yard sales? As for the Good Will, they are also quite pricey, I see nobody in there. Church thrift stores are your best bet – unless you are in Dawson City, Yukon, where they let a local run the place and see increased the prices by 80%, course no one shops there anymore, it’s all about greed – and I am sure, they really don’t donate much to the Diabetes Foundation.

  121. Meg July 31st, 2013

    If you notice on the VV Value Village web site (or Value Pillage, as I like to call it, they say that they pay the charities for every pound of “soft goods.” Unsold “soft goods” are re-sold overseas. They pay the charities nothing for the furniture, electronics, books, the unsold go to landfill; housewares, the unsold goes to landfill; or jewelry. I’m not sure where the unsold overpriced jewelry goes but I heard a sales manager gloating about a $12,000 watch that had been donated. And not only that but they get the charities to collect it all. It makes me so mad that an American company comes and provides a great second hand shopping box store experience, as a contrast to “the dirty smelly thrift shops” (they spray Febreeze from dispensers on posts near the ceiling) driving most of them out of business. Value Pillage is the Walmart of the thrift shop, and has basically cornered the market on what Canadians give to charity, as they have done since the beginning of Canada. Now Canadians are no longer “giving to charity” except by the barest stretch of the definition. And the prices! If they would only price housewares so that a poor person setting up an apartment – maybe they got it through the John Howard Society – could buy some pots and pans etc. like how about a dinner plate from China for .50$ instead of $1.99 . So people go to the dollar stores and buy new trash, which ends up unsold at Value Village. Where’s the re-cycling in that? I find this wildly unethical and perfectly legal. Give us back our thrift shops.
    Sorry to go on so long, but you’ve struck a nerve with this one. I think the blog is great, and I look forward to reading through the posts. Thanks for your time, and the space on the page.
    Suggest to your friends to donate their soft goods to VV if they wish, and to donate other items elsewhere if they can.

  122. Jeannie August 1st, 2013

    Oh, I agree with MEG 100%!!

    I am so mad about the deception and harm done by this company – but also with Goodwill Industries, who are just as guilty for their working conditions and false charitable claims. I could go on and on (and with apologies to everyone, I sometimes do…)

    There are folks who want to recycle, there are folks who need affordable goods and there are folks who want to help charities and their communities. And there are folks who want to realize all of these goals. There is simply very little oversight by the federal agencies who are purported to regulate these charities.

    lord knows how many lobbyists are in Ottawa on behalf of these billion dollar enterprises.

  123. Thistle August 5th, 2013

    Honestly, last time I went to VV I got my boyfriend a nice suit, and I got myself 3 lovely (and barely used) skirts, as well as 3 tops. For $40.
    The suit was from Tip Top Tailors, so it likely wasn’t cheap. It had both pants and jacket. Black, and clean. Not a stitch out of place on any of the items I bought.

    So that’s $40 for 8 items, essentially.

    And your prices from Wal-Mart? I have NEVER seen baby clothes for fewer than $10 at Wal-Mart. And that’s for a hat. Not a shirt, or pants, which cost considerably more. A freaking baby hat was $10 and Wal-Mart. I found the same one at VV for $1.

    I’ve gone to Salvation Army recently. Do you know how much they wanted for a shredded leather jacket? $30. It had holes in it. Large holes. And I’m pretty sure that crusty stuff inside, surrounding some of the smaller round holes was blood. Which would mean it wasn’t cleaned.

    Frankly, I’m going to stick with my shopping at VV. So far, it’s been more than reasonable for me.

  124. rainydays August 5th, 2013

    Re: Thistle,

    I agree that Walmart is not cheap. Some items are definitely comparable but most are regular prices. And while some of their clothing is okay, some of it is cheaply made. Not to mention that Walmart is generally a boring place to shop, certainly nothing original about it!

    The VV in my area is not cheap, either. So I shop around elsewhere.

  125. GrandmaDragon August 8th, 2013

    Sounds like the Value Village stores in Canada are different from the ones here in Oregon. I have always found the prices to be average thrift store prices, and every week they have had a half-price tag color. Now they have expanded that to three colors a week, for 25%, 50%, and 75% off! That’s what our local St Vinnie’s used to do before they closed their local store. I enjoy finding overlooked things at the super discount. The people who work there are polite and helpful, and the store smells like, wait for it, a thrift store. What do you expect? And anybody who buys clothing or textiles at a thrift store and does not plan to wash it when they get it home is a real gambler!

    I have never seen prices here like some of you folks have posted. I have bought plenty of kid and grandkid clothes, sewing patterns, and textile items to be made into something else. It’s true, some of the baggies of stuff combine unlikely items, but it’s often the case that it’s still a good deal. I agree with some of you that it’s better to avoid Wal-Mart and keep a smaller carbon footprint. When I donate things it’s usually to either Goodwill or one of the local shelters, because I am aware of Value Village’s for-profit status, but I shop there often.

  126. bunsenburner August 19th, 2013

    Value Village can be a great place to shop IF you know your prices. My best deals so far:
    Le Creuset pot 18.99 (new would be 200-300)
    Banana Republic Trench Coat 24.99
    I’ve also got some cool paintings, great china, wooden bowls, handmade pottery etc. I collect 70s style stuff and I’ve scored a good deal of it at VV.
    Biggest ripoffs: anything GAP, Old Navy, Tommy Hilfiger etc. they seem to think these are worth a fortune.
    I’m a hardcore addict!!! I go often but will only buy when I find something really worthwhile. The quality you find can be hugely different depending in which neighbourhood the store is located.

  127. susie hodgson September 7th, 2013

    If you are tired of VV prices and live in the oshawa ontario area… try Star Thrift Store at 200 John St.. Midtown mall. The prices are about 1/3 what you pay at VV and they always have tag colour sales as well as frequent 50% storewide sales. Even big brand names are cheap. Got guess jeans there.. looked brand new. Tag was 5.99! Can’t find better deals.. I’ve looked. Check them out starthriftstores.com and they support Canadian Cancer Society.

  128. Stacey September 10th, 2013

    I totally agree with this, BUT I wish I would have been there to buy those barbies at that price. LOL I am a vintage barbie collector and those lovely old girls would have been well worth it =)

  129. Roshana September 12th, 2013

    So glad to read all the comments from others about V.V.
    Like everyone else, I no longer shop or donate goods to V.V.
    I personally hope V.V. goes out of business soon.

  130. Lisa September 21st, 2013

    VV sucks
    I don’t take them anything anymore and I don’t don their doors any more either. Not when they are selling a George shirt for $10 and I could buy it NEW at Wal Mart.
    I instead make the trip to Goodwill and Sally Ann instead. I bought a great pair of nearly new toddler 7 Buster Brown dress shoes for DS for $.99 at Sally Ann, and a Tommy dress shirt for $2 in the same trip. Plus once a month they have a 50% off sale, which would have made those shoes $.50 if I had hit the right day. And I know the funds are going to the soup kitchen and various shelters and family services here in town.
    I also go to Once Upon a Child. They are super to deal with and if you have stuff to unload they will buy it as long as it is in good condition. Everything in there is much better condition then VV because they are picky and about the same price or less then VV. That way I don’t have to dig through CRAP to find the ONE good item…they did that for me when buying the items.

  131. neil September 23rd, 2013

    i am a book collector (just collect, don’t sell). stopped in the other day and saw a “special” book they had sealed in a bag priced at $5.97. I was interested and they allowed me to open it. Not only was it a used school book (but vintage) but it had the back page torn out which essentially renders it valueless. If they don’t know the fine points of pricing books why do they even attempt to classify some as “special” and thus price them higher than a “normal” one?

  132. Tammy September 24th, 2013

    We used to love going to the Village back in the day, but honestly I wouldn’t step foot in one now. I stick to Goodwill or the Sally Ann.

    I found this on the local kijiji under free clothes that VV posted – disgraceful (I flagged it as mis-categorized and complained about it being there)

    http://london.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-sell-clothing-kids-youth-Value-Village-Donation-Drive-W0QQAdIdZ526829778

  133. Kathie September 27th, 2013

    VV has a FB fan page and people are always leaving negative comments about the ridiculous pricing, VV’s canned response is to “bring the matter up to the store mgr”…well my hubby was in a VV in Richmond, BC yesterday looking at an item that was overpriced (a dish that was lidless but originally had a lid)I suggested to him, over the phone, to see if they could do better on the price because the dish was missing it’s lid. He wanted to talk to the mgr oh, but guess what!!! The Mgr didn’t even BOTHER to come up front to speak with him. Nice Customer service there VV!!! So “speak to the mgr” is just a lot of talk and no action. Shame on you VV and your mgr’s!!!

  134. Erica September 27th, 2013

    I think you need to be a bit more adventurous when shopping at thrift stores. My husband and a friend of his have a running contest at vv. they purchase valuable damage stuff with lifetime warranties and return them to the manufacturer. New Patagonia jacket , headlamp, stereo system…just a few items they have had replaced….craptastic fun!

  135. p. October 11th, 2013

    Value Village is a large FOR PROFIT CORPORATION. It is no different than a regular retail corporation.

    I helped write an article on Wikipedia but it was stripped by the marketing maffia of Value village

    Village village is owned by a millionaire…its a corporation making money on false advertising and and information of Canadians and Americans

    It lines it self up and pretends its like Goodwill and Salvation Army…which it is not.

    Value Village is a FOR PROFIT COMPANY. Please take your used items to these non profit organizations a much as you can. Avoid giving your used items to Value village if at all possible

  136. p. October 11th, 2013

    Be aware of the comments by worker of vv

    That person is an employee of Value Village

    Probably a marketing drone/ robot. Value

    village actually goes to protect against people who complain against them. The actually do it all the time. This is a corporation and they have to protect it

  137. Lorraine October 11th, 2013

    Ohhh goodness……….. Ive read the first 20 or so posts…. AND get this people.. Value Village in Canada is owned by WAL MART…. the first V.V. to open in my home town was about 20 years ago… prices were OK about same as other Charity shops. Saint Vincents..Salvation Army Thrift Store… BUT the store was smelly (sewage smell) which found out later that this particular store had problems with sewage back up…. Worse yet was the condition of the cloth put out on hangers….. Skid marks….. blood stains , crusted unidentified masses on cloths…. so wrinkled that a wash and iron probably wouldnt smooth out the creases of the item…. SO…… Been there maybe 3 times in my life and was always disappointed with item or prices…. I turn my FRUGAL NOSE TO YOU VV and WALMART

  138. MiffedExVV'er October 20th, 2013

    So, I’ve noticed over the past few years VV prices were starting to go up to some crazy limits!! Because of this over the past year and a bit I shop there for my kids and myself ONLY on their 50% off sales. Tonight my kids and I went there (Victoria, BC store) to see if we could find a winter’s coat for my daughter and dress shoes for my son. Daughter didn’t have any luck..not much selection..and prices were mostly $15-50. A couple cheaper but not her style. So we moved on over to the shoe section for my son. OMG!!! Cheapest pair was $15. Most were $25-$25. There was one pair there for $30 marked AS IS. Are you kidding me?? You expect people to pay $30 for USED products that obviously as a flaw (otherwise it wouldn’t be marked as is). Outrageous!! We promptly turned around and left the store. Oh and on our way in we saw a shawl exactly like one my daughter had awhile back that we had purchased at Dollarama for $2. VV had it priced for $10. What a rip job!! I will continue to support other (much more worthy) thrift stores in my town, as I don’t believe in filling the pockets of a rich guy who owns his own island off the coast of Australia..would rather support the charities around here and all the great programs they have! VV used to be such a fun, reasonably priced store. Not anymore!Shame on you VV!!

  139. Mary October 21st, 2013

    Just wanted to say “hear here” to MiffedExVV’er’s comment…..you’d think you’d get over the aggravation we all seem to have with VV, but each time I see another comment on the outrage of their prices, I vow all over again that I won’t support them any longer, in any way.

  140. Kathie October 27th, 2013
  141. foxinabox October 27th, 2013

    Anyone else noticing equally egregious price-hiking at other so-called thrift stores? Or is it just alaska? Every second-hand shop here seems to think they’re selling gold fucking bullion.

  142. Skyang October 28th, 2013

    I have been a thrift store shopper for years and love it. I cant afford brand name stuff for my kids so i pick it up cheaper where I can. Its true VV has gone up but so has all the other thrift stores. I am a busy mom who really doesn’t have time to shop so I cant be at the mall every sale to check out what’s cheap, i go when i need something. I tend to go more often to the thrift stores that support the local community (salvation army, bible thrift stores, even hospital ones). i checked on line and found one of the Goodwill stores i went to had it charity license revoked because of false claims so these smaller ones donate to your local hospital and churches even shelters and community programs. It’s worth looking in to.

  143. ewa werynska-kitrys October 28th, 2013

    omg , I do have a problem in VV ,but do not expected find that many nagatives comments about that store, I leave in Ontario , VV in Stoney Creek was one of my favorite stores ,for over 15 yor 17 years, then i got sick , do not shop for over 3 years when last fall i go back to my shoping expirience i have a bog surprice ,what and when something happen to that store, the prices are high some items cost more then some new items in walmart, winners ,gap ,west 49 I even faound pair of sgorts from sears cost more in VV then I see in Sears, dont know what to make out of this , for a while i though is only in that specific store, but checking othet VV stores in not much diffret ,those little smaller still keep eyes on their prices,but i am guessing they have to fallow some orders to , for those from Ontario ,is a small VV store in Burlington, so farmine favorite, you still can find there a chai or a COUCH AT A decrnt price, the clothes the prices are similiar to other Vv stor but at list they do not put on the floor stain or ripr items ,all emplee are nice great you with a smile you still can find a scarf for 2.99 the same other vv will charge 7.99

  144. Megan October 29th, 2013

    Goodwill has the same problem here in the US. It’s ridiculous how much they’re trying to get off stuff they got for free.

  145. Alisha October 30th, 2013

    I’ve noticed it quite a bit lately. I dot even bother to shop for myself, I only go on 50% off dayto get my hubby enough jeans to last a couple months for work.

  146. Erik November 5th, 2013

    I work at a Savers in New England and I know that our prices are quite fair, we usually do 75% off retail. Then there are also $3 off 10 dollar purchase coupons that are given with each donation, 30% off coupons given by specials, special sale days for club card holders, 20% off senior days 50% off sale days, and stamp cards where you get a stamp for every $5 spent or thing donated that is the size of a brown paper shopping bag (15 stamps fills the card). We also have to pay for utilities and supplies and property/maintenance fees and to pay all the (near 50) employees. We also pay the charities we partner with for donations taken in. I don’t think people understand that the items we get for “free” pays for a lot of things…though our customers are also quite rude and make huge messes so we have to over staff to compensate having to clean up the mess people make which some times pushes people into overtime for the week, not that I mind getting paid overtime (and time and a half on Sundays) but it takes away from the money we can actually give to the charities. Places like Good Will and Salvation Army actually allow volunteers I believe but anyone that works in Savers has to be paid.

  147. Erik November 5th, 2013

    an example is the Gap 1969 jeans that say wtf savers. Those jeans retail for $80 and are being sold for less than 20% retail. We can’t take into consideration when things could be sold at an amazing discount be a second hand vendor to begin with, that’d be like saying you saw someone sell an XBOX 360 for $1 at a yard sale so we should sell it for .25 cents. A yard sale doesn’t have the same overhead, nor does it give any of the proceeds to charity.

  148. AC Main November 11th, 2013

    Yes, VV is price-gouging to reward its owners and shareholders. Yes, they get huge returns on items donated through the good will of people who intend to help charities.

    What’s harder to take are the sanctimonious announcements played in the stores about how the chain is helping charities right in that community. True, they are. At an unbelievable rate of profit to the American owners. Nice to be able to price-gouge and give oneself a pat on the back while doing so.

    Would suggest the following amendment to the in-store announcements: “Value Village profits several hundred times over from whatever you, in your well-meaning innocence, choose to donate to community charities via those charities’ pick-ups. Thus, VV has no need to invest in trucks, drivers or transportation! The merchandise, and then the money, just come rolling in! And by the way, we’d be glad to tell you what that shade of sea foam does for your eyes.”

  149. Jamie November 12th, 2013

    While I have got many deals at VV particularly in the electronics area I do find their prices trending upwards.
    I have looked for clothing but refuse to pay more than $10-15 for any shorts or pants.
    I have been to the Salvation Army and goodwill by me as well and I find VV has the better items in their stores.
    I wonder why that is?
    If people only knew how much profit or charity these stores get or give then people would be able to make better choices when donating their goods..

  150. Luchog L November 12th, 2013

    The problem with Value Village in most areas is that it’s not catering to low-income shoppers anymore, it’s catering to hipsters; and jacking up the prices accordingly.

  151. Glidgle November 12th, 2013

    Yeah, it’s hard to find something good. But occasionally the store just doesn’t know what they have! Got a pair of 200$ winter riding pants for 8$. Awesome. I worked there once and I quit. I was working in the book section and someone seemed to have donating someones collection! There was a copy of peter rabbit worth easily 50$. Tossed in the garbage.

  152. Irma November 15th, 2013

    It’s been years since I noticed any good furniture/household items have been skimmed by employees/owners and only the junk is being put on the floors of Village des Valeurs (Value Village in the rest of Canada). I suspect they take anything good and resell to flea markets/antique dealers and the like. Their prices are laughable now as you can always buy cheaper new somewhere else. It’s a shame for the people who really need these stores though as surely they can no longer afford it. I’m thinking Salvation Army, Renaissance do the same thing but at least their prices make more sense.

  153. Patricia November 18th, 2013

    Hi used to be a VV customer until I discovered retail sales. Reitmans is especially good for this sort of thing and they also sell petites and plus sizes. Another good store is Rickis which is a very expensive store but I have bought brand new skirts for work at their sales for $9.99, $4.99 and also for $1!!
    You have to be savvy and figure out where to go for what you want.

    I was recently in VV to look for a costume. I tried on a Danier leather coat that was for sale for $59! Seriously, I can go to the Danier outlet in Cambridge and buy a brand new leather coat for just $20 more.

    Which brings me to another point. When I first started shopping VV in the 1990′s it was possible get some truly beautiful clothing there – in fact designer stuff that had never been worn because it had the original tags on it. This stopped being possible around 2008 when all of that clothing was likely directed to high end second hand shops where it can earn more money. I still have some of the beautiful evening wear pieces I bought from back then, very classic, and black. Cannot be found today in VV.

    Finally, I remember once returning something I purchased at VV because it had a huge tear in it that somehow I never saw – it was a sweater I think. They took it back and a week later when I went into the store I found it back on the rack. :(
    They also stopped their return policy too – it became ridiculous.

  154. Jennifer November 19th, 2013

    Hey Kerri I’m from montreal and you should hear what happend to me…I was 9 mths pregnant when they had those stamp cards for 30%off. The lady in front of me in line handed cashire a card and she put it under her cash. I handed cashier my card and she said I stole the one she put down in her opened cash. However mildly insulting I would think a thief would have grabbed the cash! Anyhow I told her no this ones mine then she got obnoxiously loud and wouldn’t let me leave store she even grabbed my credit card to hold me there. I told her i had 6 cards in my wallet and they expire in 3 days I wouldnt be able to use the ones I had. She got manager I showed him my cards and explained I had to leave now without the baby clothes as I was being charged now 5$ per min late at daycare.The whole store was looking to see what was going on,I almost cried due to my hormones,I was mortified. They pulled up the video footage and saw she misplaced it UNDER her cash. I am a single mom and I just went back,yes I went back cuz I have no choice but to shop there and they wanted 90$for a fall jacket for my son,they said cuz it was Columbia. I told her new it costs 129 and managers response was yea so you save 30$….ok and if I get it on clearance or at WINNERS it will be 90 but *NEW*middle class and the rich that want trends but not at full price can afford to shop there not a single mother of 2,which is what it’s there for. We can afford the things that are worn and dirty which yes they ship the bulk off to africa. So the poor can get only have the scrap and have to save up to buy it. when I was working I donated everything there for free,I wanted the poor to be able to have their needs met in tight situations and great if they were able to find that treasure and their son or daughter could wear it and fit in.Or some little toys no one is playing with anymore to put some play in a childs life whos parents cant afford them.My son needs a jacket and I can’t afford it. its going to snow soon,hes wearing two fall jackets I don’t know what I’m going to do. The poor have no resources and that’s what stores like that were there for before they turned into all profit. The Grinch of Value Village who Stole Christmas.

  155. Michelle November 26th, 2013

    I have to politely disagree with the majority of the posters on this one…at least partly. Yes SOME prices at VV are completely out of sync with what items are worth, this is mostly true for those items that originate at discount stores (i.e. walmart, target, joe fresh in Canada etc). For those items you might only be paying slightly less (and sometimes the same or more) than you would at the original store. Generally not worth it. Where the value comes in is getting those items that are of high quality (and I don’t just mean names, but looking at construction, materials, and fit which is much more important) for a fraction of what you would pay new. As an example I bought a beautiful wool and cashmere designer fall coat in a very classic style with the tags still on for $20 — the original price was $565. Some recent purchases have been a wool blend pencil skirt for $6 (retail about $70), a pair of high quality designer boys jeans for $4 (normally $40), a boys sweater for $4 (retail $30), a pair of $200 Citizens of Humanity jeans for $9, a brand new wrapped $60 board game that was on my wish list for $3, a silk dress for $20 (retail about $200) among many many others.

    You have to be choosy, but there are still lots of good deals to be had. Especially when you consider that I purchased most of these items with 30% off coupons or on 505% days (which I did not reflect in the prices listed above, so I paid even less)

    Not only are your savings from what you would pay over retail higher on the better quality clothing at VV, but with good quality clothing in great condition, most items last longer, so your cost per wear ends up being very low.

    There are a couple of other reasons why I do most of my thrift shopping at VV over other thrift shops (although I do go to other thrift stores as well as yard sales and swap meets). Firstly, I’m a very small size and there are less items that fit me, having to go through racks upon racks to find the few items in my sizing is generally not worth my time, and time is also money. Also, I have had terrible luck with Good Will, although I know many people who swear by the stores. The two nearest me are not only completely disorganized and have surly staff, they are both utterly filthy. Like really really gross. Even if I’m shopping on a budget, I still don’t want it to be a decidedly unpleasant experience.

    Also, as far as shopping at discount racks at regular stores, I do that but I find a couple of negatives which puts me in favour of VV as my number one clothing source. Firstly again is sizing. If you are a Medium or Large then there’s usually lots of choice, XS or a larger size pickings can be slim. Also, the styles that are left over and end up on the clearance rack can sometimes (although) not always, leave something to be desired. For instance, sometimes items are there because of a fit or design oversightand often the styles may not be what I’m looking for. However the biggest issue, is that regularly shopping these stores, means that I have to be going regularly. Often I go to VV and pick up a dozen or more items at once. I would have to go many many times to the clearance racks to get the same number of desirable items and I find that just takes too much time.

    Anyhow, that’s my two cents. But if anyone knows of some great thrift stores in Toronto, I’d be totally open to broadening my horizons!

  156. Tamara werden December 6th, 2013

    VV should be shut down, frm my tell all girls!! 1 yes one Pennie from we know Pennie is no longer with us !! So sad but biszzzzzz is boss’ right VV?!?! Only I only 1 Pennie frm each dalllllar u spend goes to there charity?? Rarely false but is this second hand help community doing more?’ cough , sorry
    I have a deaf child , single income . So what u say? Ok that’s all I can afford, buy a toy for a hearing impaired child that was broken and missing pieces.. Tryed to return, but because it was opened and no old school 190O’s receipt I was told or was not there product. Now my 2 yr old has been diagnosed with dwarfism syndrome, I bought clothes for her bday that were too big, stained, missing zippers, buttons, holes in arm Pitts. but sold each at 9.99?? My deaf child won’t try clothes on if a tag is on, so I bring plastic torn tag bk, price tag, receipt , bank statement papers for proof of purchasing? I can’t get money bk? I’ve been treated like a lier??
    Well I worked on retail for 26 yrs, worked for Holt Renfrew, never treated my clientele this way! My clients would sneeze at the smell of the Red Deer Store!! I still do!!
    You think I asked my children to be born special needs?
    You think I choose a single income? You punish a mom who wants hand me downs for her kids that are inspected complete, clean, and at the same time gives to kids and families in need? Those who need, we do give back! How dare you take frm me!!
    Your company I hope fails. You failed my children, all I wanted was a place that cared for those in need but those in need that needed you, and came to you to help out children believe all toys worked, paints weren’t dryed out, paper wasn’t ripped, wheels weren’t broken, dollies eyes opened and closed, puzzles for first speaking words for a deaf child were all threre!! Mistakes for mother on a size?
    I’ve managed Holt Renfrew Vancouver, Club Monaco. Vancouver,
    I never judged, just loved clothes and people. I was and am good at what Ive done and do!! My children are now my life?
    You don’t help those with or without!
    Your
    Greed I hope others see.
    I’m not sorry to say your a sad sagging sinking ship selfishly sucking shallow Money hungry org!
    Hope you read and delete those of us that FEEL to write, but you feel the power of DELETE!! But you still read it!!!!
    You never respond which I wouldn’t expect
    My Children I respond to because they matter, and didn’t buy or give me something out of generosity to put a price tag on!!
    I give to your donation door out of generosity free things that you think you can price? How dare you put a price on our donations? your making money off our donations?
    Get a flat bed Truck, travel our province and get your own chit to sell!
    Your cheaters of the giving!
    Hope your kids and , family bdays and Xmas morning are full of what you all wanted and got up unwrap, you didn’t and don’t help those who can’t.
    Close your eyes and be proud of your valueless venue.
    Communities will stop supporting you and families in need won’t need you.
    We will find a better cause to take your valueless space in our cities and towns ,
    We don’t want your stores here

  157. patrick December 14th, 2013

    After several years, I returned recently to Value Village looking for a pair of jeans. I really noticed a big price increase. I used to pay 5.00 for jeans…they were now between 10 and 15 dollars. that is a 2X-3X price increase. The store was filled with a lot of junk. There was not much to choose from…slim pickings at high prices. Instead I went to Marks work warehouse, and found new jeans with nice styles and cuts, and the prices were very reasonable, like 20.00. I bought them, and have been very happy with the style and fit. I will not be returning to VV ever again. come on value village..your selling stuff people throw out, so get real. sheesh.

  158. Tracey December 20th, 2013

    I’m a little late to the party, but this article has the effect of getting people to respond.
    There was a post by VV worker that stated that this company doesn’t get their products for resale for free. They pay 4% or approximately $751/day to local charities.

    The unstated other side of the equation is that the company gets the remaining 96% – to quantify, that is $17,160/day or approximately $6,263,400/year. That is their gross revenue – however, they have no cost of goods – zero, zilch, nada. That means that unlike most retailers that operate in Canada where they DO incur a cost of goods of at least 50% of the selling price, V.V. is that much further ahead of all other Canadian retailers. Yes, they are for profit, and I am sure they manage to find ways to reduce their profit(they would need to), but they manage to enjoy a pretty exclusive niche in the retail market.

    Notice how all the other retailers are experiencing financial difficulties and bankruptcies and V.V. keeps managing to expand???

  159. Krystal December 27th, 2013

    I completely agree! A fact that very few people are aware of………WALMART OWNS VALUE VILLAGE AND SAVERS…….
    That is the answer for why the prices have sky-rocketed!
    How much is actually given to the charities???? We will never know. The Salvation Thrift stores are 100% a non-profit charity. I take all my goods there now. SHAME ON WALMART!!!

  160. Jake Armstrong December 29th, 2013

    Value gillage disgusts me, I was in there today shopping for an hour and the cashier would not sell me a pair of pants because the size on the pants was a size bigger then the tag. There clothes were donated who cares, she also inspected all my clothes and made price checks rediculous these are donated items. I also came across a ripped hand bag priced 69.99
    what is that all about? everything in this store should be 3 or 4 dollars.

  161. Picker January 2nd, 2014

    Dear VV: I am breaking up with you.

    I have enjoyed thrifting with you at many locations over the years, most recently with my son in law in the prairie stores in Canada. I used to work as a buyer for film and TV and also collect certain vintage items. I do not shop for everyday items with you because you are extremely overpriced, but I am still able to find some treasures that your pricers miss in their Google searches because of their limited knowledge of these items and their focus on recognizable N. American brands.

    But here is why we must part ways …

    I have a friend who likes Lu Lu Lemon. She cannot afford it new so I keep an eye out for it when I’m thrifting in your stores. This brand rarely shows up in decent condition and still you overprice it @ 29 for hoodies/19 for yoga pants – pilled and faded fabric and all.

    Anyway …

    I was in just before Christmas and had a cart full. On the way to the till I spotted a vintage-y light weight nylon Lu Lu Lemon zip-up misplaced on a rack at the end of the fabric section. It was in decent shape and only 4.99 because it wasn’t immediately recognizable as Lu Lu. The Omega symbol was hidden under the collar and the pricer missed it and other features of this brand.

    Yay for me for spotting it!!!

    Yeah, but …

    When I got to the till, I was not ‘allowed’ to buy it.

    Why?

    Because when the cashier asked me how I did, I told her, “Look! Lu Lu Lemon for $4.99!”

    Instead of her saying, “Yay for you!!!”, she seized the jacket and called her supervisor who told me the item had been mis-priced and would have to go back to production for re-pricing.

    Say what, now?

    (Note to self: from now on, be the Ikea lady and don’t celebrate till you get to the car.)

    When I pushed, I was told that many people switch tags or ‘pop’ tags and that this jacket was likely popped.

    Okay, sure. But why was it still on the racks? If someone changed the price s/he would either be wearing the jacket as we speak or the cashier would have caught it and pulled it, no? I asked the supervisor to review the tag for sizing and production to verify that the tag was correct for the garment and she said it was, but it was underpriced.

    There is something very insidious about this practice.

    I spend hours combing through certain sections of your stores and it behooves me greatly to know that if a cashier believes an item to be ‘underpriced’, she can take it and I don’t get to buy it. Nor do I get first right after somebody in the back has looked it over and re-priced it – of course, at a higher price because it has been flagged for that very thing!

    I was told that the production line prices an INCREDIBLE amount of items per hour. And things get overlooked- just like this – not-immediately recognizable brand of – Lu Lu sweater. When this happens it is great for people like me who know branding: it gives us the opportunity to get a deal. But this other policy negates the nature of your business and only works in your favour.

    It’s ridiculous, actually.

    So, VV … we’ve had some good times since 1986 or 7 when you first opened on Hastings in East Van. I have found some awesome shit over the years and I have come to love my little hobby. But it’s time to let you go. You price above retail in many case; more and more of your community partners are starting to open their own shops rather than sell their donations bulk to you. I have started to thrift elsewhere and have found some wicked deals recently from these vendors on the items we collect.

    So adieu, old friend.

    And yes … it’s totally you.

    If you ever get some help for your issues let me know and maybe we can try it again,
    A. Thrifty Consumer

  162. Ray McCoy January 3rd, 2014

    I will not be saying anything new to this discussion as I fully agree regarding the outrageous prices coming from donated pieces at VV. But, the worst part is having to point out to their so called “store managers” that they are selling higher priced items that are either damaged or missing parts??? A $25.00 priced fountain at VV was missing the motor, the wings to the fairy and still had the tags with a pic from Costco and a price for $19.99 brand new??????? After pointing all this out he changed the price to $4.99…I said are you serious, throw that junk out! I said in the future pointing out the obvious because I’m sure they still wouldn’t get it; do one of 2 things correctly for your stores credibility – find someone to price it right the first time or have enough common sense to take the tags off that shows the item complete with the actual cost, I mean seriously!
    Now my wife and I joke because when we see an item that is so common and well used, we guess at the pricing and almost always predict the cost will be $5.99 for crap??? and $9.99 and up for broken or missing items. HMMM sure is a trend towards ripping people off…I also made a mistake once and bought a DVD I really wanted to see but didn’t check if it contained the dvd..DUH! so I went back 3 days later to see if they had it at the front and forgot to include it…the Manager said nope all DVD’s have the discs in them and actually hinted that perhaps I was trying to trick him…I couldn’t believe that he said NO REFUND! I said first off, did I ask you for a refund? he said NO, please explain to me what I asked you? Then he came out with well if you would have come back right away i would have let you exchange it…i told him, if the $2.99 is making you sweat and worked up like this, keep the case and put it back on the shelf for the next unsuspecting dumb dumb like myself for not checking…i also mentioned to him that just 2 weeks ago i had donated over 100 books and 2 carloads with several other items which the other Manager confirmed. Needless to say, it will be the last time I donate to a “for Profit” place.

  163. AmandaC January 3rd, 2014

    I’m also done with VV. I needed to find a last minute dress for New Years Eve, decided to check out my local VV (Richmond, BC) and spotted a cute red dress priced at $19.99, went to try it on and noticed the hem was coming undone, seams were coming apart in places. Promptly put that back on the rack and hit the Forever 21 at the mall and found a gorgeous red lace and satin dress for $24!! I’m also a custom doll artist and usually hit thrift stores for my supply of dolls, VV sells beat up used Barbie dolls for more than the same new doll at Target, Walmart, and Toys-R-Us, $14.99 at VV, $8.99 to $9.99 new. I used to donate to VV thinking I’m doing good,never again.

  164. Jamie January 18th, 2014

    Just visited Value Village last night where I seen a pair of “sevens” jeans priced at 99.99.

    Value village does give back to the community. For every pound they donate a dollar to a charity. So, looking at the facts Value Village did pay at least 3 to for cents for those jeans before pricing them at 99.99.

  165. polo February 3rd, 2014

    It really depends on location and part of the city. Some parts you get great (new or almost new) high quality merchandise (Harry Rosen, Harrods, Marks & Spencer) for very good price (well $20-$30 if you find a good $200-$300 classic fashion piece is pretty good deal I consider). Other parts of town is exactly as you describe, mould, months, mice, stench, cockroaches, dust, stuff is around for ages, price tags hilarious and everything is in a worn-out with yellow stains of sweat. Usually area codes with high incomes or trendy areas with thrift stores are good areas to get good finds.

  166. SueDan Shelley February 8th, 2014

    Ruined the experience way too go ! Do more for me I will shop sales

  167. Frankie February 12th, 2014

    Found EIGHT pairs of seven for all mankind jeans for $7.99 or less……I think you guys just need to search a little harder. Remember VV doesn’t look at the make of the jeans.

    They have MOUNDS of stuff to sort through and jeans just get bucketed into a certain price group (3.99 – 9.99) for example. You guys are acting like they have time to go through each pair of jeans and and see what they are going for and if they are on sale somewhere. Lets be realistic here and cut them some slack.

  168. Ian March 13th, 2014

    In responce to Frankie, you got lucky and more than likely they did not recognize the name brand. I’ve seen True Religion (knock offs) priced at 49.99. And to confirm this they price a pair of American eagle jeans at 12.99 and just found a pair of Rock & Republic jeans for 19.99. I’m always in search for designer clothing and will have to agree with the originator of this board. I’ve had a few negative run-ins with managers at local VV and have been accused of “popping” tags or the best one was a pair of kitchen aid trivets……Yeah apparently 2.99 was priced wrong, so I guess you say what happened? Well unlike other retailers they did not honor the price…..it went back in to production and maybe I could find it the next time I’m in. Unfortunately for me I love designer but can’t afford it so VV is still a place to find stuff but disgruntled most of the time.

  169. rob March 23rd, 2014

    Hun, there are bigger things to be reporting about then value village pricing…just saying

  170. Robert A George March 26th, 2014

    Who owns Value Village? Is it listed?The mafiosa always know a good thing when they see it, You know, like the funeral home business and garbage.

  171. Jade Nohels March 31st, 2014

    In this day and age, most stores have to keep up with inflation. it’s 2014 not 1989 ( hence price increases ). Value Village is designed for those who shop frugally. Fashionably speaking Value Village’s clothing selection has an “air” of retro to it. However you can find some current and fashionably up to date items. It is impossable to go into Value Village and find anything in 20 minutes. Anyone who goes into VV needs to spend on average a good solid hour. I LOVE Value Village and support their causes. On almost every occasion I will donate items to them. Lets be real and understand that prices everywhere will increase……. not just at Value Village………………. That’s All

  172. Frank April 8th, 2014

    @ Jade,

    All the items that VV sells are DONATED as in FREE!! Every dollar they make is profit, I dont want to hear about cost of doing business going up as a reason to mark up items that cost them nothing to obtain. It’s a farce and a cowardly excuse to hide behind. What they are saying is that we have to pay our employees a little more so lets raise the prices instead of taking a hit…bunch of a-holes posing as a charity.

  173. Mademoiselle Bee's April 11th, 2014

    This is a topic that we (as a family) debate all the time and as someone in the process of going through the long process of opening a good thrift store, I can tell you that Value Village has several bad practices.

    I live Calgary Canada where depending on the area, you can find a number of thrift and consignment stores within blocks of each other. In 2 such areas, Value Village is one of those that are lumped into the mix.

    I agree that Value Village is overly expensive even compared to other for profit stores. The operations are clearly not what they should be as it is common to find items that are sub standard, even by thrift store standards, but that are still priced ridiculously high. To comment on one post above that indicated they don’t have the time to go through every item. Certainly not to research they but they should be spending the time to ensure that items are in good condition…no rips, tears, stains, chips, cracks or breaks just to name a few. These things should not even make it to the sales floor.

    I have already done a break even analysis as it is required for a business plan and I can confidently tell you that there is no reason AT ALL for Value Villages prices to be as high as they are.

    Yes, they have to purchase the inventory they sell. It is cheap! Soft items such as clothing, are purchased by the pound while housewares and furniture are kicked in at no cost to them. Yes, the costs associated with running a store that size are high but if it is operated and managed properly, there could still be a decent profit margin without the enormous prices.

    Many people believe that by supporting a for profit with donations, means that a store owner is filling his/her pockets and do nothing for the community. If fact, more private owners do more for the community than those that claim to be not for profit. Small privately owned stores have more to loose. Their life savings for example so rely heavily on the members of the community to patronize the establishment where large chains like Salvation Army, Goodwill and others, get tax breaks, government forgiveness and several other perks just because they give 10% to some organization or another. Because of this heavy reliance, store owners, not all, go out of their way to help in troubled times. It may not seem like much at first but when it is weighed against what the so called charitable chains are doing, it is quickly identified that the little private store, with no taxable deductions or government assistance, is doing more just on a smaller scale.

    Finally, they next time you go to one of these “charitable centers” ask yourself how likely is it that someone with very little income could afford to shop here after they pay living expenses? In many cases, they can’t!!!

    Just some food for thought.

  174. Leonor Gaspar April 16th, 2014

    Yes I agree- their pricing is out of control- there should a boycott -I addressed this with head office and was told that – if I was not satisfied with my purchases they had an exchange policy-I collect rare books and when I told them that at Chapters when they have a sale (new books)the prices are lower at Value Village
    - I was simply told ” since books cannot be refunded or exchanged – Value Village charges a set rate -of 30-40% of the retail value of the book”- I believe – Value Village should be brought down -let’s make room for the legitimate thrift shops – clearly they are not a true Thrift Shop- and should not be able to claim all the breaks that are to given to such organizations

  175. samantha April 17th, 2014

    Hi I was just at value village in owensound on. And i have to disssgree. While Yes the shoe and dress prices are too much, there r plenty cheap clothes. I got a carters skirt for My daughter for 1.99 that would normally be 15 dollars in store. I also got two bluenote shirts for 3.99 each that would normaly be around 12 dollars each in store. Is say there lots of savings at vv. I also got a tonka truck for 4.99 that is metal!! They don’t make them like that anymore.

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