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.


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.


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.


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: 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?


Your two cents:

  1. Lydia Grace November 16th, 2015

    If you do ever, by some miracle find something at a real bargain, never mention your deal at the checkout. Because if you do, that will change pretty quickly. The only time you get a real bargain is if VV doesn’t realize what they have. Don’t tell them!

    Mind you, I don’t go often anymore. But I get curious. More often than not, I’ve left empty handed. Not so with Salvation Army–or Bible Mission I always manage to find something I like.

  2. Gloria Hayden November 24th, 2015

    Value village were cheap in the early 90’s but now are priced so high I get clothes at the same price new and I don’t have to worry so much about bedbugs and body lice, I go in there once in a while for other items other than bedding and clothing I found 2 time that cookies come in that were musical and the tin turns around as it’s playing the music my sister loved it she collects music boxes, some say value village pays for the stuff I know for a fact this is not true I was with my friend twice when she donated the only time u get anything is when they have their card that gives u 30% off or something once you get so many stamps she got 5 stamps once otherwise she got nothing so she donates to other places now that give away the donated stuff, someone also said the staff don’t get paid their all volunteers I know they do get paid but are awful to their workers my one friend worked there until last year she got paid min wage and my other friend still works there she also gets paid

  3. Kellie November 25th, 2015

    I can’t believe there are people still defending VV. The only logic I can find with people being ok with what they are doing and have done with the good name of VV…is that the people defending and shopping there are all under 30. They don’t know what the store/organization was about at it’s roots. They don’t know that the new owners of the NOW CORPORATE FOR PROFIT yet advertising as thrift…have a absolutely abused the VV name, trust, public view and understanding of their workings. I really will be happy to see VV either get back to the way they were (impossible…obviously in the hands now of greedy people) or just go away. Unfortunately they always have new generations coming up that will fall for their lies and think they are getting a deal because the sign says so….Time to close the books VV. You are a disgusting example of corporate greed. Those of you who THINK you are getting a deal when you walk into VV….Go visit your local consignment store. At least they are absolutely straight up about their process….a process that people have come to know and understand. anyway…consignment stores are now cheaper than VV and waaay better stuff. Clean, in tact and funky. LOL Pricing is very standard and few surprises… Now you might start seeing what a deal looks like if you are for whatever reason, under the impression that you get a deal at VV. I now won’t even go there sometimes. I would rather support a big box corporation like wal mart than greedy cheaters like VV. They think they have pulled the wool over the public eyes……well VV, I think it’s only the under 30’s you’re getting …. hoping they will smarten up soon and walk away from you the way hundreds of thousands have already done now. Good for you….Turned people who have been loyal to you for years and years and years against you….lmao Not only greedy but stupid to think the public is so stupid to believe what is being shoveled.

  4. Natalie December 3rd, 2015

    I agree that Value Village can be expensive for certain things, but like a lot of things, you need to know your prices. If you can get the same thing for cheaper somewhere else, by all means do so, but don’t complain about how much it costs here. I have the perspective of volunteering for a thrift store for many years, and I know that many of them have to pay expensive disposal fees for garbage that people give them that they cannot sell. This often amounts to thousands of dollars a year, and I imagine Value Village has this problem too, so that may contribute to the jump in prices. Also, some people donate to them because they like the fact that Value Village isn’t aligned with a religious or political organization that doesn’t match their beliefs (like the Salvation Army, for instance, which has a long history of intolerance towards LGBT people). Whether this is a for-profit company or not is irrelevant in this regard.
    I have found some deals before ($200 like new Fossil purse for $8 was a good one – I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it and people are shocked when I tell them where I got it), but I agree that the pricing seems really inconsistent, even to someone like me with an understanding of their pricing structure. Ultimately though, it’s just buyer beware.

  5. Anne January 10th, 2016

    V V is raking in billions of dollars each year and nobody who works in the stores seems to know where that money goes. When asked how much they give to charity the reply is that “VV buys every item in the store and the money goes to charity”. When asked how much percentage, not one person working there seems to know that answer. There is no information about this in any of their literature either.

    I’m sure they don’t get paid much to work there. Their managers would probably scream if they knew how much the owners were making off of their backs (by the employees’ hard work!)

    Upon doing some checking, it appears that they give about 3 percent to charity. It’s the only business I know of that doesn’t pay anything for the items donated (except for this 3 percent) and yet overcharge and continue to increase their prices.

    Several years ago, before this price hike, news reports stated they made over 6 billion dollars in profit. That’s six thousand million dollars folks. Out of that, about 200 million went to local charities. And yet they have the nerve to advertise online, in their stores and over the intercom about how good they are to local charities when we donate! And their “timeline” shows their owners and states how those guys’ hearts are so big to have created VV stores??

    They created it to MAKE MONEY! And they don’t have to hire buyers, or put out any money in inventory!!
    So who is really getting the best deal out of Value Village???

    They also have return policies that suck big time! For totally donated items, you would think they could be more kind to the people who provide them with way over 6 thousand billion dollars worth of goods to resell??

    Who knows how much more than 6 thousand million dollars they are making now that their prices have soared! I’m guessing it’s more than triple that now, as that’s what has happened to their prices.

    For me its discouraging. I hardly ever find a bargain there anymore. The only things I can get are things that are so out of the ordinary that the sales people don’t know what they are, so they underprice them. Otherwise, I can’t see shopping there for items they are “in the know” about.

    I did a little bit of checking around to see how they are coming up with prices. For items which you can easily check their value online on websites like eBay, it seems Value Village is now training people to do this when pricing items. The problem is, they are not checking final auction prices, they are setting their prices to what eBay stores are charging (or “buy it now” prices). The only way to solve this, is to boycott V V. If we all stop shopping there, how long before they’d have no choice but to smarten up?

    And, I say every time you go into a V V store, mention to the manager and employees that the owners are only donating 3 percent, and that those guys are raking in over 6 thousand million dollars a year from donated goods, and watch their faces. Then ask them how much of that are they taking home in their paycheck each week. They might just revolt the system without any help from us LOL!

    Those signs at the door about working for VV and getting good benefits? What a farce. Knowledge is real power.

  6. lucas w February 22nd, 2016

    Over priced shit hole. Thrift stores used to be the place to get things for cheaper if you’re on a budget. Now with their on par retail prices, I just buy new.

    Zero incentive to donate, or shop. Every thrift store in Victoria BC is price gouging. Everything is 400-500X more expensive then it should be. Everything. This really should be considered fraudulent behavior.

  7. Cal Bambi March 1st, 2016

    I was introduced to VV in Toronto 25 years ago. I could not believe the bargains. Well as everybody knows there are no bargains anymore. They get everything for free so they can’t use the excuses many retailers use, ( Things cost more so I have to raise my prices) Their cost is zero X zero X zero. One more thing I saw that I could not believe in Toronto Queen Street outlet was this. An elderly homeless man maybe 80 years of age who was bare foot put a pair of shoes on and tried to leave the store without paying. 2 big bullies from the store wrestled the old man to the floor, then dragged him to the back room while I assumed they waited for the police. This man was way beyond poor, and looked like he hadn’t seen water since he was baptized.
    Now I know there will be people who say stealing is stealing but, come on. Your getting everything for free. Why not do something nice and completely dress the old gu from head to toe, then you could be reading a story of how wonderful VV is. I will bet you the owners of this business are all multi millionaires. I live in Nova Scotia now and the VV here is selling worn out shoes for $20.00 too. I no longer shop at Value Village because they are just too expensive for the free junk they sell. If a poor person went to goodwill or the Salvation Army stores they would be treated like they are human. I also continue to see times for sale over $100.00 which is just robbery.
    I will no longer shop at V.V. (vomit Vomit)

  8. Lydia Grace March 2nd, 2016

    “Under new management” is what happened to my local thrift store (not VV). Suddenly they were stocking other people’s trash and charging outrageous prices for dirty, well-used garbage. They drove what had been a nice place for bargains and people who need them to a dump. Within 6 months the store closed. It think they kept all the good stuff and sold it on-line. I heard of one manager who did a pretty good business out the back door.

  9. Cal Bambi March 5th, 2016

    I have a comment running already second from the bottom. There is a typo in my comment. I wrote head to tow, instead of head to toe. I don’t see a way to edit it maybe you can help me. It just reads very dumb the way it is.

  10. Mike March 28th, 2016

    insane prices. damaged jeans for 15.99$? you’re out of your mind. used pants shouldn’t be more than ten dollars ever

  11. Jon April 5th, 2016

    There’s no need to write a essay about it. Vote with your wallet and this will clear up on its own. Do you think these items are being priced high so that they don’t sell? That is not a very sustainable model, is it? Prices are set at the maximum amount at which someone will buy the item. To wit, maximize profit. If you see a price on an item, it’s because someone is willing to buy it at said price. And if no one is, wait and it will go down, everything must be sold, value village is certainly not returning any stock. Supply? Demand? This is all pretty basic stuff here.

  12. asdf April 17th, 2016

    you need to pick and choose there and you must know what you’re looking at. Another scam there that i see VERY often now is multiples of the same cheap item, brand new, at higher than market price. i.e. the item was BOUGHT at discount and put on the shelves. I’m also seeing many unused counterfeit items still with fake tags on them and i suspect these were bought online and put into the locked glass case to dupe unsuspecting buyer. (examples i’ve seen are $150 fake montblanc pen set, $30-40 for fake Persol and Rayban sunglasses) Not only could you be overpaying for common items, it’s now also a case of buyer beware with frequently stocked counterfeits.

    On the other hand, i’ve walked out with steals like $1000 and $1500 watches. $3-5 for genuine/authentic, glass lens sunglasses. They had 2 similar fishing reels, both priced at $160. One was a $120 reel the other was a $700 reel. I took the $700 reel and left the other. You can make it work out but you need to educate yourself.

  13. asdf April 17th, 2016

    forgot to mention the MANY counterfeit Northface goretex jackets. Be careful, you could be paying $40-50 for a fake jacket that isn’t goretex, isn’t waterproof, falls apart and can be bought new online for $30.

  14. nutter May 5th, 2016

    Goodwill went out of business In Toronto. Soon enough Value Village put up all their prices, almost double and in some cases triple prior to Goodwill going out of business. I saw 2 pair of used jeans for almost 30 bucks each! THIRTY BUCKS FOR USED JEANS! All their shirts have doubled in price. Pair of running shoes used, 25.99 USED!!!!!!!!!!!! ALL their prices on everything have gone up exorbitantly. It stinks! Went there today and left for the first time ever without anything. I had a few items in my basket, but the more I thought about what they’re doing the more sickened I felt so I left my basket on the floor and walked out. I’m not going there again. No VALUE there. None. I’m done. It’s sickening what their doing. OH the last straw, a Joe Fresh USED short sleeve shirt, was priced higher than a NEW Joe Fresh shirt in their stores. cya

  15. Chele Pablo May 23rd, 2016

    VV prices are fast becoming like Holt Renfrew!

    The new corporate pricing strategy is obviously working because they haven’t changed it back. The people that you see in the store buying mega volumes of clothes all at one time to either re-sell or ship back home to a third world country keep the corporate officers in the company laughing all the way to the bank. If all of us keep putting up with high prices the company won’t change, its the nature of the beast. Corporations don’t have a face nor a conscience, they are simply profit motivated. They might donate a meager portion of sales so as to use this for a good PR campaign or a equal tax write off…but in the end it balances out the donation.
    Employees, yes employees need to silently revolt on behalf of their fellow working class countrymen. We are all struggling with the same economic plight as all low income workers. The problem is that some employees act as though they are shareholders in the company when pricing items. Some even take it personally and become defensive when you point out the item is clearly overpriced.
    My father who was a well known union leader here in Canada before he died used to tell me “Son the working mans worst enemy is his fellow working man”. Give an ordinary person in an ordinary job and a measly $0.50 hr increase to become a “supervisor” and they’ll trade their families quality time and friendly workmates in for only that. They’ll even cross a picket line because they consider themselves “management”. He,he,he!
    Employees working in the store should understand that if a person is shopping for used clothing i.e including shoes and even underwear…they obviously need some serious help and compassion! Life is not a straight line…as most of you reading this well know. Intelligent, good-hearted people from decent families have been brought down financially by unforeseen personal calamities not of their doing. Have a couple or more of these devastating events in your life and you’ve become very challenged in many ways for the rest of your life…through no fault of your own. Our profit based society is very callous and unforgiving with respect to such misfortunes.
    The Salvation Army understands this as so many posting have mentioned so I suggest make all your donations to them and instead shop there rather than a corporate VV. Encourage others to do the same. Take advantage of the sales in the malls where you can buy the same clothing unused and fresh smelling for less or the same price.
    I hope someone connected to VV is reading all of these negative posts and will in good conscience take their own personal action however small to extend a hand compassion to help their fellow man. Corporations are ruthless as we have seen in how many species are being depleted by the hundreds all over the world every year…so don’t expect them to change. Only we acting collectively and making sacrifices can force change.

  16. kelly June 2nd, 2016

    I think all people should know that Value Village always pay the minimum donation to big bros. That is 5% of net profit. That is a pittance for them. The top brass make more per year than a lot of people make in a lifetime. What a bunch of rip offs. Stop donating to them, the smaller good will stores and where you should go.

  17. Gabriel Kawa June 4th, 2016

    You have to know your prices and ultimately they only hear us with their wallets you can find good deals in there but it’s getting harder every-time.

  18. John Manuel June 8th, 2016

    Don’t complain about prices. After paying salaries and overhead expenses, there has to be some left over for charities. We think of their prices as fair rather than bargains. We donate our used items knowing that we are giving not to bargain hunters, but to persons in much greater need.

  19. Pat Patterson July 8th, 2016

    208-4038 Quadra St
    I used to come into value village every Tuesday to look at the toy section. I used to buy bags of 4 hot wheel cars for $ you are trying to sell one hot wheel for $3.99. You can buy a brand new hot wheel in the package in perfect condition for $1.25. You go check that out. Two weeks ago I handed one of your cars to the man hanging these cars and said “you want $3.99 for this car and it doesn’t even have any wheels” walmart sells all those cars for $1.25 the cars you have will never leave the shelves because no body will pay your price. Okay with me because now Isave $20.00 every Tues. And you lose it.come back down to earth. You are a used item store act like it.

  20. Eric Richter July 8th, 2016

    The Value Village should no longer be allowed to advertise or say they are a non profit organization since SAVE INC net profit at the end of last year was 2.2 billion dollars. This is now a rip off the poor people organization just there to make big profit and a very little donation to charity

  21. Andrea August 7th, 2016

    so… here’s the thing… i understand that “Value Village” gives money to charity and that is wonderful! but! “Value Village” being a “second hand store” is meant also to help out people that can not afford to buy things new, my self being one of those people. the prices use to be very reasonable but in the last few years I’ve noticed they have become rather greedy and trying to make a fortune on these donated & used items and quite a few of the items like clothing for example have rips and holes, stains and faded colours, i’m not one to normally complain but today i was shopping around in Value Village and saw something that really made me shake my head…they had a pair of ladies shoes for $100 just because they were by Paula Abdul the same exact shoes are online for $29.99 brand new, so my question is why are they allowed to sell these used shoes for $100.. kind of redicules

  22. Pat Patterson September 2nd, 2016

    Things are looking alittle bit better. You got rid of your rediculous two hot wheels for $5.99 (worse price yet) and want $1.99 for two. Now maybe you will sell some and not lose them to sticky fingers. Stay down to earth and realize you are nothing without the donations of your customers. You give alittle you gain more. You get full of yourselves and act like a high class department store. Maybe your contents came from high class stores the first time but now they just come from you.

  23. Mercy September 5th, 2016

    Value Village can be a good source for unique things, but if you are just looking for regular, contemporary clothes, the clearance rack at Winners is cheaper. I prefer to shop used anyway, because regardless of the for/non profit argument, at least the sweatshop and environmental damage is already done by the time the items are donated. Yes, Value Village prices are VERY high for a thrift shop, but I find (at least in Toronto) that they don’t put a lot of stained crap out on the floor, whereas at Salvation Army you’ll spend five times as long searching for something it is dignified to wear. You have to value your time at something too. I read a lot of speculation about where the money goes, but in the end Value Village is an employer, with overhead. The non-profit agencies they purchase from (when items are not donated directly to the store) do not have the resources to establish and manage storefronts. Value Village bails unsellable textiles for recycling into new fibres and fabrics. I think that despite them being corporate, they still do more good than harm. For those on an extremely restrictive budget there are often local churches who give stuff away, and places (like playgroups) where you can swap stuff in one-for-one as your child grows. Half an hour on the internet at your local library will be well spent locating them. If ideology is an issue, nod, smile, and clothe your kids anyway. I bet you’re resilient enough. As for bedbugs, I suggest washing and drying everything on hot before putting it anywhere in your home, and keeping it in the freezer until you can do so (in clean garbage bags). For stuff that can’t be laundered this way, two weeks in the freezer will kill everything. Note that putting things on your balcony when it is cold out may not suffice, as below-freezing temperatures must be sustained consistently for the entire duration. I actually bought a second hand apartment size deep freezer on Kijiji just for clothes. I figured that fifty bucks would save me hundreds in new furniture if the worst case scenario occurred.

  24. Cynthia Joyce September 15th, 2016

    My husband and I shop at Value Village for things other than clothing and I have to say their prices have risen way too much over the last couple of years. I do feel badly for people who need to shop at discount places, they sure aren’t getting much of a deal here. Had a really bad experience today at a brand new Value Village (Ancaster, Ontario)….we wanted to buy an old box set of four books (that was published in 1965)….there was no price on it…when the employee finally came back they said 19.95 (seriously?? Keep in mind the set was probably $10 or UNDER in 1965 and the outer “box” was damaged)….the cashier, who claimed to be the manager was not willing to lower the price….I pointed out that they don’t pay a dime for their merchandise, didn’t matter….I’m quite sure we won’t be going back to that location, I am the customer after all ( I also pointed out to her that we donate A LOT to Value Village)…..bad customer service, bad pricing, dishonest (3% to the Canadian Diabetes Association ) is basically nothing…….not good at all.

  25. Mich September 23rd, 2016

    I totally agree with the blog about Value Village..I thought I was the only one who felt this way!! The best is when you can go to the Dollar store and buy the same thing new for less…that should be their…thanks for the blog 😂

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