I went down to the Goodwill Outlet to pick up gently used children's clothes for my mom's shop. (She got the shop! We're opening in about a week, in time for back-to-school, but just barely.) I had no idea what I was doing, and due to our proximity to the border, most of the people there came across from Mexico to shop. Thus, I think I was the only English speaker there, and most of the employees gave instructions in Spanish, so that was different for me. I felt like a fish out of water, but everyone was very nice to me, and took care of me (somehow they could tell I was clueless) and I got inside to do my shopping.
I noticed that everyone was very patient with me, and helpful to me despite the fact that I did not speak the language everyone else spoke. I
There was So. Much. Stuff. We were each assigned a six-foot high bin, like they receive goods into at the donation station. We were packed into a small building, sorting through clothes (and other textiles), throwing the "good" stuff into a sorting tote, and the rest went onto the floor. I should have taken pictures, but I was too overwhelmed. After we emptied our tote, we'd put our clothes back in the bin and move onto another bin. Over and over, for two hours.
Eventually, I believe the remnants are sold at auction but I didn't confirm that.
I could not believe how much our city throws out, on a daily basis. This facility is open every day, with this much stuff available every day! And Goodwill is only one charity shop, among several, in one large city in one corner of our country. As I was pawing through the piles and bins, I couldn't get over how much people were throwing out, and how much people keep buying new.
Most of the goods were in good shape, and good quality. For my mom's shop I purchased children's clothes from Carters, Children's Place, Gap, Gymboree and other quality children's manufacturers. I am glad I can bring a lot of these clothes (some probably never worn) back into use, and away from the waste stream. And I'm glad Goodwill makes these items available. But it saddens me that we, as a nation, buy so much new, and throw so much away.