This letter is a long overdue statement on the excessive prices of the merchandise in many of Santa Barbara’s thrift stores. I have enjoyed shopping at thrift stores since I was a teenager, and many of my favorite clothes come from them. The problem is, the prices of goods at thrift stores have been so dramatically and unreasonably high that it is of no use to shop there anymore. Thrift stores were designed to aid communities by providing inexpensive and valuable items at cheap prices so that poor people could afford to dress with dignity and style. They were also, of course, designed to aid charities with revenues and donors with tax incentives. Nowadays, donated, well-worn jeans are regularly marked at prices like $15. Many shirts are marked in the $10 range. Why so much for donated, second-hand apparel? Many people who would shop at thrift stores cannot afford these prices. In addition, retailers like Ross, Forever 21, and Marshall’s offer brand new items for the same (and often lower) prices.
I think it is time for the managers of the thrift stores to get back to their original purpose, which is to offer inexpensive clothes at cheap prices. I am sure that their business would pick up and they would be even more of an asset to their communities.