A step-by-step guide to visiting Goodwill Outlet

| Senior Scene Editor

Hey, I’m going to just say it: Screw the Gateway Arch. It’s dumb. It’s boring. It shouldn’t represent St. Louis. The place that should represent St. Louis is an often-overlooked treasure cove situated in a sleepy industrial area near downtown—it’s the Goodwill Outlet store. Not only do they have a variety of items—clothing, furniture, books, records, movies and even mattresses—but the prices are so ridiculously cheap. I mean, think about it: It’s the outlet version of a thrift store. It’s like capitalism’s biggest screw-up. It shouldn’t even be allowed to exist. But since it does, we should take advantage of it. But first, make sure you’re prepared for this experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to pouncing on those discounts at Goodwill Outlet:

Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 1.00.27 AMBrandon Wilburn | Student Life

Step 1: Preparing before the trip

It’s essential to prepare for your Goodwill Outlet journey. You don’t just go into Goodwill Outlet on a whim. Maybe you could, but you won’t have the most productive shopping experience. First off, you need to bring a pair of gloves. Latex (or nonlatex, if that’s your thing) gloves work best, but you could also technically wear winter gloves. Your hands will get sweaty, and it might be harder to sift through bins with thicker gloves, but if you can weather that, more power to you. Comfortable clothing is also ideal. Wear something that you don’t mind getting dirty. I’m not saying that you’re definitely going to be rolling around on the floor at Goodwill, but you should still make sure that it’s an option. No one’s going to judge you.

Step 2: Getting to Goodwill Outlet

Okay, so this is the part that might be tricky. The Goodwill Outlet is in the midtown area of St. Louis, which means that the best method of transport is by car. You can’t take the Metro Link train without also taking the bus, and even then, you’ll have to walk through an industrial area nearby. Also, the area always smells like gasoline for some reason. You could take an Uber or a cab to and from Goodwill Outlet, but you’ll end up spending at least $30 round trip. That isn’t worth it, especially considering that $30 is at least 10 times as much as you’ll end up spending at Goodwill Outlet. So, yeah—find a friend with a car if you don’t have one (or, if you’re like me and don’t even have a driver’s license).

Step 3: Shopping, finally

So you’ve mooched off of your friend with the car, and you’ve finally made it. Congratulations! You’ll notice that all of the other shoppers are wearing latex gloves. And lucky for you, you brought a pair as well! It’s not that the stuff there is gross—it’s just that there’s so much stuff piled onto tables and stacked in gigantic, bathtub-sized bins. Some of that stuff is bound to get dusty—it’s inevitable. Plus, it’s just proper Goodwill Outlet etiquette. If you’re shoving your hands in bins without gloves on, other shoppers will be convinced that you’re a serial killer. But since you’re prepared, feel free to dive in those bins and pounce on those tables. Don’t be afraid to dig deep to find those gems. Once, my roommate found a Backstreet Boys documentary from 1996 (the editing is horrific in the best way!), and on a separate occasion, I found a Richard Pryor album (it cost ONE NICKEL).

Step 4: Checking out at the register

This part can be overwhelming. You’ll pile on all of the things you’ve picked up from around the store—the clothes, the books, the records, the random light fixture that’ll look cool on your side table, a couple of ironic mugs—and wait as the cashier rings you up. You’ll hold your breath as they prepare to tell you your total. How much did you end up spending? Maybe that one decorative paperweight that kind of looks like a butt wasn’t worth adding to your cart. But your fears are alleviated when the cashier finally tells you that your total is—wait for it—$3.97. For all of that! You’ll stare at them in disbelief. They stare at you, wondering why you’re not leaving. Then, it’ll hit you, and you’ll thank the cashier a million times over. They’ll smile, heartened by your innocent joy. And then, uh, you should leave.

Step 5: Readjusting to non-Goodwill Outlet society

You’ve returned back to campus after swimming in the magical discounts of the Goodwill Outlet. You’re still exhilarated by your purchases; you’re telling every person you run into about how much you spent on the many, many things you bought. Suddenly, you have a realization: The person you’re talking to doesn’t seem to give a crap about your Goodwill Outlet experience. You get it—I mean, you understand social cues sometimes. Still, you can’t stop yourself from talking about it anyway. Get it out of your system for a couple of days. After that, though, try to stop yourself from gushing about it too much. It’ll be difficult—trust me, I’ve been talking about one trip where I spent $2.72 for months now. Instead of talking about it to other people, save some breath and just go back to Goodwill Outlet. Who needs friends anyway? Except for the one friend that’s driving you? I wish you the best of luck in finding that perfect discount merchandise!

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