Holiday Goodwill Goodies!


Remember when I went to Goodwill to find Halloween goodies?

I thought it would be interesting to do the same for Christmas, so on Sunday, I went to that very same Goodwill store – the one with the stupid address that always makes my GPS explode.

The results were… mixed.


They did have lots of Christmas stuff, but the prices were nuts. Three dollars for untested strands of lights! Four dollars for a dusty, half-melted candle that once bore the shape of a gingerbread house! SEVEN dollars for an armless nutcracker!

I was a yard sale/thrift store junkie back in the day, and Christmas decorations were always super cheap. People would do anything to get rid of them. Most of Goodwill’s holiday fare was the same kind of stuff. Things I would’ve expected to trade loose change for.

It’s worth noting that only the Christmas items were affected. I could’ve bought a desk, a chair and three lamps for fifteen bucks, but it would’ve cost just as much for a couple of junky poinsettia centerpieces. (You know the kind. They’re made for comically small tables.)

But whatever. I didn’t drive to Jersey to go home empty-handed. I was willing to suffer for this post! Here’s four dollars worth of crap that I somehow spent twenty dollars on!


#1: Marvin the Martian Stocking!
Price: $2.99

This was my luckiest find. As a kid, I went through a pretty severe Marvin the Martian phase, owing less to his Looney Tunes appearances and more to the fact that I just dug space aliens with big black balls for heads.

The stocking is barely big enough to hold a pack of gum, so it is fortuitous that I have an army of dead pet rabbits to dedicate Christmas stockings to. This one’s for Pooky! There won’t be anything in it come Christmas morning, but Pooky won’t care.


#2: The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas CD!
Price: $1.99

I haven’t listened to this yet, but I’m guessing it’s a bunch of no-name artists overdramatically performing bad Christmas songs. Sometimes, that’s exactly what I want to hear.

My typical taste in Christmas music is pretty modern. By “modern,” I of course mean “recorded anytime after I was born.” But on occasion, I do like the older stuff. That’s where the real emotion is. People didn’t sing Christmas songs back then. They cried them. It could be a song about cardinals making out, and they’d still make it sound like a eulogy.

Christmas is that weird time of year when you’re caught between absolute peace and total mental destruction. This is the right kind of music for that.


#3: Nonfunctioning Christmas Lights!
Price: $2.99


I’m pissed, because this is one of my favorite types of Christmas lights. The strands with the flowery plastic shells around every bulb. They make trees look fuller, or maybe it’s just that they somehow remind me of frogs on lily pads.

True, I could sit here and test each bulb until I find the culprit, but the chances of me doing that are no better than the chances of me morphing into cyborg lion. Basically, I paid three bucks for these few paragraphs, and that’s it.


#4: How The Grinch Stole Christmas on VHS!
Price: $.99

A comparative bargain, even if I had no reason to buy it. I own the DVD, after all.

I guess I was just taken by the placement of Goodwill’s price sticker. It’s obvious that one of their employees gave serious thought to putting it right over the Grinch’s face. Hey, if you want to survive in this world, you have to make your own entertainment.

Since he settled on only putting it over the hat, I guess his conscience won out in the end. (Which is a nice throw to the Grinch’s own conundrum!)


#5: “Santa’s Answering Machine” Christmas Tree Ornament!
Price: #3.99

Yes, you read that right. Four dollars for this thing. Come on, that’s INSANE.

I put up with the price because the only people who still use answering machines like that are the ones who haven’t bought new electronics in twenty years.

Electronics nostalgia brought on by an old tree ornament seemed like it was worth four bucks.

Course, after I got home and opened the box, there was no mouse-atop-an-answering-machine inside. Instead there was this crystal angel. By “crystal” I mean “plastic,” and by “angel” I mean “definitely not a mouse.”

Always check what’s in the boxes when you’re at Goodwill. Remember what happened last time, when my purported zombie movie turned out to be softcore porn? At least then you could’ve argued that I got a free upgrade, but there’s no way an angel is better than a geeky rat.


#6: Snowball Figure!
Price: $.99

I don’t care if it’s a chew toy. I love it. We’re always seeing cute little snowmen figurines, but we only rarely see actual SNOWBALL figurines.

He didn’t seem as dirty as this photo suggests, but that’s why God makes our toothbrushes fall on the floor every once in a while. I can fix him. I will fix him. I will be the Peanuts gang attacking a sad branch and turning it into Christmas Valhalla.

Tomorrow I will write to Heloise with a new suggestion on how to use Clorox Wipes.


I bought a few more Christmas items, but they didn’t seem interesting enough to write about. (Which is saying something, considering the four paragraphs I got out of that angel ornament.)

I also bought a bunch of non-Christmassy videos, because goddamn, that’s where the real treasure is at Goodwill stores. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Monsters! That episode of Power Rangers with the Roman gladiator pig! Yes!

My Christmas trip to Goodwill wasn’t as successful as my Halloween trip, but it did have one thing that very nearly put it on equal footing:


A headless mannequin in a Santa hat.

A huge thanks to Jason Week for Dino Drac’s 2013 Christmas logo! Good luck reading our pal’s wish list. I promise you, it’s worth the effort. Appreciate the speedy work, Jason!

67 Responses to Holiday Goodwill Goodies!

  1. I’m so pissed for you about that mouse ornament switcharoo! I probably wouldn’t have remembered to check the box while in the store, either. Let this be a lesson to us all.

  2. The cover art on the Power Rangers box is epic.
    Also, imo, the greatest christmas cd ever is Twisted Sister’s Twisted Christmas. Even if you don’t like Twisted Sister, this album is off the walls there is no way not to love it.

  3. Man, I was so looking forward to hearing a recording of what Santa’s answering machine could actually sound like. SO DISAPPOINT.

  4. Also, Dino Drac, why do you only want ONE live owl? You could have gotten UPWARDS of one owl.

  5. I hate goodwill. The prices are usually pretty unreal. They seem to be better down here though. Don’t be fooled people, goodwill is not a thrift store!

  6. This makes me want to tread into a thrift store for potential Christmas junk. It’s been a while since I’ve been in one…

  7. Oh man. I was just thinking about the original Ninja Turtles VHS. I had that, got it the day it came out. I probably played it about five million times in the following year. I finally got rid of it only when I got the movie on DVD years later.

    But seeing the Monsters Feverman episode freaks me out a bit. I watched that when it premiered as a kid, and it really scared me silly. I stopped watching almost as soon as that freaky monster showed up. I haven’t gone back and watched it since. Maybe someday I’ll work up the nerve.

  8. I went to a Salvation Army about a couple of weeks ago. I wouldn’t normally go in there because I don’t agree with where the profit goes, but I figure it’s worth the trip if I find great things to resell. I found some great stuff there. The style of the store was awesome, they had an area set up with couches and a tv that had a fireplace DVD. It wasn’t like a regular thrift store with crap piled everywhere.

    They had a lot of rental case tapes. I saw two blank tapes someone recorded The Nutcracker and “Christmas Carol 1999″ on that I was so tempted to buy to see if commercials were on it, and other things that weren’t on the label but didn’t.

    Most of the items I bought were discounted. They were either 25 percent or 50 percent less then the price on the sticker. I got a Tigger Resin Stocking hanger in the box and Styrofoam from 2000 for 2.50. Two Guitar Hero PS3 Wireless controllers for about 6 dollars for both, Silver plated flatware storage caddy in box for 2.50, Nike Soccer cleats for 3 dollars barely used, a sealed Spongebob Kite for 50 cents.

    The toy section looked like one of those daycare centers in a Doctor’s office or a department store. The toys were in a bin and it looked like they were there for kids to play with but they all had price tags on them. For 7 dollars they had a fairly big bag of marbles. They were probably 50 percent off that price though. They had a shooter in there and a great collection.

    I got a like new condition Dungeons and Dragons Gazetteer set with books and maps for 2.50. I have it on Amazon for about 50 dollars. So much great stuff I wish I had more money when I went. I loved the vintage stuff they had there.

    Also the last time I went to Value Village, for 13 dollars I bought a Magnavox Camcorder from 1985. It has the hard shelled case, instruction manual, cords, charger, two batteries that don’t work anymore, and an adapter to put it on a tripod. I have it up on Ebay now 100 free shipping. When I looked on Ebay their were no camcorders as complete as this one.

    I also bought for 10 dollars a camera bag with two cameras, one was a cheaper model with an external lens and manual, the other one was a Pentax with two external lenses. The bag had a sealed lens cloth in it, rolls of film in containers, two sealed boxes of film. I already sold the cheaper model hopefully the other one sells soon. It also had an unused Seattle Mariners ticket in the bag! That was unreal. It was obviously a family bag that they upgraded from and donated.

  9. Hallmark ornaments are actually very collectible. I’ve seen entire booths and tables of them at antique malls.

    It seems like the only videos/dvds at these places for me are exercise videos, sports videos, an those cheap dvds you can buy for a dollar even at Walmart.

    The absolute WORST kind of Goodwill stores are the outlet ones. Everything is literally tossed into bins, and it’s up to you to go through them. Everything looks and feels dirty compared to the regular Goodwill stores. I guess if you like “treasure hunting” the place is for you.

  10. The REAL question is: did any of those tape sleeves actually house a video of a more adult nature not unlike colorized Night Of The Living Dead, Matt? Once would be a humorous incident, but twice would be a conspiracy. The idea of someone putting a dirty, dirty porno in the Grinch sleeve makes my mind practically ‘splode with violent rage.

    The Goodwill that I regularly visit (it’s really close to my house; I can and do walk there when I feel like it) is very good about checking to make sure the right item is in the right box/sleeve/case during checkout. I’m not sure they would have went as far as to check the answering machine box, but I know when it comes to CDs and (I’m pretty sure VHS & DVD movies, too), they’ll actually open each one up to make sure the right thing’s in there. Probably because they don’t want to hear some old hag bitching about it on the phone later on. Or maybe it’s an anti-theft measure of some sort, I don’t know.

  11. Seriously, the prices at my goodwill are outrageous. It DOESNT MAKE SENSE! Stuff that you would think would be 25 cents is like 3 or 4 dollars! Someone seriously needs to sit down and have a chat with the CEO or something.

  12. I’ve got a Goodwill very close to my house, and I’ve become addicted to hitting up for random crap I don’t need way too often. For some reason I get a lot of VHS tapes too, even though I don’t have a VHS player anymore.

    My goal is to find a sealed Disney clamshell VHS, so I can relive the memories of tearing one open and anxiously going through all the little promos and coupons it came with.

  13. @KingJLA: I actually get a new hallmark star trek ornament every year. This years is Scotty. Hallmark ornaments have some damn good quality, but they are pricey, especially the ones with lights and sound.

  14. Someone said that they were having a problem commenting. If anyone else is, please email me. Not sure if this is a one-person glitch or something I need to investigate!

    @Tommy: Ooh, they had plenty of clamshell Disney movies… but yeah, all opened.

    @the ghost in you: The first time I wrote about Goodwill someone attacked me for buying things that weren’t meant for me, or something. The implication was that Goodwill “goods” are only for people who can’t afford anything but that. Which sounds ridiculous when they’re charging three dollars for broken Christmas lights.

  15. I share in the disappointment regarding the answering machine ornament. I think even an angel on Santa’s answering machine might have been a moderately acceptable compromise, but no– that angel had to turn around and be the devil itself.

    It’s been a while since I last set foot inside a Goodwill, as the one near us closed a little while back. I had quit going sooner, though, because their selection of quality junk took a nosedive in favor of… clothes and old furniture.

    I guess you could say I didn’t have much good will left towards the place.

  16. Prior to that, though, I got some neat stuff, including a hardcover Nintendo Comics System collection and a little Mouser figure from Ninja Turtles. Oh, and Rattrap from Beast Wars, minus his gun pieces.

    These days, I tend to do most of my rummaging at Value Village, which isn’t anywhere near as close, but isn’t too far from where I go for my comic books. Interestingly, they seem to get actual new, cheap (? I never really checked the prices) holiday fare for Halloween and Christmas.

  17. Matt, that The Time-Life Treasury of Christmas CD is labelled “Volume Two” so not only are you getting some obscure, D-level holiday tunes, but you’re getting the back-half, stuff that wasn’t deemed good enough for the first volume. You should make a video of just your initial reactions to skimming through that album, or secretly put it on in the background of your family’s Christmas party.

  18. DerDaven: We used to get the superhero ones when I was younger, along with Star Wars, because we were fans of them when we were younger. They are beautiful, but definitely pricey.

  19. This article, right now, just made me realize it’s Christmas, with a capital happy. Now to go stare at old limited edition Currier and Ives ice cream tins.

  20. The best finds I have ever claimed from Goodwill were a 1989 Sharp VHS camcorder, fully functional with mismatched hard case and all, and a Polaroid Spirit 600, whose film is waaaay expensive nowadays. Sad.

    Tempted to go back today and scout the myriad of typewriters they ALWAYS seem to have.

  21. UGHHHHH the Food Fight Power Rangers episode. It had Billy on the cover. My mom knew I had a major crush on him, so she bought it for me as a gift. Such memories!

  22. “Christmas is that weird time of year when you’re caught between absolute peace and total mental destruction.”

    Truer words were never spoken.

    Too bad about that angel trying to pass itself off as a mouse with a love of 80s electronics. Seemed like such a good (weird?) find!

  23. Those Hallmark Keepsake ornaments are always nuts. See it all the time at flea markets. Ordinary kitschy ornament? $2. Licensed character ornament? $5. Keepsake ornament? TWENTY DOLLARS AND YOUR FIRST-BORN’S SOUL!

  24. No Goodwill near me, just a smelly Salvation Army store. :(

  25. I’ve got the Time-Life cds. They’re actually pretty good. Mostly B, but there are some A list artists on there. Can’t get more Christmassy than Perry Como, Bing Crosby, and Nat King Cole!

  26. So, are the prices of Goodwill nationwide, or partially nationwide, or completely up to whoever is in charge or a particular location? Cause, I gotta say, I don’t think the prices at mine are all that bad (also, ours don’t use the price stickers as seen in the photos above; all of the ones I’ve been to use grease pens to list prices). The VHS tapes are a buck, the books range from $1.00 to $1.50, glasses/mugs and so on are generally 50 cents to $1.50. More “specialized” items (like the ostensible answering machine) obviously range differently, but I’ve never seen anything too outrageous, outside of framed pictures, some of which ARE crazy overpriced.

    I’ve found some really great books, tapes, glasses/mugs and music for waaay cheap. My favorite finds are electronics, though. I’ve come out with some (still pretty high end) VCRs that work and are superior to *most* decks manufactured since the early-1990′s, and they’re always $5 a pop, unless they have a remote, in which case they’re a little more, but still not unreasonable. One of my all-time favote finds in that area is a 1986 Panasonic VHS VCR that still works like a dream. The amount of features on this thing are amazing. Back in the day it was undoubtedly a pretty pricey unit, even when compared to the “low-end” couple hundred dollar VCRs of the era.

    Also, I once walked out with a boxed M*A*S*H I.V. Vodka dispenser, for only $3! I flipped out when I found that one. It’s not quite complete, but it still looks eternally badass when on display.

  27. Oh, and click on my name to see another of my favorite Goodwill finds – it was a moment of pure triumph. Plus, the post gave me the opportunity to link to Dino Drac, always a plus.

  28. Ha, I have two of your goodwill purchases that I include every year in my holiday celebration. I still put up the answering machine ornament, and yes the Time Life collection gets its turn in the rotation. I believe the two CD set ran for $25.99 on an infomercial. And I am pretty sure you get all the greats singing their signature songs. As for the ornament, it still works to this day…”Ho ho ho, I’m outside packing my sleigh but make sure you leave your Christmas wishes, wait for the jingle bells.” Good stuff.

  29. Goodwill is a network of “community based” organizations that operate independantly. So I don’t think the pricing structure is universal. The ones around here in Virginia seem pretty cheap, in my experience.

    Matt, it’s funny that somebody chastised you for buying stuff there. As it turns out, I once had a business lunch with some folks that worked for my local Goodwill Industries. They mentioned to me that this is a big “messaging” problem they have. People think the stores exist so that poor people can buy cheap used items–so some people will avoid shopping there because they don’t think they are needy enough. Others will see non-poor peole shopping there, and get really upset–they will refuse to donate to the organization, because they don’t want non-needy people buying their old stuff.

    The “charity” comes primarily from employing less fortunate / disabled people, by way of several different businesses (thrift shops being one of the more well-known businesses that they operate). The goods they sell are for anybody that wants to buy them.

    This is the least silly post I have ever posted on the internet.

  30. Around here thrift stores seem to be ashamed of their status, so now they’ve positioned themselves as “vintage boutiques” and everything is insanely pricey. I know the proceeds of these shops are for a cause, but what Goodwill and other organizations forget is I’m cheap, materialistic and unsympathetic- so price accordingly.

  31. The town next to mine has this antiques mall I infrequently visit. I think it was the second-to-last time I went there that I found the “Santa’s Answering Machine” ornament. I even checked the box, and sure enough, there was a tiny mouse atop a tiny answering machine.

    I wanted to buy it, but my parents wouldn’t let me. Shame.

  32. I live in Georgia and the Goodwills here don’t seem to have such high pricing. They also have outlets along the walls so you can plug in lamps and the like for yourself to test them. I told myself I was going to stop shopping there after I read that they use legal loopholes to pay their disabled employees less than minimum wage – and the article I read was citing outrageous instances like 20 cents an hour. But then I was in the shopping center and I went there anyway :/ I should probably write to Goodwill of North Georgia and find out if they use those kinds of practices, since as Casual Jeff says they are not all under one big organization.

  33. The snowball chew toy guy is my favorite Matt, a great find. I like the answering machine ornament too, it’s like remembering forever a tiny slice of technology.

    I once found cassette tapes of messages by “famous celebrities” that you could put on your answering machine or leave on other peoples’ machines. Most of the celebrities are now dead, I hope I transferred the tapes to digital files. Dean Martin wishing friends a happy birthday from beyond the grave is good fun.

  34. @Casual Jeff: Makes perfect sense to me, and figured it was something like that. There really aren’t many thrifts left that exist specifically to give the less fortunate cheaper goods. (And while we’re on the subject, the staff at all of the Goodwills I’ve been to have been great.)

    @Bluejay: That came up last time… I ended up researching and while I have no dog in this hunt, Goodwill has their own side to the story. Something about the news being off because it cherry-picked the sample data. (There was more to it than that, too.)

    @K: Ironically, the one thrift store that’s still cheap around here really wants to think of itself as a boutique. I have no idea how it’s still around, because the stuff really is that cheap. But the lady running it definitely patterned it after a vintage clothing shop.

  35. Matt, did you get that CD because of remembering the 80′s ads for that collection? It rang a (jingle) bell at first and then I hit Youtube…bingo! I remember that!

  36. Goodwills are pretty low-priced in this end of Jersey, too. I got “A Pink (Panther) Christmas” for 99 cents on DVD from a local Goodwill last June. I’ve been looking for that for a while, but it was always insanely priced online. A really nice Wilton large house-shaped cookie pan (it’s too flat for a cake pan) was two dollars.

    I had several “Time-Life Christmas” CDs, and I can tell you, while a lot of the music isn’t recent, it’s (mostly) not D-level performers, either. I know there were a lot of classic holiday pop songs like Burl Ives singing “Holly Jolly Christmas” on my copies.

    It’s a shame your lights didn’t work. I’ve always loved those flower-shaped lights myself. They remind me of my childhood. Mom used lights like that, only white, on our family tree for years. She now uses these huge cone-shaped lights that look pretty but really aren’t the same.

  37. No holiday puzzles?

    I like to get a 200 piece puzzle, put all of the pieces in a white pillow case and then draw a $ on the case. I can walk around looking like a millionaire with that thing slung over my shoulder.

  38. @a2stylee: I didn’t, but now that you mention it…

    @starwenn: Yep, always loved ‘em. I’m also big on the old school “big bulb” glass strands which have largely fallen out of favor, if not shrunk. (And I can see why, because I’ve had several electrical incidents with those strands, indoors and out.)

  39. I’m partial to the exploding glass/liquid poison magic of bubble lights myself. Sure, I’ve never SEEN one blow a Christmas tree to smithereens, but there’s always tomorrow.

  40. Man, they weren’t kidding with the “We Put People to Work” motto. Never has so much been squeezed out of a $20 purchase of items that are worth a grand total of $4. You really milked that trip for all the nog it was worth.

  41. Also, wanted to say a giant ape thanks to Larry P. for the new banner up there, and specifically Dino Drac’s list. Why? Because, in a small way it just saved my Christmas.

    Last year, my dad asked for a globe and no one got him one. I was kind of shopping around for one at the last minute, but couldn’t find one locally and it was too late to order one online. So, he ended up S.O.L. Now, this year comes round and I’ve been racking my brain on what to get him. I had a couple little things jotted down, but trying to get ideas out of him is like pulling teeth.

    Then I read Drac’s list up there. What was the second thing I noticed? “A BIG GLOBE”! Then it hit me… globe! Of course! The globe he never got last year that he hasn’t mentioned at all this year. Not only will I finally have something to get him (because I didn’t have the first foggiest clue what I was going to do), but it will be a total surprise because he hasn’t mentioned it at all and I think over the past year he’s just given up on the whole idea.

    Thanks, Larry P!…and Matt!

  42. Awww, fuck. I’m so sorry. I’m running on 3 hours of sleep here and it just occurred to me that I mentioned the wrong name up there. I meant to say big thanks to Jason Week for the new Christmas banner.

    So sorry about that. I’m exhausted. So yeah, my apologies, Jason. Got my DD contributors mixed up there.

    But, on that subject, thanks to Larry P anyway. Without all your vids, we wouldn’t have a lot of great content lately.

    I’m off to bed to get some much needed sleep. I’m not firing on all cylinders over here.

  43. I always find the pricing at my local Goodwill to be baffling as well. You will see things that are obviously originally from the Dollar Store – sometimes even with a “Dollar Tree” sticker STILL ON them – yet the Goodwill employee in charge of pricing will have cheerfully tacked a $10 price sticker on for some reason. Sometimes I think they do it on purpose as some sort of evil joke. Conversely, stuff that’s actually really quite valuable (such as musical instruments, antiques and 80′s toys) will sometimes be priced for 75 cents and chucked randomly into the bargain pile. It’s the prospect of finding the latter that keeps me coming back of course…

  44. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate Goodwill right now. I have been unemployed since April 2012. I will be starting a 15 week training program for a job and the training is being run by Goodwill. While it isn’t the perfect job for me, the company I will be working for, specializes in placing handicapped or disabled people, so they should understand my needs with Aspergers Syndrome.

    The unfortunate thing is that I don’t get paid while in the training, and my unemployment runs out just before Christmas. That means I won’t have any money at all coming in until the job starts next April. Lean times ahead for sure. So I really hope everyone really appreciates what they have this year and isn’t too focused on what they get.

  45. King JLA I have heard the Goodwill Outlet stores take some getting used to. They are a sorting facility and you pay per pound. I heard from a reseller on Youtube that you should wear gloves while sorting because their is broken glass sometimes in the bin and you don’t want to get cut.

    She buys clothes (jackets, shirts, skirts and pants) that are designer brands for a dollar a piece if you divide price per item. And then sells them for 15-50 dollars a piece. The shoes are more expensive per pound, about 1.50 per pound. And then their is the wares which is harder to sort through. They come out with bins and then say “Shop now” or something like that and their are people standing around waiting. I think they do that every hour and a half. I would love to go, because a dollar for a nice jacket that would be pretty sweet.

    In Texas (possibly other places) their is a Goodwill with a separate building for Computer goods. I saw it in a video once and they have bins of laptops, keyboards, video game consoles, shelves too with computer mice, all sorts of stuff.

    Larry P. I heard someone recently say they bought a HDMI DVD player for about 10 bucks at a Goodwill and sold it for 100 bucks plus shipping. So I need to get into the higher end VCRs and DVD players. I haven’t found the Bluray players yet. I did buy Bluray movies at a yard sale this last summer for 3 dollars a piece. I know the higher end vintage stereos are good to look for but I don’t know much about stereos. Time to learn :)

  46. Here in central Virginia (Charlottesville),we have a SPCA Rummange Store.It’s huge with lots of interesting stuff.The down size is that the prices are way too high for what they sell.As others have noted on this thread about varying prices at Goodwill,the prices at this store truly make your head spin.I know the profits are for a good cause,but most folks aren’t going to pay at retail for a broken down looking lamp or a pair of jeans that look like they’re on their last(pun intended)leg!

  47. Love that new Christmas banner. The furious glee Dino Drac is feeling as he writes down his list reminds me of better days. Brilliant.

    So many of these comments are making me feel so lucky to have a hospice thrift store nearby with it’s own Christmas Shop building. It’s a neat little hole in the wall. Last time I was there we grabbed a few house for the old Christmas village and my sister bought me a polish Santa, who dresses in black and red BTW.

    The Power Rangers tape is definitely a good find but I wonder why it features the blue ranger on the cover. The pig episode wasn’t a billy focused ep at all and……oh god. I’ve said too much already.

  48. @ DJ D – LOL I *wish* I could put together banners that look half as cool as Jasons! It’s my pleasure on the vids; to see some of this stuff immortalized on Dino Drac is an amazing feeling. It’s also a weird kind of validation. Like, if so-and-so has Matt’s approval, I must be doing something right.

    @ Goob – It wouldn’t surprise me if someone did have that kind of score there. It seems they’ll throw any kind of unit out there on the shelves with a set price, regardless of whether it’s worth more (or less); if it’s a VCR, it’s $5. At least that’s how it seems at mine. I’ve had extraordinarily good luck finding working units (probably because the older ones were built to last, which means that even technically lower-end models from back in the day are high-end compared to what can currently be bought). Keep in mind that even if you come across a nice unit that doesn’t work properly, at such a low price it’s still worth picking up if you have a good repair shop in the area. I grabbed an S-VHS VCR there that falls into that category (I have a post on that, too. Click on my name for that one).

  49. Hey, Heloise lives in my town. I see her at work from time to time.

  50. @Humanary Stew: That’s great to hear, and is in line with what I’ve read about them. There seems to be a massive amount of hate online for “old school” nonprofits. A lot of it is totally warranted, because the shady shit and weird agendas are in plain sight if you look hard enough. Other times, it feels like people pluck a couple of incidents to discount whole worlds of good.

    @Carina: Yep, that was the thing! So much of their Christmas stuff was total Dollar Tree crap. (In fact, it’s in such volume that I must imagine that stores donate directly to them.) Their markups are nuts, but again, it seems to be limited to the holiday stuff. It was the same way during Halloween.

    @DJ D: Great story even with the mixed up names! :) And yes Jason was a lifesaver on this one, because I completely forgot about December, and also completely forgot that the previous banner was very November-specific. So he had no time at all. Luckily the key DD art is actually something he’d drawn a while back.

    @Jerrod: Ooh, tell her I said hi.

  51. @Matt:

    I think this is the first time you have ever replied to one of my comments. And I agree with you. Sometimes the person(s) making the complaint has an agenda as well. Without intending to get political, there are some that think that only the government should be ones helping people and that just isn’t so, because the government simply can’t do everything. They can’t even develop a website properly in three years.

  52. I feel very strongly about that CD, that Time Life Treasury of Christmas IS Christmas to me. And luckily you will probably recognize most of the people performing.
    If the CD you currently have is the one purchased directly from Time Life then you have the good version which has more songs. Whatever CD they are selling on Amazon now apparently sucks because it has half of the amount of songs on it.

  53. That new banner is my favorite one yet. I love how frantic DD is to get down all his wants before he forgets.

    I’ll also second the love of that type of Christmas lights. That’s what we had on my trees as a kid. There’s something about LED lights I don’t like. The coloring, the brightness just seems off. Even on new cars brake lights and on traffic lights — I like the old school bulbs better. They seem to fade in and out. They’re gentler. More Christmassy.

    Remember DinoDrac: Santa can’t get you EVERYTHING on your list. Sometimes, he just runs out of materials or he knows your Mom and Dad don’t want you to have a particular item. Rest assured, though: I think you’ll find some “Slime” under your tree.

  54. That is a shame about the mouse ornament. That thing looks so cute.

  55. Re: Christmas lights. Old school is definitely the way to go. I like the ones with the “flower petals” that Matt mentioned, but my favorites are the big, fat ones we used to have on the tree when I was a kid. I miss the look of them and the slight “ding” or clicking sound they made as they blinked on and off. You had to listen really close to hear it, but it was there.

  56. That ornament is going for 20 bucks on ebay right now…click my name for the link!. It totally has to be your Goodwill with the high prices, Matt. The ones here are cheap…but that is for clothing and designer bags…I haven’t thought about getting seasonal stuff.

  57. Man, between the lights that don’t work and the wrong ornament in the box, I’d be in a mood to go back and burn the place to the ground if I was you. Of course, I tend to overreact sometimes. Thank God I never actually act on these impulses.

    Back in the ’90s when Looney Tunes experienced a bit of a resurgence, showing up on clothes and whatnot (remember the shirts with Bugs and Taz wearing backwards clothes like Kriss Kross?), Marvin the Martian was my favorite, too! I had a baseball jersey-looking shirt with him on it that I loved and wore quite a lot. I just liked him because he was “different,” you know? But if you like him because his head is a black ball and you like black balls, more power to you.

    It’s already been mentioned by several other people, but that Time-Life CD should be pretty good. It may not be up your alley, since it’s not going to be “modern,” but there’s probably some classic, traditional stuff there.

    That snowball figure’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.

    The headless mannequin in the Santa hat just sums it all up, doesn’t it? I don’t know what that means, but good work on the banner, Jason Week! I wish I was half as talented!

  58. I feel for those of you with overpriced Goodwill stores in your area. It’s the same thing here (Michigan’s Upper Peninsula) too–out of all the thrift stores, Goodwill’s merchandise consistantly costs the most (but, damn, they tend to have some great items, so, you just gotta bite the bullet at times). The staff are friendly and the establishment is generally clean/neat, but, I just cannot wrap my head around many of their pricing decisions. If the powers that be were foolish enough to put me in charge of that place, my first order of business would be to slash the price on everything in the store by 50%.

    The St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift stores (if the name didn’t clue you in, it’s a Catholic chain) have the best prices in my neck of the woods. Anybody else have one where they live? I scored a 1991 G.I.JOE Lifeline [the Rice Krispies "censored" promotional mailaway version (Kelloggs made Hasbro remove the handgun and holster from the sculpt on his left leg--Snap, Crackle, and Pop aren't down with firearms)], who, amazingly enough, more than two decades later, was still wearing his removable backpack accessory, and a 1988 Real Ghostbusters Screaming Heroes Egon Spengler, for fifty cents each, at Vinnie’s (that’s the truncated name everybody, even the employees, use) yesterday. One of the best things that they occasionally do, at least in my not-so-humble opinion, are their twenty-five cent mystery grab bags of random toys–each one is like a little Christmas. You get a lot of McDonald’s and Burger King fast food toys, but there’s usually at least one good item in each bag, and, if not, you’re only out a quarter. Those bags go fast though, as the local kids love them–I almost feel guilty buying them for myself (I don’t want to be too greedy and snatch them all, so, I limit myself to no more than two at a time, usually a “boys” one and a “girls” one–they do more specific themed ones too, like “ponies”, “planes”, etc., but I generally prefer the broader mixes, as there’s a better chance of getting something rare or weird/unique).

    If you’re wondering, I don’t sell any of the toys that I buy, I just amass huge piles of them and then roost amidst it all like some kind of deranged dragon that thinks action figures are better than gold coins (woe to any Hobbit that tries to pilfer my little plastic dollies). Look for me on a future episode of Hoarders . . .

  59. The Goodwills in the Toronto area that I’ve gone to are as over-priced and disorganized as some of the ones described here, and I’ve never found anything of interest that I was actually willing to pay their prices for. $25+ for things like mediocre SNES games (i.e. World Heroes) and beat-up vintage Star Wars toys? No thanks. If it’s in the glass display case up by the cashier, it’s not for me.

    Value Village has been much kinder, particularly in the video game department – I just scored two of those awful Zelda games for the Philips CDI – and the clerk rang them in as children’s books.

    The Christmas stuff is always interesting to see, although I can’t shake the notion that the really garish stuff (i.e. – anything that is supposed to look like its made of gold) couldn’t be sold off in an estate sale and that it may be haunted by it’s former owner.

  60. It looks like a headless, weight controlled, Rob Ford.

  61. Add me to the Goodwill naysayers. A GW just opened in my small Midwestern city about a month ago. The prices are ABSURD: An item available brand new at the Dollar Tree right across the street for $1.00 or at the Wal-Mart about a quarter-mile down the road for 99 cents will go for three or five or six bucks used, dirty, and chipped. What makes it particularly strange and bitter is that the store is very conspicuously right in the middle of our town’s poorest area.

    Also, there is no, well…”Quirkiness”. At the other thrift stores in town about every third or forth trip I find some incredible oddball item (My favorite: A framed portrait-style oil painting of Shaquille O’Neal as Steel. Seriously. It hangs on my wall above me as I write this) but never any such treasures at GW. It’s all stuff I could buy at other places in town new, for half the price.

  62. “@the ghost in you: The first time I wrote about Goodwill someone attacked me for buying things that weren’t meant for me, or something. The implication was that Goodwill “goods” are only for people who can’t afford anything but that. Which sounds ridiculous when they’re charging three dollars for broken Christmas lights.

    Posted by: Matt @ 12/02/2013 2:47 PM”

    That person was an idiot. They help ex addicts find employment, the money they make is used for the program. If only poor people shopped there, the chain would shut down with those prices.

    “I live in Georgia and the Goodwills here don’t seem to have such high pricing. They also have outlets along the walls so you can plug in lamps and the like for yourself to test them. I told myself I was going to stop shopping there after I read that they use legal loopholes to pay their disabled employees less than minimum wage – and the article I read was citing outrageous instances like 20 cents an hour. But then I was in the shopping center and I went there anyway :/ I should probably write to Goodwill of North Georgia and find out if they use those kinds of practices, since as Casual Jeff says they are not all under one big organization.

    Posted by: Bluejay @ 12/02/2013 7:00 PM”

    It’s against the law to pay anyone less than the minimum wage unless it’s a job with tips/commission.

    While Goodwill COULD pay someone less than minimum wage, the employee still get the full amount, as the government would pay the difference. When I was a lead in years ago, the company I worked for would not hire any able employee unless they had a handicap, just so they could be subsidized.

  63. @hbk72777: That’s what I read, too. From memory, the “drama” surrounding the wage thing was because they have a special pay system in place for workers with disabilities who sometimes spend parts of their shifts unable TO work.

    Basically, a few articles took bits of info and left out loads of other info, to make it look like they were operating in extraordinarily illegal ways.

  64. Our Goodwill has no piece of furniture less than $30, no matter the shape it is in. I can go across the parking lot to Target and buy new decent furniture for cheaper than Goodwill. That is sad.

    We had that answering machine ornament! I have no idea where it is, but we had it. And it died pretty quickly after obtaining it, which probably means it was tossed.

    Also, I LOVED the tv show Monsters. I had no idea they had episodes available on video!

  65. I don’t like the second photo because it has all the stuff I hate: useless ornaments. Do you remember when you were a kid and you can’t touch those colorful cute ornaments because your mom was yelling at you “Don’t touch it, you can break it!!”?
    Then, you spent the rest of your childhood looking at those ornaments an never be allowed to play with or even put a finger on them.
    Worse, when you are an adult, you have to clean them because they are useful to gather dust and nothing else. So, when you know that nobody remember that ornament, you decide to destroy it >:)

    But, for our happyness, Matt gave us a photo of a snowball, made of plastic, so it can be a toy, a bouncy ball, a squeaky toy and a desk pal :D

  66. Here’s where we differ…

    Post-1980 versions of Christmas songs are uniformly terrible. Their attempts to ape the pop stylings of whatever year in which they were recorded dates them instantly.

    Discovering the Time-Life series on similar thrift-store hunt is what got me into serious Christmas song curating.

    Yes, that last sentence is accurate. I am an empty shell.

  67. Matt,where is this store in Jersey? North or South? Looks like one we visit near Runnemede when we go visit my husband’s mom.

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