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What’s With the Price Tag?

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

[By Kerri Nettles]

ballin on a budget meme

I came across a humorous meme on Goodwill Industries of Arkansas’s Facebook page. “Ballin on a budget.” For those who might not know, “ballin” is like “high rolling,” “living large,” “living the good life.” In the background was a nice Burberry jacket with a green plastic barb through the tag. Avid thrifters are very familiar with this signature Goodwill pricing method. This designer beauty was a Goodwill bargain treasure. For around $5, it will be the envy of boutique connoisseurs everywhere.

But the meme got me thinking ... Yes, a social media post that was supposed to just make us laugh (and maybe now REALLY want a Burberry jacket) sparked deep thought. Why are some clothes so expensive? Are they expensive because so many people want them? Supply and demand? Or do so many people want them because they’re expensive? It can be a difficult thing to ask yourself.

If you found a nice jacket at Goodwill for $5, would you be less excited about it than if you’d found a similar jacket for $200 at a posh, trendy shop in an up-and-coming retail plaza? It’s an interesting question, one some might hesitantly answer, “Yes.”

Still, why are some clothes so pricey? Take a bathing suit, for instance. There isn’t much fabric. The design is fairly basic. The material is not unique. So why would some designers and stores try to sell them for $100 or more?

You, throw kids into the mix. They either keep growing out of their clothes, or must keep up with the weekly fashion trends. It will break the bank.

A viral post on Goodwill’s Facebook page a few days prior brought me comfort, that I wasn’t alone. Paul Morrell Formalwear donated dozens upon dozens of suits, tuxedos, shirts, shoes—even thousands of ties. Brides-to-be were tagging their fiancés. Moms were tagging their sons. Friends were planning shopping trips. And that doesn’t even count the people looking for something suave and affordable to wear to prom in a few months. The post reached around 150,000 people and was shared more than 1,300 times.

Among the hundreds of comments were questions about the prices. One proud shopper shared a photo: $4.50 for pants, $4.00 for shirts, $5.50 for blazers, $3.50 for vests and $2.00 for ties! Kevin, the commenter, was proud of his bargain finds.

goodwill pricing signage

“I found six blazers, two tuxedos, three vests and three pairs of shoes that fit me well!”

Nope, I’m not alone. Why pay hefty prices for something when you can pay less, keep the item out of a landfill, and all while funding programs that are helping Arkansans find work and improve their quality of life? Shop smart. Shop Goodwill.


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