Bad Will At Goodwill

Westport friends made a special trip yesterday to Goodwill. With both kids in college, they had an extra TV. It worked fine — the perfect donation, they thought, for the holidays.

Goodwill said no.

The only TVs they accept, they said, are flat screens.

My friends took the rejection in stride. Though they did wonder what’s next. Will the Salvation Army accept only $20 bills?

42 responses to “Bad Will At Goodwill

  1. Short and to the point, a truism of our current environment. Goodwill might have accepted the set and disposed of it to create Goodwill.

  2. Exactly who has the bad will? Goodwill is a not-for-profit business, not the town dump. No one will take a CRT tube TV; you can’t even give one away on Moreover, in most jurisdictions you have to PAY to dispose of CRT tube tv’s because they are toxic waste. Why expect Goodwill to take one that no one wants?

    Westporters are actually lucky that the Town transfer station (dump) allows one to leave off CRT tube TV’s without charging a disposal fee.

  3. Donations aren’t meant to be a way to give away things not good enough for you. That goodwill still keeps to this standard is a good , heart-warming sign that most people know better.

    • As stated clearly in the story, the TV worked fine. My friends no longer had use for the TV; their kids are in college. Nothing in the story indicated that the set was “not good enough” for them.

  4. I am absolutely shocked. Any family in need would love a TV, no matter how old, as long as it worked.

    • Absolutely shocked? Really? If this is what it takes to absolutely shock you then I hope you never pick up a newspaper. Just another example of how hyperbole is destroying all life on this planet!

      • I agree. The proliference of hyperbolic speech and behavioral reactions to trivial matters has completely devistated me and ruined my life forever

  5. Next time, try

  6. The Dude Abides

    When we were “cleaning out” a friend’s house after his death and getting it ready for tear down, we were amazed at how hard it was to get charities to take things. Refrigerators had to be of a certain age and any furniture with a slight tear was not acceptable. Perhaps it is this area but they do seem to be very fussy. I like Goodwill and do some of my wardrobe (such as it is) shopping there but I think they have to reassess their “donation” policy on certain items. I know they don’t take skis as well?

    • I’m guessing that anything that might carry a whiff of liability (like toys which they stopped taking a few years ago) they won’t touch. Here’s a handy rule of thumb- if nobody would buy it from you, it’s garbage. Take it to the dump, not Goodwill.

    • Habitat’s Restore has similar policy to Goodwill on upholstered furniture (i.e., no rips, tears, stains, no exceptions!). Their policies are pretty consistent nationwide. Ditto on fridges.

  7. It’s the same with computers. Many charties have very specific specs. If your computer is too old or lacks a new enough processor etc., it will be rejected. I understand it. As others have noted, no charity can afford to be used as a dumping ground, even if the donors have the best of intentions.

  8. Dan, maybe it’s time for a “where Westport’s garbage meets the world” column. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know where our cast-offs go? Whether the TV in question was “not good enough” for the family in question or not, they didn’t want it any more. As another comment noted, you can’t even give old TV’s away on Freecycle and we’re lucky that our transfer station doesn’t charge us to dump them. Under those circumstances, it’s hard to blame Goodwill for saying no thank you. But it also begs another question: What does happen to all the stuff that we here in Fairfield County deem obsolete? Seems to me a more worthy avenue of inquiry than just grousing at Goodwill.

  9. One of the best ways to transfer working items Is to have a TAG SALE with “TAKE IT” prices. If you run an ad and mention the items and the prices, you will be mobbed. ESTATE SALE is even better. You get some dealers, but mostly folks who think Westport castoffs are Bloomingdale’s. If you get an offer, take it. Much better than lugging it to the dump.

    Speaking of our dump, er. town Transfer Station, I don’t believe they have a location for working items, nor do they permit scavenging. Maybe we could open a site in Winslow Park, call it WOOGIES GOODIES. Put the word out and post it on a blog somewhere. Hmmmmmm.

  10. The alternative is to wait a few years, call it vintage, and stick a hefty price tag on it. That business line seems to be booming in Westport.

  11. I have to say what Goodwill did neither surprises nor upsets me.
    Can’t some of you “Anonymous” guys comes with some other fake names? The lack of creativity and the sameness is pretty tedious.

  12. Anonymous B15-17-92

    When in doubt, take it to Goodwill at midnight and drop it off. No questions, no hassle.

  13. Perhaps if you take it to the Bridgeport Goodwill in Black Rock (back behind Stop & Shop) you might find many folks who would be happy to have any TV set that works. Period.

  14. Interestingly, I brought our mid-1990s non-flat screen TV, one that had belonged to my mother and our main set, I might add, to the dump on Friday — and this, despite the large note my teenaged daughter had securely taped to the screen: “MEAN LADY, GO AWAY. THIS TV IS HERE TO STAY!” It just goes to show you that sentimentality and serviceability can take many forms. That set had been certainly good enough. However, we made it a family project to save for a new one, and finally we had reached our goal. It was ironic to see in the area of discarded televisions, the exact same box as the one our new TV had arrived in.

  15. Tracy Robinson

    After a party few weeks ago, I suggested to my friend that we haul all the delicious meal leftovers to the men’s shelter. My jaw dropped when I heard that they no longer accept donations of fresh food (or something???) due to a new health code. You have GOT to be kidding!

    • Tracy, your thoughtfulness is touching and you are to be commended for thinking of others. However, it is wise that the shelter protects its residents, who often have compromised immune systems. The shelter has no way of knowing if the food was cooked in a clean kitchen or stored at the proper temperature.

  16. Sorry, I agree with Goodwill. I have had old TV’s that will “work fine” for 5 or ten minutes after turning them on.

  17. The Salvation Army will take a “tube” TV but not one over ten years old.


  18. Nancy Powers Conklin

    Hall-Brooke Hospital will take most furniture without too much trouble. They came to our home, two big strapping guys, hauled out the sofa and BIG tube tv! And, they thanked us profusely when leaving. Also, the Bpt. Rescue Mission will come and pick up stuff that is not torn or stained, as far as furniture goes. And they also will say thank you!

  19. Why not donate it to your local gas station or oil change place? They’d be happy to accept it. Anything to keep their customers company while their cars are being serviced?

  20. Understandable why Goodwill refuses certain, frankly unmarketable, things. Up here in the backwoods of Monroe, we set stuff out at the end of the driveway and it’s gone in a flash. A few months ago I put out a really old TV, walked back in the house to make a “FREE” sign, went back out and the TV was already gone. Uh, er–anyone want a full set of the 1956 Encyclopedia Britannica? –Karl Decker

  21. I recently offered two large old-fashioned (8 years old!) tv’s to the guys that cut our lawn. They were very happy to take them, and it felt much better than taking to the dump. The older tv’s are also extremely heavy – I can see why Goodwill doesn’t want to deal with them. The tv’s are useable for sure, but not worth any money.

  22. The Dude Abides

    Indeed, regarding the aforementioned evalucation of all items of a future tear down and the refusal of many charities to take items, our lawn/snow removal folks took everything gladly and with much appreciation.

  23. Best Buy recycles electronics including tube TV’s.

  24. Considering that I have been through four (4) flat screen televisions to my one
    relic of a huge dinosaur of a Sony, maybe Goodwill outta reconsider their policy.

  25. At a transfer station in Cape Cod, there is a “treasure chest” shop on the property where people can take items they don’t want anymore but don’t want to throw them in the garbage. Anyone in town can take what they want–for free. Two drawbacks: it got so popular that it needed to be manned by volunteers to keep the stuff organized, and people were reportedly hanging around the place to pick treasures to resell at tag sales. Still, seems like a good way to recycle perfectly good stuff.

    • It would be nice if we had similar setups at the Transfer Stations in Fairfield County.

      It’s a shame to see the numerous perfectly good items and ones that just need a lit spit and polish get scooped up at the end of the day and dumped into a scrap metal dumpster at the end of the day.

  26. I agree that there should be a place to bring your unwanted items that are goodwill rejects. Maybe give up one parking spot to put these items with a sign “free rejects”. Personally, I think tour goodwill has to lower their prices too. It’s called goodwill for a reason, if I wanted to pay $400. for a couch I would go to Bob’s. This is the only place I have seen where you can find a used book with a price higher than when it was in the store new.

    Sometimes the town hall might know some families that are in need of things. . .

  27. Princeton ’82 I was going to say the same thing. I know four people whose flat screens have lasted maybe 3 – 4 years. My Panasonic 20″ was bought the day Princess Diana died in 1997 and is still without flaws.

  28. Goodwill Sucks

    Seriously? I will never donate to Goodwill again. PS…where did they get the money to build the flashy new digs at the sight of the old Peppermill Restaurant down the street? Aren’t they supposed to take proceeds from donations sold and distribute to the less fortunate? This is all just nauseating. Beggars can’t be choosers. They should have just taken the friggin TV!!

  29. I know a group that will take them!! Right here in Westport!! (and they pick up) , this was in my inbox at work:

    Getting a New TV this Holiday Season?

    Please consider donating your used TV to
    St. Vincent’s/Hall-Brooke’s Community Residential Services (CRS)

    CRS is a division of St. Vincent’s Hall-Brooke Behavioral Health Services and CRS has made it possible for hundreds of people with chronic emotional, behavioral and addiction problems to escape homelessness and live responsibly in the community.
    We will Pick Up Your Used TV
    Must Be in Working Condition – Flat Screen and Regular TVs Welcomed
    Your Donated TV Will Be Put to Good Use in One of Our Many Housing Units Located Throughout Fairfield County
    Additional Information is Attached. Please Call Joyce Platz at 203-362-3920.
    Happy Holidays!

  30. Goodwill Sucks

    Thank God for organizations like yours! Goodwill really ought to change their name. It is not “good will” if money is being spent on a flashy new building and they are refusing ANYTHING!! The wrong message is being sent by Goodwill. I urge everybody in the commmunity to call CRS to donate. Anything would be better than an organization that has become so cocky and obnoxious. What next? Only shoes accepted will be Manolos and Louboutins???

  31. There’s lots of things Goodwill won’t take. Try giving them a bedroom or dining room set! Call Salvation Army.. they take everything and they pick it up with a truck! I was in the Carolina’s last week.. and shopped the Goodwill there.. The prices are less than half down there than our Westport Goodwill.

  32. Here’s the deal, it’s not that nobody will want what you have. There are plenty of low income folks who would buy an older model tv, etc. The main issue is that Goodwill will not make any type of substantial money by selling it. The really good stuff that gets donated, gets auctioned off or often times is taken home by employees. C’mon, where’s the goodwill here???? Go ahead and try to check the BBB (Better Business Bureau) for Goodwill’s standing. Guess what? They’re not accredited!!!

  33. Goodwill is a bad will employer also. They dont care about their employees. All they want is to have money. They dont care if there are shoplifters inside the store, their concern is that their employees is doing their job perfect! No mistake! They terminate their employees without a cause. They say that they are against poverty, but theyre not. Their to poverty!