Thrift Store vs. Consignment Shop, Who’s Better?

With the rise in retail inflation, there has been a push for affordable, sustainable, and eco-friendly alternatives. While second-hand stores were once given an unfavorable reputation, the market has grown in popularity in recent years. Although, many people seem to confuse second-hand stores for non-profit or charity-based, it is much more complex in terms of its buy and resell process. Here are key differences between thrift stores and consignment shops:


Let’s begin with thrift stores; these organizations are known as donation-based for charity or non-profit. If you’re thinking about the Salvation Army or your local Goodwill then you’re correct! Thrift stores operate by receiving donated clothing/ items and reselling them at discounted prices to customers. If you donate to thrift stores, you will not receive any form of compensation if the item is sold. However, it is common to receive a receipt that can be used for your personal tax donations. Also, donated clothing is typically sold in the same condition in which it came, meaning there is the possibility of low quality. However, don’t let that stop you as many vintage and high-quality items make their ways into thrift stores. 

Next, there are consignment shops known as ‘for-profit’ as they operate for financial gain. If you no longer want something, the store will pay you for your items if they successfully sell. However, you will not be offered the full price that it sold, only a percentage of the final sale. This operation benefits both the shop and donator, as the intention is to sell and make profit. Also, it is common for some consignments to allow in-store purchases with the money you earn with your donated items. However, consignment tends to be picky with what items they allow based on style, season, and quality. Therefore, it is common for the prices to be on the higher-end instead of a set price based on the type of item it is. 


Honestly, to choose between thrift stores or consignment would be determined by your personal choice. If you are a person who has an attachment or sentimentality to your pre-loved items, consignment would be beneficial as you can build a relationship with the community and know where your pieces are going. Consignment tends to treat and care for donated items as there is still a relationship (i.e. compensation) with the donator. Whereas, thrift stores are the best option for decluttering and simply ridding yourself of items you no longer want or need. Also, thrift stores tend to be less picky about donated items so it offers more variety. To say one is better than the other cannot be determined, as it simply comes down to you.


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