Des Plaines Goodwill Grand Opening – the Coming of the Messiah or Tim Tebow?

I have never seen such fervent shoppers in my entire life as this morning at the Goodwill store grand opening in Des Plaines. I could barely get in the door – when I succeeded, I was pushed and shoved and within 30 seconds a rude woman slammed several heavy wood serving trays into my side. I couldn’t figure out why there was such an enormous crowd – the checkout line snaked all the way around the store. I stopped counting at 80 people waiting to buy used merchandise! Many of these shoppers had items piled high in their carts and were bound to be waiting for at least an hour for the privilege of buying these irresistible goods.

It was like the Coming of the Messiah, or Tim Tebow – which these days is the same thing. Good grief, the line wasn’t even this long when American Pickers star Mike Wolfe appeared at the Goodwill store in South Arlington Heights last July. Nor was the line this long when Michael Phelps was signing autographs at the Sports Authority in Hoffman Estates in November 2008. I have to wonder what time people were camped out for the 8:00 am opening – and did anyone pitch a tent?

I asked two dazed-looking Goodwill clerks whether they were offering special pricing for the grand opening and they said, “No” and all three of us shook our heads in unison at the crowd. I told them I write a blog on thrift stores and that I would certainly expound on this amazing and ponderous phenomenon. So what explains what has to be a record turnout for a thrift store opening? I highly doubt that it was the “Free resuable bags while supplies last” promotion sent to Club Goodwill members – retail value a whopping 25 cents! Perhaps economists would say it is the desire to find bargains and save money in a down economy. Or psychologists would theorize that it is human nature to want to be the first to try something. Whatever the reason, I will not be returning to this location for at least a few weeks – by the looks of it, their inventory will be decimated by the end of this grand opening weekend.

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