I noticed over the last month or so that one of my local Goodwill stores has been removing the barcodes from many of the items on the shelf. And by removing the barcode I mean taking a box cutter and literally cutting the barcode out of the item. Even to go as far as cutting out the plastic packaging so that they could get to the barcode to remove it. Obviously this action is targeted at one segment of customers and thats resellers. It is highly unlikely for your typical, non reseller, customer to care about the barcode. What I dont understand is why would Goodwill stores actively discourage anyone from buying their products? How does removing the barcode increase their bottom line? And why would they care what someone does with the product after purchasing it?
Take a look at some pictures from just one Goodwill store shelf
I plan on going to several Goodwill stores over the next week so I will be sure to pay close attention to see if these other stores are doing the same thing. I would like to find out if this is just one store with rogue management or is this wider spread. Goodwill splits its stores into regions. Each region has its own sales and policies. It will be interesting to check out the other stores in this region as well as the neighboring region to see if they are also removing the barcodes.
To me, it is such an odd practice. First and foremost you are devaluing the product. They get their products for free so maybe they just don’t care all that much but butchering the packaging definitely isn’t helping you sell more items. Also an employee is actually taking the time to cut out each of these one by one. Of course, in many cases Goodwill uses volunteers that are fulfilling their community hour duties so since the labor, like the products, is free they just don’t care.
Besides devaluing the item and wasting a workers times this practice screams amateur hour. Do they not know that a simple vertical line through a bar code with a black marker will hinder a barcode scanner nearly as effectively without taking as much time or devaluing the product?
I think it would be a logical conclusion to say that resellers spend more money at thrift stores then the average customer. Why do anything to chase them away or deter their purchases? What does Goodwill gain by assaulting this demographic of customers? I wish I had more answers, I guess for now I will be stuck manually typing in brand names and model numbers.