A Tale of Two Soles

My sister and I are both avid thrift shoppers. Last week, we both bought shoes – me at Value Village in Abbotsford and she in Salvation Army in Kelowna.

benitas merrels

Here’s Benita’s shoes: Merrell in mint condition.

benitas merrels 2

josef seible 1

Here’s mine: Josef Seibel, also in mint condition. josef seibel 2

I couldn’t find either shoe on the maker’s respective websites but I noted that there is not a casual shoe on either site for under $100. So we got great shoes, no denying that. But here’s my beef: Benita paid $4 for hers. I paid $18.59 for mine.

It just irks me.  Value Village is not a charity thrift shop, it is a retail store that happens to support charities; it supports local charities out of its profits.  You can learn more about how that works here. The fact that they support charity at all is to be admired. But it still makes me crazy that the charities do their work for them – the charities essentially collect their inventory (or it’s donated to VV by customers) and Value Village sells it. They do not say how much that percentage is but several websites I’ve looked at say it’s less than 10%.

Salvation Army, on the other hand, is completely transparent. On their FAQ page, it says:

Once operating costs are covered, 100 per cent of all proceeds go towards supporting the charity. The Salvation Army’s most recent audited financial statement indicates that 86% of all monies received by The Salvation Army go directly to the charitable work – only 4% goes to fundraising and 9% to administration.

So. When I think about what the actual cost of a new pair of Josef Seibels or Merrels is, I know I got a bargain, so did Benita. Had we bought them new, no charity would have benefited from our purchase. But if the 10% rule is true, then my shoes donated about $1.80 to charity. Benita’s $4 shoes, on the other hand, donated $3.40 to Salvation Army. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who got the better deal.

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2 Responses to A Tale of Two Soles

  1. Carlye says:

    I love this post! I heard somewhere as well that Value Village is owned by Wal Mart, not too sure if it’s true though.

    • the myth that value village is owned by wal mart is a persistent one but it is that: a myth. if you visit their website, and click on their “about” section, you can read all about their origins and ownership. thanks for the kudos!

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