Now that the freak cold snap is over, I finally switched out my wardrobe, putting all my winter stuff in storage containers and busting out the summer clothes. As usual, I had a small pile that I knew I wouldn't wear anymore. This time, instead of donating them to Animal Ark, I decided to sell them. I'll never stop donating good stuff to animal charities, but I was curious to know which of the used clothing shops in town would pay the most for my trendier duds. (A few of which, I should note, came from my sister.)
The clothes, most of which were in new, unworn condition:
White tank with lace (Rubbish); 2 crocheted hair wraps in navy and dusty rose (Echo Design); white/black cotton button-down tunic with ties (not sure of brand, 95% chance my sister got it at Nordstrom); faux-leather patent camel handbag (Poppie Jones).
White cotton cargo capris (DKNY); cotton-Lycra light denim jacket (Rubbish); yellow modal tee with ruffle (Banana Republic); Western-style straw hat (Bitten); cotton-Lycra gray/black miniskirt (Lux/Urban Outfitters).
I tossed all my stuff in a bag and brought it to a few stores. In chronological order on the same day:
Plato's Closet in Roseville specializes in juniors' brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Bebe, Lucky and Roxy. Being 31, I no longer wear a lot of these brands, but I figured it was worth a shot. This is the only place where I had previous experience selling clothes; I brought a few things in several years ago and recalled the experience to be pretty quick and painless. Times may have changed a little bit. The woman at the counter took her sweet time acknowledging that I was standing four feet away from her and then told me it would be a 40-minute wait to check out my clothes. I didn't feel like hanging around Har Mar Mall for that long, much less the shoebox that is Plato's Closet, so I left without getting a quote. (I have no patience, sue me.)
Since I didn't hang around Plato's Closet, I didn't find out exactly how they pay for clothes. I'm assuming it's the same as the other two stores: First, they calculate what they will sell the merchandise for. Then they offer you 50% of that total in store credit, or 30% of that total in cash.
Buffalo Exchange in Uptown buys and sells more trendy clothing and accessories than the other two stores. Before I committed to the sale, I informed the employee that I'd also be shopping my wares at Everyday People, which prompted sudden snottiness. She quoted me at $19.95 cash option but warned that, if she wasn't the person at the counter when I came back, that offer could go down. Only having sold clothes once before, I'd never really thought about it, but I suppose that's the nature of the beast; the quotes will inevitably be somewhat arbitrary. Also, she didn't know what Von Maur was when I answered her question about where one of my items was purchased. I found that to be a little odd for someone who's supposed to know fashion. Buffalo Exchange passed on the white DKNY capris, the crocheted Echo hair wraps and the denim Rubbish jacket, so the $19.95 quote excludes those items.
Everyday People in Uptown stocks about 40% vintage clothing, or at least that's my best guess having stopped in there numerous times. There was a friendly staff of two working when I walked in, and they were quick to sort through my bag of goodies and come up with a quote of $10.25 cash option. Interestingly, they also passed on the same items: the capris, hair wraps and denim jacket. Now, had the margin been smaller between Buffalo Exchange's quote and Everyday People's quote, I would've just sold my clothes to Everyday People and called it a day. But we're talking about an almost $10 difference.
That's a Sawanoi during happy hour at Azia.
Naturally, I returned to Buffalo Exchange to get my $19.95. Now, I'm not one to really bitch about bad customer service, but if an experience is exceptionally bad, I feel the need to mention it. The employee that checked out my clothes was still there (this was only like 20 minutes later) and she copped even more of an attitude when I returned. I won't quote the whole conversation, but suffice to say there was a way to make me understand the rules -- you must wait your turn (there were now 3 people ahead of me), you cannot shop while you wait (the other two stores encourage it), you cannot go outside while you wait, you cannot move more than 5 feet from the counter while you wait, you must keep your bag(s) with you at all times while you wait -- without being a snot about it. In fact, I would happily return to Buffalo Exchange to both sell clothes and shop, had my experience with the employee there been better.
But it wasn't, so I won't. I took my $19.95 cash option and headed to Azia. I'll most likely just continue donating my clothes in the future but, if I decide to sell again, I'll probably go to Everyday People. Interesting, too, that the price difference was relatively big for six items. I guess I've never noticed Buffalo Exchange being so much more expensive than Everyday People.