Hi all – Kris checking in with another blogisode of “Keeping Up With The Hagopians”. 
I have to share.  It’s been well known for some time that I’m a Goodwill addict worthy of a 12-step program.  However, my Goodwill lust has taken a dangerous turn recently, as I’ve just discovered a little-known Goodwill asset that even I ignored for years.  The Goodwill OUTLET.  Yes, as if the prices at Goodwill weren’t fabulous enough, there is indeed (in some Goodwill locations) a “back room” where all unsold merchandise is reduced yet again.  Clothing is .75, Coats are $2, shoes are $1.50.  Toys, books, furniture, all prices take a huge nosedive from the usual Goodwill prices.  But wait, it gets better…

For years, when I’d frequent Goodwills with a back room, I would merely glance in its direction as I perused the “regular” store.   Completely absent of racks or shelves, the Outlet is actually comprised of huge wooden bins stuffed with piles of clothing of random sizes, colors, shapes & fashions.  From the start, I assumed the Outlet simply a throwaway room filled with items so outdated and unstylish that even the fantastic standard Goodwill prices couldn’t fetch a sale.   

Well, that theory was blown to bits on a recent visit, when – purely by chance – I watched a phenomenally well-dressed woman (think Meryl Streep’s character in “The Devil Wears Prada”) stroll thru the Goodwill main doors in her gorgeous high heels, past all racks, and STRAIGHT into the Outlet.   Wait, was she taking a wrong turn?  Did she know where she was going?  Don’t go there, Meryl, that’s where clothing goes to die!…  Unless, Meryl knew something I didn’t??  Click, click, click went Meryl’s heels, and thud-thud-thud followed my sneakers.   Okay, Meryl is looking in a bin, perhaps I will too. 

As I rifle thru the bins, I find my eyebrows raising into my forehead.  Hey!  This sweater isn’t bad!  Not my size tho, bummer, back it goes.  Hey, nice skirt!  Uh, a size four – yo-kay, MOVING ON!!   Suddenly, I happen upon it.  Like they were waiting for me.  Beautiful (dark chocolate colored) slacks, and I needed a new pair of slacks this color!  Hey, my size!  Hey, it’s Jones New York!  Wha?! With the original tags still on them – they were $120!  And now they’re mine!  For .75!   Another lady shopping nearby catches my jaw-dropped expression and throws me an understanding smirk that silently says “oh look, an outlet newbie finding her first prize…isn’t she adorable?!”  Within an hour, I’ve got my Jones New York slacks, two Talbots sweaters (retail $80 each), and a pair of Anne Klein plush brown 3” pumps (easily $100 retail) that match my new slacks perfectly.  This is so much fun!  Until…
Is that…it couldn’t be…ARMANI!!!!!
Armani slacks.  My fingers shake as I type this.  And yes, my size, in gorgeous midnight blue.  The tag says it plainly, for all to see.  “Made in Italy”.  I’m officially in couture heaven.  These slacks go for $630.  How do I know?  BECAUSE THE ORIGINAL TAGS ARE STILL ATTACHED!!   Retail, all of today’s finds would have cost $910.  Here, it’s less than $5.  Absolutely incredible!   

Briefly ripping myself from my first Goodwill Outlet trance, I look about for Meryl.  Where’d she go?!  She’s gone!  And I never even got the chance to thank her….  

Follow Up Note:  In the two months since I started frequenting the Goodwill Outlets, I’ve shopped there four times, and my wardrobe has taken a spectacular turn.  Some of the more noteworthy items I’ve purchased are listed below, all in outstanding condition (no pulls, rips or stains, and often with original tags attached!)…

Jones New York trousers for .75
4 Talbots sweaters for $3 total
Talbots trousers for .75
Herve Bernard wool pencil skirt for .75
Sag Harbor trousers for .75
Ann Taylor wool pencil skirt for .75
Three pair Original Lee Jeans for $2.25 total
Talbots blazer for .75
Burgundy Satin floor length evening gown for .75 (do I have anywhere to wear it? DO I CARE?)
Last but not least, Armani slacks for .75 (side note, it’s amazing how a pair of $630, well-made slacks really DOES make your backside look smaller)

Original Macintosh wool peacoat for $2
Black leather coat for $2

3 pair Enzo Angiolini pumps for $4.50 total
Sam & Libby pumps for $1.50
Anne Klein pumps for $1.50
Enzo Angiolini boots for 1.50

The two Outlets nearest me are in Morgantown and Lancaster.  If you find your wardrobe is in need of updating, perhaps for an important interview or event, get yourself to one of these spectacular outlets!  And if you happen to see Meryl, give her my best!