As president of Goodwill Industries of Western New York, I found The News article on eBay entrepreneurs distressing. While it's good that people are making money, the article exposed some side effects of the eBay craze that are worth addressing.
eBay sellers sometimes buy items from thrift stores and auction them at a higher price. One seller stated that items with high potential value are more difficult to find at thrifts. Unfortunately, we find that true, too. Our inventory of donated goods is lower than normal, and the quality of the items has declined. This trend affects not-for-profit thrifts across the country.
Many believe that the growing popularity of eBay is the problem. It also stems from an emerging "Antiques Road Show" mentality. People seem to be hanging on to things, hoping that they will gain value.
We assist people in need to achieve meaningful employment and personal independence. We also provide those people access to good used items at a low price. Without merchandise, we can't help individuals, and the community as a whole suffers.
By donating their goods to Goodwill, people help us improve lives, create spending power and reduce welfare costs. Donors may qualify for a tax deduction. When people donate to Goodwill, they put people to work. They are part of the solution to Western New York's problems.
Florence M. Conti