So, you wanna be a Goodwill hunter? There are a great many treasures to be had a Goodwill stores across the country, though it can be a challenge finding them. Every store is different, and that means the prices and locations of stock vary wildly from one to the next.
Here are a few tips for making the most of your trip based on my own shopping experiences.
1) The Case
As soon as you walk into most Goodwill stores, you'll find a glass case filled with what they consider to be their high value merchandise. In some cases, that's where you'll find the games, and oftentimes the systems as well. You'll probably need to have an employee take them out in order to find out what they are.
2) Behind the CaseIn many stores, boxed systems and accessories will be kept behind the counter in order to avoid theft. If there's a stack of boxes, ask if you can look through them. You never know what's in there.
I've also seen baskets filled with cartridges hiding in this area, too. Have a look around before you move on.
3) The Bookshelves
The bookshelves occasionally house boxed games and cartridges. It's worth a quick scan.
4) The CD Section
This section can take a while to browse, but is occasionally worth it. Some stores split games and software CDs into their own section, but many do not. Even in the ones that do, things will be missed. Always browse through all of the music CDs, because you'll almost definitely find a Playstation, Dreamcast or PC game hiding in there.
5) The Electronics Section
This is the most obvious place to look, and tends to be your best bet in any store. Sometimes, they'll stack the cartridges here, but you'll almost always find accessories here - controllers and AC adapters and the like. Unless something is taped to a system, the employees won't match them up and will usually price them separately.
Another thing to keep in mind while browsing this section is that not every consumer electronics device is as it seems. Inside that stack of CD changers may be a Laserdisc player, which could even be a LaserActive. That bunch of DVD players may hide a Nuon-capable DVD or a CD-i. Always scan this section for things out of the ordinary.
6) The Aisle Next To The Toy Aisle
Okay, this one might sound a bit odd, but hear me out. In my local store, this aisle is the sporting goods section, and I've come across a number of controllers and light guns. My theory is that kids pick them up and play with them while their parents browse the other sections, then drop them in the nearest aisle in a mad dash for the toy section. I've seen this in multiple stores, so it isn't an isolated incident.
7) Tag Sales
Most Goodwill stores have tag sales, in which a price tag of a specific color is half off for the week. These change every Sunday. If you've found something you want with a price that's just too high, come back on Sunday and it may be half off, provided it hasn't sold in the meantime.
Keeping these things in mind will help foster a more efficient and lucrative shopping experience. Got any tips of your own? Leave them in the comments section!