Monday, February 28, 2011

Once Upon a Child

Whenever I take outgrown kids' clothes into Once Upon a Child, two things happen: I earn a little (accentuate "little") cash and always leave feeling slightly ripped off. I like that you can get your money on the spot (the other consignment store in our town pays more but takes months to get back with you), but you pay for that convenience.

From reading comments in various forums and other reviews about Once Upon a Child, I am not alone in feeling this way. Our store is fairly new. When it first opened, the employees used to tell you, if you asked, how much they were giving you for each item. They no longer do this; rather, they give you the quote of how much they can give you for all items they accept. You can either accept it or reject it. But here's what I learned back then, and it seems true still today: they will sell the item for half its estimated retail price. They pay you a-third of that cost. So if a shirt retailed at $5, they will sell it for $2.50 and pay you 30% of that (a little more than .75 cents). It seemed for me that the basic breakdown was 60-cents for shirts (less for short sleeve) and 90-cents for pants (more if they are brand name, like Gap, OshKosh, Old Navy, etc).

To share a recent experience--a couple of days ago, I took in a box that contained several items, including a Tonka Rumblin truck that my son received as a gift but never played with. The items the store bought from me included a nice sweater vest, at least three long sleeve shirts (one Ralph Lauren), two sets of pajamas, a Bob the Builder fleece, a sweatshirt, a brand new Arizona zip-up hooded sweatshirt, and a pair of jean shorts. The total of what they offered? $13.75. I took it, because it was better than nothing. But when I got home, and realized just exactly how many items were in the box (and what they were), plus the brand new toy, and what they paid me for them, I just felt kind of ripped off.

Another common complaint you'll find online against Once Upon a Child is that the store will reject some items, saying they are stained or too worn. Yet, you can't find a stain on them, and they don't appear too worn. Nonetheless, when you shop the racks, you will find many stained and too worn clothes for sale. It doesn't make sense. Plus, once I asked the manager if she would take a small discount on a pair of Gap pants I was looking at for my son. They had obvious pink marker stains on the knee, but I was willing to try to see if I could get them out. The stained pants were marked $6.50. She wouldn't discount a penny. She said they were "Gap," and "someone will buy them." I didn't buy them. Later, an employee told me those should have never been on the floor.
So what is the conclusion of the matter?
  • Choose your kids' clothing carefully and wear it out. At least you'll get your money's worth.
  • Don't expect to make much money from your good-quality used clothing (unless you take the time to sell it online)
  • If you know someone who can use your extra kid clothes, you'll probably feel better passing them on. Someone could not buy for $13.75 what was in the box I took in to Once Upon a Child. You could also donate them and take a tax deduction, if you itemize.
  • If you still decide to sell them, realize you may not get much at all for them. If you are ok with that, then remember your decision was to earn a little cash, even if it's not as much as you would have preferred.  
Do you have any experiences with Once Upon a Child, or other resale shops? What do you do with your used kids' clothes?

12 comments:

  1. I have had similar experiences with our local Once Upon A Child. It's frustrating to bring in practically new clothing that is rejected only to find very worn or older style clothing on the racks. I've found a few good purchases there, but when it comes to selling my clothes - I pocket the tiny bit of money and try not to think about it!

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  2. Well I have had good luck finding my kid's clothes at yard sales. Usually brand names for under a dollar. After my kids have worn them for the season, I take them into our local kid's consignment shop and usually end up "making money" after the 50/50 split she offers after they sell. I did the math once and items usually sell for around $3 or $4/item. If you find things at yard sales for a quarter it really helps:)

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  3. I just give our kids clothes away to a charity shop. They take the money they earn (it is mostly run by volunteers) and split it up between various groups like Big Brothers and Big Sisters or the Sexual Assault Centre (and many others). So I am getting rid of the clutter that I won't use and something good is coming out of it. If things are too stained or worn, they take them anyways and sell them by the pound for rags to businesses. And they make quilts etc. out of excess fabric that is donated. Makes one feel good to know it is a worthy cause!

    I live in a small Canadian town in Saskatchewan and we don't have Once Upon A Child stores nearby.

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  4. I'm glad not everybody feels this way because I love shopping at OUAC. But ~ I totally agree. It's not worth the effort going thru the kids' clothes, trying to make sure they're 'perfect' so I can sell them. I just take them to the City Mission instead.

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  5. I gave up on OUAC a long time ago, mostly because of the attitude of the staff there, who acted like they were doing customers a favor by ringing up orders.

    I don't sweat what I get for clothes, have learned to just donate good toys to holiday drives and try not to lose sleep over it!

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  6. AnonymousJune 13, 2013

    It's always less than you think you will get but I still think you get more than trying to sell it at a garage sale. We are still thinking of having another kid so I keep the really good stuff in a tub, take the rest to OUAC and anything they don't take goes to Goodwill. I really don't get too discouraged by kids clothes, I was more offended when a store like Platos or Clothes Mentor didn't want MY clothes. :)

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  7. AnonymousJune 22, 2013

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Preloved-Columbus/152525448255745

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  8. Why not try to sell your kids outgrown clothes online. Preluved has this newest clothing mobile app. All you have to do is take a picture of the clothes you want to sell and post it in Preluved, once sold, you can then use that money to buy the next size up for your kids.

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  9. I just went to one in jax fl on Atlantic blvd. Just wanted to see what all the fuss was about... I browsed around the store a bit, nothing so different about pricing than any other thrift, just initally seemed that way because it's ALL CHILDREN'S things condensed. However, as I was leaving I saw a few people come in and the cashier or who ever she was , receiving the items from the customers answered to them soooo rude!.. I was very unpleasantly surprised at the disposition of not only her but the floor staff person, who was an older woman. I thought, perhaps, they she be more friendly because they are a CHILDS store?"... I mean they seemed very bitter, irritable with customers.. At least 5 .. 2 buying 3 selling... Iade my way out the door . I will not shop here for anything, have had it with any rude Companies that don't appreciate the food the CuSTomers put on Their tables!

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  10. I feel the same way ouac rips us to plus the older lady that works in our store is rude to everyone needlessly to say I will never buy from them again

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