The Gatekeepers of the Bins.

Emily Ferguson
2 min readMar 4, 2021


Goodwill Bins

The Goodwill bins that is… Thrift flippers have been around for forever, but recently it seems to have gotten out of hand. Sure, I go to the Goodwill bins about twice a month, sure I have sold a couple of things I have bought there for dirt cheap at a significant mark-up (only after I’ve worn the item for some time), but when does this become too much?

When you become a regular at any thrift store, you notice the other regulars. There are many reasons for shopping at a thrift store and that might be you cannot afford to shop elsewhere, you do not want to support fast-fashion, or you are becoming a gatekeeper of “vintage” fashion. This is not a call-out to any person, but when vintage clothing shops are popping up everywhere, you begin to question if they are ethical or not.

Many times, I have gone to the “bins” and if you are lucky, you will find a gem. The gem I am talking about here is workwear (Carhartt in particular). Workwear has become a mainstream fashion trend and if the item is vintage, it gets glorified. I had a conversation with a man at the bins a couple of weeks ago and he had a laborer job and expressed his frustration with the flippers because he comes to the bins to purchase affordable workwear. When someone goes through a pair of pants every month, sometimes they cannot afford to go buy another $100 pair of pants. if you walk into any vintage clothing store, you will see an entire section in EVERY SINGLE one dedicated to workwear. When they start to charge more for the worn-out item than the new one, you begin to question the ethics.

Obviously, there is more than enough clothing in thrift stores to go around, and fast fashion is a major cause to pollution (the second biggest in the world) but save some essential items for the people who need it. I guess what I am saying is: if you have four pairs of size 36 Carhartt pants in your cart, and you do not wear that size, put a pair back for a laborer that cannot afford to buy elsewhere. We can all do our part to reduce the calls of fast fashion but do it in an ethical way. What do you think? How do we allow the people that really need thrifting to get the items they need?