Goodwill Hunting Bargain shoppers question local policies after OWH investigation

laurenmayer & carmenmiller

Not all students have $50 to spend on a single shirt. A typical student has to pay for gas, car insurance, Marian spirit shirts and perhaps even part of her own tuition. A new trend lately has shifted to Goodwill hauls: where a group of friends raid Goodwill for good deals. As they say, one girl’s trash is another girl’s treasure. Girls can get a vintage sweatshirt and the money goes toward helping families in need. It’s a win-win for everyone.

In reality, it’s a bit more complicated. Before October, the amount of money Omaha’s Goodwill received seemed to be more beneficial to the executives of the organization than to the employees and their families and community programs, which are the basis of its nonprofit mission.

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Poppin’ tags Female clothing racks from the Goodwill located on 72nd and Ames. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. carmenmiller

In an investigative series of the Omaha World Herald, which began publication on Oct. 23, Goodwill executives were forced to answer some tough questions about their policies and executive compensation.  Five days after the series started, the CEO resigned and Board members were forced to make statements and promise change.  (For full details, visit

At the Goodwill store directly across 72nd Street from Marian, employee Valencie said they were notified immediately of the situation.

“Our managers explained the situation to us, so we heard it from them before we heard it on the news,” she said. “We haven’t seen a drop in shoppers or in donations, most people understand that is an issue with corporate Goodwill, not necessarily the stores.”

In the latest Network Google survey of the student body, 80 percent of students said they have donated to Goodwill in the last year and nearly 55 percent of the student body has purchased something from Goodwill in the last year.

Sophomore Kayla Gornall shopped at Goodwill last month and bought a T-shirt.  “I don’t go on shopping sprees or anything,” Gornall said, “but I think they have really good deals.”

“I don’t feel like I’m giving money to the executives when I shop there.  Goodwill employs people who need jobs. But, I don’t think it is right for the executives to lie to their employees or the community. It’s not fair to anyone involved,” Gornall said.

Others completely agree. “It’s not fair for them to consume the profit and not treat their employees fairly,” freshman  X’Zajanai Stewart said.  She has also done some shopping at Goodwill, but she said these recent events will probably not affect her Goodwill shopping habits.

After the news last month, junior Andie Mikuls admitted that her mom told her not to shop at Goodwill anymore.  “My grandma works in a thrift store in Friend, Nebraska, and all the profit goes to their hospital.  My grandma says we should shop there because it is a great cause,” Mikuls said.

As frequent shoppers, Marian girls prefer to know where their money is going and what good causes they are supporting. This Omaha Goodwill investigation by the Omaha World Herald has affected Marian students and how they see Goodwill and the society in general.

While most girls go to Goodwill for the “good deal”, morals outweigh money. “I think the fact of today is that most people care more about money than they do about other people and making the world a better place, and I think we should try and change that, ” sophomore Zoe Zier said.


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