Katherine Huggins, Mirada Staff

Although “thrifting” has become increasingly popular, there still remains some stereotypes about the quality of clothing and service at thrift stores. This negative connotation may in part be caused by the format and environment at Goodwill, the largest retail thrift store chain in the United States.

On one hand, the generalization is justified.

Goodwill stores, for the most part, all have the same bland layout and dingy scent.

However, depending on the location you may be able to snag some sweet finds for cheap.

Such is the case at the Goodwill on Alta Arden, as its small warehouse size allows room for racks on racks of clothing. With the huge selection, it is nearly impossible to not find something.

However, this Goodwill should not be your top destination if you’re looking for one item in particular. While the Alta Arden store is more organized than most others, it is never guaranteed that what you need will be there.

Personally, I found Goodwill to be inferior to other thrift stores that I have visited for a few reasons.

First, I felt like many of the clothes were more well-worn than at other stores, meaning that the quality of donations is generally less pristine.

Secondly, the prices were cheap but not in comparison to other local thrift stores. This is a drawback likely due to the corporate nature of Goodwill.

Lastly, the environment and ambiance within the building is not very welcoming. It feels like an office building with plain white walls, bright lights and basic changing stalls.

Conversely, the Alta Arden store offers a massive selection of clothes at reasonable prices. If you have enough time to browse and don’t mind the dullness of the store, you could easily leave with a fashion masterpiece.

Although the store is large and can feel rather daunting when you first enter, items are neatly organized according to style, size and color.

The fitting rooms are plain and simple with no mirrors and just a couple of hooks to hang your clothes on.

If you are interested in shopping at Goodwill, I highly recommend that you consider visiting the store on Alta Arden, near the mall.

Compared to the other Goodwills in the area, this one was the largest and thus had the biggest assortment of clothes. There were definitely more options, and I found myself liking more items than I had initially expected.

Interestingly, I found a St. Francis Lacrosse shirt there (pictured on the side), so I think that is fairly telling of some of the kinds of clothes you can find. There was an abundance of preppy, brand-name clothes here which could be either an advantage or a drawback dependant on your personal fashion choices.

But even with the different Sacramento high school garb on the racks, the store felt very impersonal and non-local.

It feels like you are inside of a national chain, no-nonsense business… which you are. If you’re looking for a fun, unique place to go thrifting with friends, Goodwill is likely not the right choice. There are smaller, more fun stores scattered throughout the city that will offer a more pleasant and memorable experience.