It’s all for charity at the annual Goodwill Glitter Sale.
A few years ago my sister-in-law invited me to the Goodwill Glitter Sale in Seattle. There were a few things I needed to know before committing, however. Namely, there would be no public fitting rooms and would I be comfortable shopping with a bunch of strangers in my undergarments? I had been in more bizarre situations than this in my 40+ years and readily agreed to go. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, was “only going along for the ride and definitely would not be trying anything on.” We were just happy to have her join us.
We met at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday in early November. After sufficiently caffeinating ourselves, the caravan of three pulled out of Bellingham en route for the main Goodwill location on Dearborn Street. An hour and a half later and a few passes around the block to find parking, we had arrived. There was still a line to get in but we didn’t mind. Everyone seemed to be in such an upbeat mood – offer women (and professional female impersonators) a bargain and the frame of mind can be down-right festive.
My excitement grew as we approached the front of the line. But nothing could have prepared me for what I saw: Thousands of square feet of glitzy gowns, formal wear for men and women, furs, leather, jewelry (take a number to have your name called), vintage clothing and – did I mention? – shoes!! Rows and rows and racks upon racks of extravagance punctuated with half-dressed people darting willy-nilly, here and there. It didn’t take but a second to realize a shopper has got to be tough for this kind of hunting. If your idea of shopping is a nice color-coded round of perfect size 10s, this is not for you.
We quickly set up a home base for our group with Grammy (remember the mother-in-law who wasn’t trying anything on) standing century over our collected treasures. It was all a bit unnerving at first. However, my trace amount of modesty quickly disappeared upon realizing no one really cared that I was scampering around in spandex shorts, a jog bra and a small muffin top growing around the middle. Apparently, our little den mother got caught up in all the excitement as well. The next time I returned to base there she was in nothing but a T-shirt and granny panties – trying on clothes of all things!
In the midst of the controlled chaos on the shopping floor, a well-managed and hugely profitable fundraiser continues year after year. All proceeds from the two-day event goes to the Goodwill Job Training and Education Program. The Glitter Sale of 2011 (its 28th year) brought in a record $186,217. Goodwill’s motto is “Jobs Change Lives” and I, for one, will continue to support this worthy cause for years to come. Thank you, Goodwill, for all you do.
Dearborn Street Store – 1400 S. Lane St.