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Dell/Goodwill Reconnect - Scourge of Vintage Collecting

phreakindee

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
144
Location
Western North Carolina
I'm pretty angry at Goodwill right about now. I usually stop by there on my way home from work, because they're usually quite fair. I've noticed in the past few months that they've had less and less "good" stuff on offer. I mostly look for retro computer stuff.

I found a great little computer there today, but it had no price. It was from the late 80's, 5.25" floppy drives, possibly a 386, the whole deal and it looked new. I took it up front to ask how much it was and the lady said she had to take it to the manager. The dude finally comes back and says he won't sell me the machine. It should have never left the back room.

After going back and forth not getting any straight answers, he finally said that it's going to be sent to be DESTROYED at Dell. Freaking DELL. It's called Dell/Goodwill Reconnect (reconnectpartnership.com), and it's a recycling program. He said anything looking older than 5 years gets sent to them and then "taken care of", whether it means parting out and selling the parts, destroying (melting down) the metals, landfilling the non-toxic bits, etc. Wow.

Why not let people have a chance on these things, THEN if they don't sell, recycle them?

Instead, they get more cash from Dell, Dell gets some "good press" (and a little something on the side?), and Goodwill gets to selling Dell refurbed newer P4-era computers for $125 for just a tower. Apparently they also just throw away all floppy disks and many hard drives, due to... who knows what, in the name of "privacy" perhaps. Yet I still find them randomly, I guess when they "slip through" like the computer today. I should have just placed or wrote a price on it and been done with it. Punks.

I know it's better than shipping piles of technocrap to Africa or Hong Kong, but seriously. A lot of these things are still in working order, and in my area I know there are other collectors besides me who will give them a loving home. I know this kind of thing has been going on since the 80's, but the fact that so many vintage machines are dying a cruel death when they still work just fine is just a crime.

There have been so many times I've seen a TON of peripherals, empty disk containers and boxed software for a single machine (TRS-80s, Macintosh/Lisa, Apple II, IBM PC, etc) but no computer in sight. I wondered why.

Now I know the truth.
 

channelmaniac

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Messages
741
Location
Dallas, TX Metromess
Wow.

I just stopped by a couple of Goodwill computer stores yesterday and picked up some goodies.

Austin: 2 Atari 1040ST computers (system only), 1541 floppy drive, and a double handfull of TI, Atari 2600, and Intellivision carts.

Waco: 2 Xbox360 systems, 2 hard drives, 2 power supplies, and 2 A/V cables.

Was a good outing!
 

phreakindee

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
144
Location
Western North Carolina
That's awesome! And that's surprising you'd find anything around there, the guy was telling me that the service actually started in Austin and has since spread to most Goodwills. I'm glad someone's having some better experiences.

EDIT: Just noticed you said "Computer stores". I forgot they had those there, that's pretty sweet.

I'm just saddened, really. I've always had such a positive experience with Goodwill. But hearing that working vintage machines are destroyed? Agh.
 

barythrin

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2005
Messages
6,256
Location
Texas
Yup, that blows. It's not that bad here that I know of but I think once and a while it goes that way judging by the lack of useful systems for sale. This gets discussed often but pretty much the only thing to do is try and schmooze with the recyclers. Find out where the systems go, and see if they'd be willing to let you salvage or buy older systems for historical sake instead of scrap them. In a perfect world they'd be happy to let you partake in the fun although realistically all they care about is $ so if you can offer more than their scrap sale they shouldn't have a problem with it.

edit: lol! I was wondering who picked up the Atari's but didn't think it'd be someone here! I almost thought about posting about them being there a week ago but figured noone cared. So yeah I was there today and 1. noticed the Atari's were gone, 2. found a Twin-ax cable so picked that up, 3. saw OS/2 v2.1 for Windows which was interesting but they wanted $20 which is more than I really care to pay for it.
 

k2x4b524[

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
1,519
Location
Tacoma, Washington, USA. Zip code 98404
i don't know, here in seattle, ALL the goodwills don't bother with anything unless its a keyboard or speaker setup, maybe the odd ball zip drive and monitor. Up here they use Total Reclaim, went to them, and they actually get VERY little from goodwill, so it seems that good will just either, like you said, send it to dell, or the guy at total reclaim was lyin through his teeth to me. But either way, GW sucks for vintage equipment. Try a little known recycler and repair shop, i have one of those called PC-Recycle, every now and then the owner puts something aside for me. Also, if you have them, St. Vincent DE Paul stores have more selection, apparently they keep all their computer stuff in the back, you have to ask, but up here, they DO have it..
 

Dave Farquhar

Experienced Member
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
456
Location
the midwest
I don't know if I've been able to find computer stuff at Goodwill at all in Missouri or Illinois in the last four years or so. I've gotten pretty disillusioned with the local Goodwill. Most of their good stuff--or what they think is good--ends up being sold online, and never goes into the store at all, because they think they can get more for it that way. And they don't treat their employees well either. Here's a nice story that happened in Iowa: http://consumerist.com/2010/07/good...-violated-policy-by-buying-him-a-3-shirt.html

The stores are regional, and the regions have a good degree of autonomy, but if one region starts doing something, usually the others will follow.

So I don't shop there very often anymore, and I certainly don't donate anything to them.

If you have luck getting things at Goodwill, by all means keep going and ride the gravy train as long as it lasts. But don't let them think you're saving humanity by shopping there or anything, because you aren't.

I agree, St. Vincent de Paul is much better, both as far as finding good stuff, and as an all-around organization too. Same goes for Salvation Army. And if any of your local nonprofits (shelters, senior organizations, etc.) run shops, those are a better bet too.
 

Tupin

Experienced Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2009
Messages
436
Location
St. Louis, MO
Haven't found a single computer in any Goodwill I've ever been to. Come to think of it, I never find much at Goodwill, but the ones around here seem to vary. Occasionally I find a game, but my best find was a LaserDisc player.

You really have to know when each store puts their new stuff out, the best stuff I've gotten was the stuff that was just tagged.

I have a St. Vincent De Paul around here, as well as another local thrift shop. St. Vincent De Paul usually does not have much, but they don't overcharge at all. Maybe I should ask if they have computers in the back...
 

Unknown_K

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2003
Messages
8,526
Location
Ohio/USA
All I ever found were joysticks, old software, monitors, and keyboards. Never seen a real computer around here at Goodwill (NE Ohio). I rarely hit Goodwills lately, and only to see if they have any old DOS era games.

Companies still seem to use recyclers if they can come pick the items up, so some older systems will end up at the local reycler and maybe ebay. I can't see collectors allowing their stuff to go to goodwill if they know it will be recycled.

Sooner or later machines will be worth more for metals then what the locals are willing to pay for not yet old enough to be collectable but too old to be used machines. I don't think a PC/XT/286/386/486/P1 will ever be rare even with the push for recycling (too many in collectors hands), but you have to wonder how many P2 and after systems are going straight from a home or company and turned directly into razor blades making them rare down the road (even with the quantity made).
 

Maverick1978

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Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
1,966
Location
Florida, USA
The Goodwills here are usually pretty good about putting out the peripherals - keyboard, mice, zip drives, cd drives, etc... but I haven't seen a system in awhile. Wonder if this is why? Sucks.. I'd figure that a 7-day rule would be a more appropriate way.. let them on the sales floor for 7 days, and if they don't sell, then put them back for the scrappers.

Sigh... guess my chances of ever lucking into that C128D I've wanted for a decade (without having to pay $100+ for it) isn't gonna happen... let alone my hopes for a 5154 EGA.
 

Dave Farquhar

Experienced Member
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
456
Location
the midwest
I'd figure that a 7-day rule would be a more appropriate way.. let them on the sales floor for 7 days, and if they don't sell, then put them back for the scrappers.

That would make a whole lot more sense. But if a manager had any sense, he or she would be working someplace other than Goodwill. I don't want to sound elitist, but since the Goodwill employees and managers really look down on their customers these days (in Missouri at least), it's hard not to get an attitude.

There are three types of people who shop at Goodwill: people who are down on their luck and can't afford to shop anywhere else, people who are looking for bargains, and people who are looking for old stuff you can't find anywhere else. Type #1 deserves help and sympathy, not your elitism. A mere six months of unemployment can put almost anyone on the street, whether they're a retail worker or a lawyer. Types 2 and 3 are only there by choice, and if you get an attitude with them, they'll just go somewhere else. People can put up with some attitude if they're still finding stuff, but if there's nothing worth finding, they won't.

As for the good vintage stuff... I've only thrifted in Florida once, and the last time I was in Florida I was afraid to (since I was flying back), but keep searching, especially the other venues. Your chances at Goodwill may be slim to none, but stuff has a funny way of turning up at other thrifts and other crazy venues (church rummage sales come to mind).
 

phreakindee

Experienced Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
144
Location
Western North Carolina
I guess when I think of these machines being "taken care of", I think of something like this asshat:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhxxgp5dEzk

Hopefully they're given more respect than that, but you know. It's saddening to think of the wasted machines, but it's been good to read that at least a couple areas seem to have some computers that are saved rather than simply "recycled". Guess I'll be hitting up the ol' Craigslist, word-of-mouth and such.
 

Maverick1978

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Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
1,966
Location
Florida, USA
Guess I'll be hitting up the ol' Craigslist, word-of-mouth and such.

FWIW, I've found both my IBM AT and the NOS PC Jr on Craigslist. With that said, I've been browsing the Central Florida Craigslists for nearly 2 years and only hit those in the last 6 months :)

Dave Farquhar said:
but stuff has a funny way of turning up at other thrifts and other crazy venues (church rummage sales come to mind)

Funny you should mention that. My cousin drives a non-emergency medical transport for a living. Between jobs, he often yard sales. At a single church rummage sale, he found two copies of SNES Earthbound (one sealed NIB), a sealed/NIB copy of SNES Super Mario Legend of the Seven Stars, a sealed copy of SNES Super Mario Kart, and boxed complete copies of SNES Super Adventure Island, Zelda: Link to the Past, and that first SNES Kirby game that I can never remember the name of. Not to mention 3 rare PS1 Japanese RGPS. He paid $13 USD for all of it. He sold them on eBay for ~$1400 USD.

And this was within 3 months of his toy find of the century - every single GI Joe 1980's toy complete with instructions, flag points, and stickers, including every mail order piece, and every action figure (and several multiples of the money ones). That was $40 USD, sold for ~$1600 USD on ebay. Lucky bastard :) - but it WAS fun spending the Saturday until well into the wee hours of the morning sorting everything and putting them all together :)
 

Dave Farquhar

Experienced Member
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
456
Location
the midwest
My cousin drives a non-emergency medical transport for a living. Between jobs, he often yard sales. At a single church rummage sale, he found two copies of SNES Earthbound (one sealed NIB), a sealed/NIB copy of SNES Super Mario Legend of the Seven Stars, a sealed copy of SNES Super Mario Kart, and boxed complete copies of SNES Super Adventure Island, Zelda: Link to the Past, and that first SNES Kirby game that I can never remember the name of. Not to mention 3 rare PS1 Japanese RGPS. He paid $13 USD for all of it. He sold them on eBay for ~$1400 USD.

And this was within 3 months of his toy find of the century

I went to three rummage sales, an estate sale, and about a dozen yard sales this weekend. On a really packed day, I'll go to more like 20 sales total. I think the heat scared some people off today, though it turned out not to be bad. I probably hit 500-700 sales per year. The key is to have several things you look for, because you'll have droughts. People ask me all the time how I manage to persist, going to that many, and not get frustrated. I look for half dozen different things, so I always find something. Rarely anything quite like what you described of course. But enough to keep it fun.
 

Maverick1978

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Mar 29, 2010
Messages
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Florida, USA
I tend to stop in the local Goodwills whenever I'm in town. There are other junk stores that I'll frequent as well. I figure that you only find stuff if you go frequently, and much of my collections have came from second-hand stores and yard sales, though you can also find some GREAT deals on eBay - if you're patient and willing to wait sometimes months (or years) to get the item you want at the price that you want to pay.
 

Tiberian Fiend

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Joined
Mar 1, 2009
Messages
563
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Central Florida
The part of Florida I live in wasn't what you would call "affluent" or "well-educated" in the 80s, so this place is a vintage computer desert. The closest thing I've found to "vintage equipment" at the local Goodwill was a 5¼" floppy case. I've snapped up a couple of early-90s laptops on the local CL, but the absolute oldest I usually see are P3 era. I had to go all the way to Orlando for the SX-64.
 

linuxlove

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Jan 11, 2009
Messages
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Location
Auburn, AL
The part of Florida I live in wasn't what you would call "affluent" or "well-educated" in the 80s, so this place is a vintage computer desert. The closest thing I've found to "vintage equipment" at the local Goodwill was a 5¼" floppy case. I've snapped up a couple of early-90s laptops on the local CL, but the absolute oldest I usually see are P3 era.
That's about how much vintage computer equipment gets sold/thrown out here.
 

Ken Vaughn

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
138
Location
Colorado, USA
I make the rounds of local thrift stores (Goodwill, ARC, DAV, Salvation Army, etc) once a month. I always go on Tuesdays -- the ARC stores (Denver area chain) give a 50% discount to seniors on Tuesdays. I look for unusual cables and they are common -- $1 to $2. Last week I found a Compaq Presario 1200 laptop (Win98SE) with missing keys, missing covers on battery, memory expansion, floppy, etc. It was marked for parts only -- $5, and I picked it up for $2.50. It is identical to my original Compaq Presario 1200 and I was curious if the battery would take and hold a charge. It did so now I have a spare battery for mine.

I figured the laptop would never boot, but when I tried it (and bypassed the time/date failure notification) I was surprised to find that everything works -- display is good, main system board passes all tests, floppy and CD drive work fine. So now I have a backup for my old laptop system board and peripherals.

In the past 2 months I have found:
-- execellent 17" LCD multisync monitor -- $25
-- small notebook/laptop optical mouse (USB) -- $3
-- Wacom Graphire CTE 440 tablet with pen in perfect condition (USB) -- works great -- $4
-- several cables including a good 1394 (firewire) cable for $1
-- USB powered cooling pad for notebook -- $2

I find desktops and laptops from time to time, but unless they are really unusual or old I pass on them.

I collect antique woodworking tools and I have an extensive collection. I have never found anything in a thrift store worth taking home, but last week I found an extremely rare L.L.Davis jointer (23") plane -- patented in 1875. I gave $20 for it and the plane would sell at auction for $1000 to $1500.
 
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ppo

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Messages
115
Lately I've been noticing here that more and more stores have containers for old electronics and the number of recycling centers is growing.

It looks good in the public opinion, it's good for the environment and it gives a lot of money, what more could you want?

BTW, is there an european equivalent to Goodwill?

I haven't seen a single ad this year of an old computer that is not a 286, 386 or 486.

Where should I look for computers without going to Ebay, is Cash Converters a good source?
 

antiquekid3

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Nov 10, 2009
Messages
516
Location
Alabama
I don't know if there are European equivalent thrift stores, but I was just at a Swiss "flohmarkt" (flea market), which turned over a few cool finds. Mostly LPs (The Beatles "Rubber Soul," a Deep Purple album, and plenty of accordion music!), but I did find a cool 1910 German dictionary and a Canon AE-1. Unfortunately, I didn't see anything computer-related, except a few GameBoy games. Oh, well...

If your local newspapers have something like "Good Neighbors" where you write in for stuff you are interested in, it's definitely worth a shot. I had a chance at several vintage computers, including an original Compaq portable. Unfortunately it was a bit too far, but it was for a good price. There must be a lot of people who forget what they have until they are reminded by such things like a wanted ad in the newspaper.

Kyle
 
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