Brokes Populi: Is $5 too much to pay for a thrift-store DVD?

Sure they’re $5 a pop, but where ELSE are you going to get the Lohan box set?

A reader pointed us to what he thinks is a bit of gouging in the thrift store world. The Salvation Army on Atlantic Avenue is selling DVDs for $5 a pop — more expensive than the typical $3 DVD prices at Housing Works and Goodwill, which the reader (who asked to be identified by the initials B.I.C.) is used to paying. He went so far as to email Salvation Army’s corporate HQ  to ask that they review prices “to see if they are consistent with the general market prices and demand.” But here’s the thing: Those thrift store sales go to help raise money for the Salvation Army’s adult rehab centers and other things. So should we share B.I.C.’s concerns about market inequality or just suck it up and pay the thing?

B.I.C. says  he’s a frequent thrift store DVD shopper, looking for non-scratched DVDs with cover art. He’s found that CDs and DVDs are in abundance these days since people in the city have limited storage space and often rip their discs onto a hard drive.

“The days of having DVDs as a ‘trophy’ on, your bookcase are over don’t you think?” he wrote in an email.

We are all adamant Salvation Army shoppers, and have never gone so far as to haggle over a price. Yet B.I.C.’s point is that charity or not, there are market standards for products.

So what say you: price gouging shenanigans or innocent charitable fundraising?


  1. based anon

    It’s a free market economy. Things like “market inequality” work themselves out. Salvation Army will continue to sell DVDs at that price until they stop selling. I really don’t see the problem here…

  2. jobeans

    Eh I kind of agree with B.I.C., you can often get a new DVD off amazon for a fiver, so it doesn’t seem like a competitive price. But then, I don’t really buy DVDs anymore, so this doesn’t affect me.

  3. Tim Donnelly

    I guess the trend will be similar to what’s happened with VHS, cassettes and CDs: the physical objects will be so devalued that they’ll basically be meaningless. Future generations will probably think it’s funny that we ever had physical versions of movies and albums.

    • conaldarcy

      Especially after nuclear war destroys our hard drives and the survivors are forced to tell stories around the campfires, yearning for a copy of “Clueless” on Blu-Ray.

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