As an avid thrifter, I’ve always dreamed of working at a place where I could be the absolute first person to see the new donations come in. It’s easy to imagine all the goodies you can score just by knowing the worth of certain items. What’s harder to imagine is all the nasty stuff people think it’s ok to donate, as the replies in this recent viral AskReddit thread by u/fran-farmers-revenge show.
“People who have worked at Goodwill or other thrift stores etc. and processed donations,” they asked, “what’s the craziest thing you’ve found?”
Roughly half of the replies were “crazy” in the “awesome” sense of the word: old love letters, thousands of dollars in cash, a brand new XBox with games, a surviving Enigma machine (!!!), the other half were “crazy” in the literal sense of the word. Like, upsetting.
Like a 10-pound back of spaghetti, for instance. Or a live grenade. Or a designer backpack full of puke. Here are 23 of the craziest things thrift store employees have found while processing donations:
Great big plastic shopping bag full of cooked spaghetti. No sauce. Probably like 5kg or so.—u/ilikepie59
Co-worker found a live hand grenade. Bomb squad was called. Be careful when you donate grandpa’s sh*t, people.—u/Arandmoor
Gnarliest thing I had seen was a literal stack of mattresses left overnight during off-hours. They were disgusting, crawling with bugs, and riddled in stains of various shades and hues.—u/Blurple_Berry
A dead bat, a switchblade, a pocket watch painted with radium, and an 18th-century wolf trap.—u/Senscore
A full uniform from one of the maximum-security prisons nearby complete with id cards, swipecards, and cuffs. People have no judgement.—u/throwthisawayys
A mattress that someone had either given birth on or something horrible had happened to them (a weekend dump job; eeeewwww – we called the cops JIC).—u/MomofanAvenger
My SO used to work at a Goodwill and she said that people would donate used lingerie all the time.—u/RhinoDuckable
A sword used by a Japanese officer in WWII. A suitcase full of adult toys. A coin collection worth nearly $2000 accidentally left in a cupboard that was donated.—u/Davosown
Not me, but a friend’s mom found a designer handbag full of vomit and a backpack full of sh*t—u/snacksjpg
My coworker found a bag of euros at goodwill. He bought the bag for like 90 dollars and it was worth over 600.—u/dustnbrewks
A few years ago, when there was an earthquake in México city, many people were donating old clothes and stuff for people who were now homeless. I found a pair of pants that were as tall as me, and each leg could fit me inside of it.—u/sarcastic_b*tch01
We found things like a bowl and bag of weed in a coat pocket, a shirt that said “I’m not an alcoholic I just go to AA to get chicks” (somehow that one sustained a tear and had to be trashed), and, worst of all, a garbage bag full of dead rats.—u/conkface
So, I worked for a charity, we picked up old clothes etc and sold them in bulk to a thrift chain. When we unloaded the truck, it was common to toss the store employees the bags, and they would catch them before stacking them on racks.
Well, one time some idiot put a big chef’s knife in a bag of clothes, the store employee caught the garbage bag of clothes, wrapped his arms around it as he caught it, and proceeded to stab himself in the arm.
After that, the policies were changed, we had to put the bags at the edge of the truck for them to take off, because our insurance didn’t cover us off the truck, and theirs didn’t cover them in it.—u/FreedTMG
I found $125 dollars in the front pocket of a kids coat! Had to be like a 3-4 y.o. Next day I found more money in another jacket!—u/lothelight
About 10 years ago I worked at a chain thrift store, one morning we got a phone call from this gentleman saying, rather calmly, “I think I accidentally donated my mom.” Turns out the guy donated his mom’s ashes so he left his number in case we found it.—u/whiskeyhalfpint
Love letters between two people from the late 1800s, multiple suicide letters and one suicide tape, and many diaries. One diary specifically was written by a gay man going to med school in the 70s in San Fran. It spans 10 years and has a first-person account of his feelings the day Harvey Milk was assassinated.—u/kittygocrappy
Not me but my aunt. One of the few surviving Enigma machines. The owner passed away and his family dropped it off with a box of newspapers and some memorabilia from the war etc. My aunt being a history nut, figured out what it was, got it appraised (worth almost £100k) and looked for the family for 5 months before being able to return it to them. She didn’t have a heart to take it under false pretences.—u/siogin55
Not me but an acquaintance from high school found a live hamster, came with a little cage and all.—u/kikilovesjiji
An open box of female condoms, two missing, one opened.—u/MomofanAvenger
I was examining an old manual typewriter someone donated. It had a vinyl carrying case with a zipper pocket on the inside. I opened it and found a manual, the original receipt, and an envelope of Polaroid pictures. The pictures were of several women in lingerie or semi-nude. All looked like they were in their 60s-70s. At the bottom of the Polaroid was a name and date, covering about a 10-year span. One of the nicer things I came across working that job, better than dealing with the dirty underwear we got on the regular.—u/734YTR667W354
Xbox 360 when they were new, with games. Guy said his son got in a lot of trouble so he just gave it away.
A briefcase of like 30 fake plastic model flip phones. Like you would see in a Verizon store back in the day.
Used syringe in a fake Coach bag. This is just from a 40-hour stint.—u/rafferty85
I was working off some probation at the Salvation Army. Going through the boxes i found $1000 in the pocket of some plaid pants. Found out they were dropped off from a girl who’s dad had died. Tried to contact her again but to no avail. I got to keep it and it helped pay my rent for the month. I was really struggling at that time so i was very grateful.—u/satansleeps
23. And finally, saved the best for last:
I had a mate who worked in one of the bigger lifeline stores in Australia. A woman came into the store with five large clear plastic storage boxes and asked to donate them. He looked inside of the boxes and it was thousands of beautifully hand painted warhammer pieces.
He was shocked and asked her why. They were her son’s and she couldn’t keep them in the house anymore since his death. My friend said he couldn’t accept the donation, he said the whole collection was worth alot of money. She had no idea.
He asked her for all her details and asked if he could try to sell it for her. She agreed. After his shift he went home and took photos of everything and posted it online in an Australian warhammer forum. Within a couple of weeks everything was sold. He called her and she met him at the store.
He told her he had sold it to collectors all around Australia who loved her son’s work. He handed her roughly twelve thousand dollars. She cried, he cried, she offered him half, he said no. She told him she would donate his half to a suicide charity in her sons name and his name. He said it was the best thing he had ever done in his life.—u/quirkyredpanda