Thrift Store Employees Reveal the Weirdest Donations They’ve Ever Received
From creepy and unnerving to just plain hilarious, these stories of real donations prove that there’s never a dull moment working for a thrift store.
An incognito toilet
“The prize has to go to the guy who brought in what appeared to be a regular chair, until one of my colleagues attempted lifting it and it turned out to be a very thoroughly used toilet. My colleague, who did have a flair for the dramatic, screamed and dropped the toilet which began leaking some bluish fluid everywhere. The guy wouldn’t take the toilet back, and nobody was willing to touch it, so it basically stayed outside the store at the service entrance for weeks before somebody finally got rid of it.”—Reddit user VelociraptorFetus. Donating a used toilet may not be the best idea, but we bet you never knew you could donate these ten things.
A stack of wood
“Someone brought a bunch of broken lumber and asked if they could donate it. I told them it was garbage. They left it anyway.”—Reddit user dads2tired
A bag of garbage (accidentally)
“Our family donates clothes in masses and puts them in one of those giant black trash bags. [One time,] my dad took the bag to the Salvation Army and when he got back, he noticed the bag of clothes was sitting in the living room???? Long story short, he dropped off an actual bag of TRASH at the Salvation Army. He then went back and apologized and donated the right bag…. he hasn’t gone back since.”—Reddit user lucycastillo
A bag of garbage (on purpose)
“One time a lady handed me a trash bag full of foil yogurt lids, smiled like it was a bag of pure gold, and walked off.”—Reddit user jtmanis.
“Barbie dolls with no clothes or heads. A whole bag full.”—Reddit user ajs592
Lots of lonely shoes
“Someone once donated a box of shoes, which was great because they all seemed to be in good condition. There were all kinds of shoes: sneakers, high heels, even some sporting cleats. But once we started sorting through them, we couldn’t find a single matching pair. I thought I was just tired until my coworker started complaining about what we were going to do without any pairs. Maybe someone out there has the second box full of the matching pairs. We will never know.”—Broadly.com contributor Anne. Check out these places where you can donate your old things to a wonderful cause.
A Cabbage Patch Kid with a secret
“I collect Cabbage Patch Kids, a type of doll that was very popular in the 1980s, although they still make them today. I used to stop by the thrift store pretty often to check their toy section for Cabbage Patches, and one day I found a boy Cabbage Patch…wearing a backwards dress that was so long in the front it covered his feet. He had a cape on that matched the dress which covered his feet from the back as well. He looked good, and even though the clothes were odd, more than 50 percent of the Cabbage Patch [dolls] I find at thrift stores are naked, so any clothes are great. I actually spend far more on doll clothes than I do on the dolls themselves.
“Anyway, I brought the little guy home and pulled his dress up to check the signature on his butt, because I can tell by the color of the signature what year he was made. What I found freaked me out. The doll’s legs were soaked in a dark red, brownish stuff…it was clearly blood. I tried to tell myself it wasn’t blood, but I knew it was. I put the doll in the bathtub, put on some gloves, and started to scrub him. I got most of the blood out.
“I still have the doll, but he sits on the shelf. I don’t want to touch him. I don’t know how he got bloody, or why someone would give a blood-soaked doll to a thrift store.”—Reddit user carnivorous_plant, a thrift store customer. If you’re a frequent thrift store shopper, you should know these tips to help you get the best deals.
A round piece of plastic, essentially
“There was a time where we received well over 120 donations in one day; it had been a very long day. It seemed impossible that we could ever catch a break. I was very tired, and then right on cue, another car pulled to the door. They roll down the window and a little girl hands me a blank CD without a case.”—Reddit user johnsonstein17
Weapons, and an owl overload
“I was a manager of Goodwill for a while. I got a few good donations, the best being:
- A taser gun (didn’t get put up for sale, obviously)
- Owls. We got an entire U-Haul truck filled with owl-themed decorations.”—Reddit user efischerSC2. Unlike tasers, these are things you should (and shouldn’t) be buying at thrift stores.
A “sacrament sack”
“I got a last rites kit for a priest. It was the doctor’s-type bag with a cross on it with all the things needed for in-home communion and last rites for shut-ins or the dying. I gave that to a nearby Catholic church. Just didn’t feel right selling it.”—Stacie Morrell, manager of Homeward Bound Pets thrift store
A very realistic doll
“One time we got a very old small trunk and one of the employees opened it up and screamed. There was an old doll laying inside and she thought for a second that it was a real child.”—Morrell
An entire truck full of escargot
Courtesy Sarah Gray
Shark Bait, oo ha ha!
“[We once received] a giant-sized set of the [tiki statues] from the aquarium from Finding Nemo.”—Gray. On the other hand, these are 15 things you should think twice about donating.
This sporty gator
“You see the inner workings of everyone’s lives…things that have been [in their houses] forever. Taxidermy is a good example. You see some pretty interesting taxidermy. We [got] a taxidermied alligator that was swinging a golf club; posed and playing golf.”—Brian Graves, co-founder of EVERYTHING BUT THE HOUSE (EBTH), an online estate sale marketplace
This frog quintet
“[We also received] a group of taxidermied frogs [that] were posed as a mariachi band playing instruments.”—Graves. Check out some more slightly unnerving things that have been found in people’s homes.
This unusual fashion statement
“[We also received] a ‘waste basket’ yellow pages paper dress. Back in the 1960s, they would take the yellow pages, découpage them, and turn them into a dress. [Women] would wear these dresses made of paper.”—Graves
This immediate sin cleanser
“We came across a holy water dispenser that kind of looked like a fire hydrant. It says ‘Holy Water’ with a tap at the bottom. A lot of times, these things are really ornate… but this looked like something that would’ve been sitting on the counter at a speakeasy or a saloon, and if you needed some holy water, you could go grab it.”—Graves. You think thrift store workers’ lives are crazy? Check out the wackiest things Walmart employees have seen at work.