Monday, March 23, 2015

Plato's Closet: Worth your time?

I didn't sell the dog, I promise!

Plato’s Closet—that secondhand clothing store kind of like Goodwill, but with more headache-inducing, throbbing music and brand-name tags. Plato’s Closet promises to pay cash for your clothing, but is it worth your time?

I normally sell on eBay because I can control the price and can write a spiffy little blurb that might entice more bidders. Example: “This sweater would be so nice for fall and would look cute paired with a maxi skirt and chunky jewelry. Pre-loved but in great condition!”
You get the idea.

But some of my eBay inventory has been sitting unsold in a box in my closet for over a year now, and I mostly just want to get rid of it at this point. Everything I sell is gently used and in good condition (not to mention trendy—way too trendy for me), so I figured, why not give Plato’s Closet a try? I could potentially make a few bucks selling to them compared to donating it all to Goodwill and losing money on clothing I hardly ever wore (aka horrible impulse buys).

Let me set the scene for you:

Saturday morning, and country music is blaring through speakers hidden behind glossy mannequins smothered in enormous (slightly matted) fur coats and rainbow-faceted rhinestone jewelry. Rack upon rack is stuffed with leopard print chiffon blouses and chevron print maxi dresses.

You’ve not had enough coffee for this. 
You wobble to the selling counter beneath the weight of paper bags near bursting and are told to show picture ID in order to sell. It’s embarrassing how unlike you your driver’s license looks (not to mention it’s still vertical after four years). A gentle pressure like two fingertips settles deep behind the spot connecting the bridge of your nose to your eyes. It’s too early for this.

You’re told the wait will be twenty minutes.

So you wander around the store for forty minutes, migraine making itself comfier inside your head, as the music continues to pulsate and the kaleidoscope of clothing warps around the edges of your vision, until you’ve no idea how many times you’ve circled the store while pretending to browse. 
 There is absolutely nothing you want or can afford on a graduate student’s budget.

This is the reality of Plato’s closet: They’re picky and only looking for uber-trendy items for the coming season. They rip you off. Of the two beyond-stuffed bags of clothing and accessories I brought in, they picked four things I’d never worn and gave me $17 dollars—yes, that includes a pair of Steve Madden shoes which alone cost way more than $17.

I understand they have to make a profit, but their marketing is misleading. I probably could have made more by selling online, but who’s to say any of it would have sold in a timely manner? Plus, $17 is better than donating everything to a thrift store and not receiving anything in return.

So, is it worth your time to try to sell to Plato’s Closet? If you’re willing to spend somewhere near forty minutes on the chance they might not take any of your clothing, sure. I feel like I wasted a good portion of my day—time is precious to me since I have a packed schedule and I don’t like my time wasted.

However, I did use the money to buy a few groceries and this cute $5 dress from Goodwill, so I can’t complain too much. Mostly I’m just annoyed their music gave me a migraine.

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