I am always amazed by the number or seasoned thrifters, who shop in my store & don’t know how the four color tagging system works.
So I looked on line . . . and looked and looked and looked . . . Not one word !
Now, I must confess, I surf the web a lot, searching for blogs about buying and selling used stuff; and this is what I find
1- Sites promoting a particular shop - PR with no real information
2 - Bland generic how-to pages, with advise like. “Keep your prices competitive” - whatever that means
3 - Bragging sites (some quite good!) - showing the writers “scores” - often with fantastic photos of the way they’ve re-purposed their vintage finds. - But, even on these sites, I get the feeling that the authors don’t really know how the resale business works.
And so , here it is Guys & Gals. . . The inside scoop . . .
THE CLASSIC FOUR COLOR SYSTEM AND HOW IT WORKS
For simplicity’s sake we will assume the color tag changes on the first of every month (it doesn’t)
1- Month one (lets call it January) - Throughout the month, New Arrivals (full price) are priced with Yellow tags
2- February 1st - switch to Green tags - Throughout the month New Arrivals (full price) are priced with green tags
3- March 1st - Switch to Pink tags- Throughout the month New Arrivals (full Price) are priced with Pink tags - Yellow tag clothes are NOW at the first discount price (at Junk we go to 50%)
4 - April 1st - Switch to Orange tags - Throughout the month New Arrivals are priced with orange tags. - Green tag clothes are now at the first discount price (50% off ) and yellow tag clothes are at the second discount price (at Junk we go to $1)
On May 1st - This is important -Yellow tag clothes do NOT magically become full price again - no, no, no - Yellow tag clothes are removed from the store! Then - Pink tags become 50% off - Green tags are $1 - NEW ARRIVALS are, once again, tagged with yellow tags.
On June first - Green tag clothes are removed - Pinks tags are $1 - Orange tags are 50% 0ff - NEW ARRIVALS are once again tagged with green
And round & round we go - once the system is in place there will always be 2 colors at full price, one color at 50% off & one color at $1
Why are there 2 different full price colors? Because new arrivals are put out every day. If there was only one full price color, items put out on Jan 31st would be marked down on Feb 1st - after only 24 hours in the store.
What happens to clothes that are removed from the store? Now that’s a really good question! - I give mine to my sister (she sells them at a Long Island Flea Market) - Goodwill sends their leftovers to outlet stores, where they are thrown into bins & sold by the pound!
What does all this mean? Well, if your shopping out of Goodwill Outlet bins, you are scrapping the bottom of the barrel - Now, that barrel may still have plenty of good apples left, maybe even a few excellent apples left, but trust me all the best apples are gone (and if your shopping in a “thriftique” that gets it inventory from those bins . . No I won’t go there - but you get my point)
So - How do you get the best deals? It depends on what you’re looking for.
For Best Finds - you want to check the new arrivals - At Junk we’ve never had one of our $10 vintage cashmere sweaters stay in the store long enough to go on sale - but those 50 black A-line skirts I mentioned in an earlier post - about half sold at full price ($8) & about 5 made it all the way to $1 - the rest sold at 50% off - so -
For Best Bargains - you want to look for those sale tags -
And for REALLY GREAT BARGAINS - you want to be in the store the day the sale color changes - I love the amazed & happy look on the faces of shoppers, who wandered in just as we were changing the sale colors & leave with armfuls of fantastic $1 clothes.
How often do we change the sale colors at Junk? About 5 times a year. It’s not a set date and it’s never announced in advance - Generally speaking, if I’m straightening the racks & notice the $1 clothes are almost all gone, I know it’s time!
And finally - how does using the 4 color system help store owners & managers?
1- It helps them correctly price their inventory - If merchandise sells faster than it can be restocked & if nothing ever lasts long enough to go on sale, prices are probably too low - but if nothing ever sells before it goes on sale, then clearly prices are to high!
2 - It helps them know what to stock - items that only sell at a greatly reduced price or never sell at any price are a waste of floor space
3- It allows them to efficiently manage their inventory. A customer tries on a garment, breaks the zipper, pops a button or leaves a make-up smudge on the collar - then puts it back on the hangar - The seller might not notice it - but the damaged item will cycle out - either it will sell at a discounted price or leave the store unsold. Buyers are not stupid. They can decide for themselves what is or isn’t a good deal.
Best of All
4- It means buyers can find sale items every day - not just on special occasions!
That’s all for now - I hope this information helped you become a better, more informed shopper!