Goodwill Houston discontinuing ID discounts program for teachers, seniors, military, first responders; Nonprofit is switching to model it says benefits more people

Too Cheap Blondes' photo of the sign at the River Oaks store noting the discount program changes. (Jen Meneely, Jen Meneely/Too Cheap Blondes)

HOUSTON – Goodwill Houston is changing its discount program, discontinuing its Wednesday ID discounts program that offered discounts to senior citizens, first responders, military and teachers and shifting to another model for discounts that the company told KPRC 2 will benefit more store customers.

Too Cheap Blondes, the thrifting duo of Pippa Williams and Jenn Meneely noticed new signs at the front of the store in River Oaks Thursday morning.

The sign Meneely photographed reads, “Beginning on April 18, Goodwill Houston will be updating our discount program: Color Discount 25% off Sunday – Tuesday 50% off Wednesday – Saturday Wednesday ID discounts will be discontinued.”

The change extends to all stores in the Houston area, a Goodwill Houston spokesperson knowledgeable of the matter told KPRC 2 on Thursday.

In its Facebook post, Too Cheap Blondes said, “Heads up! Policy change at Goodwill Houston stores! Starting on Monday, there will no longer be senior citizen, first responder, military, or teacher discounts on Wednesdays and the 75% off color of the week on Mondays is also being discontinued.”

Williams spoke to KPRC 2 shortly after the social media posting about the store’s policy change and said “This really does affect the people who need it the most. People are mad. Those are the people that need (the discounts). I’m not happy about it, but I don’t want to trash them. They do so much good. I would like for them to explain why.”

KPRC 2 spoke with a Goodwill Houston spokesperson who shared this statement:

“Goodwill Houston’s mission is ‘Changing Lives Through the Power of Work.’ As a non-profit organization, we provide free education, job training, and job opportunities to people with barriers to employment with in-demand industries like apartment maintenance, IT, logistics, health care, and manufacturing. Our stores are the economic engine that fuels our mission. Because of that, we are always looking for the best ways to serve our customers and our community. We are adjusting our discounts to offer low prices every day – rather than only one day per week. For customers looking for even better deals, we have five outstanding, easy-to-find outlet locations throughout the greater Houston area.”

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In an interview, the spokesperson said there are three reasons why the change was implemented, outlining the ideas above and adding that the change will help raise pay for starting team members. KPRC 2 asked what that starting wage is and is waiting to hear back about that dollar amount.

Goodwill Houston’s spokesperson added that it’s really trying to fight the misinformation about the nonprofit that’s been perpetuated online, saying “every dollar spent in one of our stores and every item donated to us goes back to the Houston community.”

The spokesperson, pressed on the abrupt manner of the rollout -- a sign placed overnight in its stores -- said the message is being conveyed in other ways including on its website and in other places in its store. As of this writing, KPRC 2 could not find a description of this shift on the nonprofit’s website aside from the listing of the store’s color of the week, but the spokesperson did provide a prompt statement shared above.

Goodwill Houston's website, shown in part, in this screenshot collected on April 14, 2022. (Goodwill Houston)

Editor’s Note: Goodwill Houston is an advertising client of KPRC 2.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.