Goodwill FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a collection of questions we are most often asked. Hopefully, this will help you to better understand the mission and work of Rappahannock Goodwill Industries.

Questions about shopping:

  • What are the noodles? Noodles are thin plastic tags you will find attached to the clothing in our stores. These colored tags help us to rotate our clothing regularly so you can always find new merchandise when you shop our stores.
  • Is the color for the Color of the Week discount based on the size tag or the noodle color? Our Color of the Week discount is based on the color of the noodle attached to the clothing and the price sticker.
  • Can you lower the price? Most items in our stores are sold as-is and for the price you find on the merchandise. We do lower our prices by 50% for the Color of the Week.
  • Why do you charge for stuff you get for free? Each item sold in our stores helps to fund job help programs. It’s through the sale of the donated goods that allows us to assist so many people in our area.
  • Can I return items I bought at a Goodwill store? Please see the return policy which is noted on your receipt. For Items that can be returned, they must have the price sticker still attached and be returned within the timeframe as stated on the receipt.
  • What happens to merchandise that does not sell in the store? We attempt to sell some of the items at our Goodwill Outlet. If merchandise does not sell at the Outlet, we will sell the items in bulk to wholesalers. Revenue generated from our stores, outlet, and from sales to bulk purchasers, all go toward helping people locally.
  • I’ve heard someone say your prices seem high especially since you get the stuff for free. While we get the merchandise freely donated, there are costs involved in operating and staffing our donation centers and stores. The items sold are deeply discounted from what they would cost if new.
  • Are Goodwill stores there to help low-income families and people with financial difficulties? While a benefit of our stores is that many people can afford to purchase clothing and household items at deep discounts, our mission is to help people find employment.
  • Frequently your advertising refers to “new” merchandise items and purple tagged merchandise. What does this refer to? Our stores have new items for sale that are closeouts, discontinued, or were bought in bulk.
  • When I’m shopping at Goodwill and see an item I might want to purchase, will you hold it for me? We will hold an item for no longer than 24 hours.
  • Do Goodwill employees get the first option of purchasing items donated? Our employees cannot shop at the store in which they work.
  • I have a question about store policies and operations I have experienced. Who can help me? You can ask to speak with a store manager. If the manager is not available, you can email

Questions about donating:

  • Where can I donate my stuff? You can donate to any of our stores and also our Attended Donation Centers (trailer sites) throughout the area. All of our donation sites are available online at
  • What happens to my donated items? First of all, thank you for donating! Each item you donate is examined so we can determine how it should be priced and if we can sell if in our stores. Our goal is to find a use for nearly all items which are donated so we can significantly reduce what ends up in our local landfills.
  • Will my donation stay in our area? All sellable items are offered for sale in our local stores. Items which are not sold within a reasonable period of time might be sold to bulk purchasers. The revenue generated from these sales is used to help local people find employment.
  • What types of donations are accepted? We accept nearly anything including clothing, shoes, books, jewelry, furniture, cars, boats, and more! See the complete list here:
  • Do you repair items I donate? We are not able to repair items.
  • Why does Goodwill refuse to accept certain items? Some items might not be appropriate for our stores, are dangerous/flammable, have been recalled for safety reasons, or by law we cannot accept (such as stained furniture, mattresses, etc.).
  • Do you accept cars? Yes! We also accept boats and RVs.
  • Will you pick up my donations? We currently do not offer a service to pick up donations. However, we have placed donation centers and donation trailers throughout our region.
  • Why should I donate to my local Goodwill rather than another thrift store? We encourage people to make wise choices when deciding where to donate. Not all thrift stores or donation sites in the area are non-profit organizations which will benefit people in our local area. When you donate to Rappahannock Goodwill, your donation will go directly toward helping people in our community with employment assistance so they can find jobs.
  • Are coupons good on the weekends? Each genuine coupon from Rappahannock Goodwill will state any restrictions.
  • Does Goodwill give away donated clothes? We offer vouchers to local social service organizations who distribute them to those in need.
  • Why won’t you take everything I want to donate? There are items we are prohibited by law from accepting. Please see the complete list at
  • I made a donation but lost the tax receipt. Can I obtain a copy? We will make every effort to obtain a copy for you. Please use our online request form at
  • I accidentally donated an item, how can I get it back? Once an item is donated there is no way to retrieve the item again. In many cases, items donated are on the sales floor within 15 minutes.
  • Can I drop off donations after-hours? We can only accept donations during regular hours.
  • What type of vehicles does Goodwill accept? We accept ALL vehicles whether they are are in good shape or in poor condition.
  • I made a donation last week and the man that gave me the receipt would not put the value on my items on the receipt. I thought Goodwill was responsible for that? We are not able to assess the value of donated items. We do have a donation guide available on our website so you can determine the value of your donation. The guide is at

General questions about Goodwill:

  • Who does Goodwill help? Each year we help thousands of people right here in our area. Our mission is to create jobs locally, prepare people to succeed at work, and help them overcome barriers to employment.
  • Does Goodwill offer volunteer opportunities? Yes. We especially are in need of individuals who are good with computers and can help people learn how to search for jobs. Find out more at
  • How does Goodwill help people? Our focus is on helping people find employment so they can experience the Power of Work. We help people with disabilities and other barriers to employment find work through our four Job Help Centers, multiple specialized programs, and we hire individuals in our stores, commercial laundry, custodial services, and other employment opportunities.
  • Is Goodwill a business or a charity? Rappahannock Goodwill is a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
  • Is Goodwill hiring, and, if so, what positions are available? We are always hiring! Find job listings at
  • Can you help me find a job? Thanks to donors and shoppers, we have four area Job Help Centers that offer free assistance to people looking for employment. Learn more about our Job Help Centers at
  • Are all Goodwills the same? There are over 160 different Goodwill agencies and each is independently operated. Rappahannock Goodwill Industries operates twelve stores in our region, one outlet and nearly 30 donation centers.
  • How many people do you help a year? Each year we help thousands of people in our local region!
  • What is a Job Help Center? These centers offer FREE HELP to people in our community in learning/upgrading computer skills, job preparation and job search skills for today’s workplace. Learn more at
  • Do you have to have a disability to use the Job Help Center? Anyone can use the services provided at our Job Help Centers including those with disabilities, long-term unemployed, ex-offenders, veterans, etc. For those with disabilities, we have special tools to provide accommodations as needed.
  • If Goodwill is a nonprofit, why do you charge me tax? We collect Virginia sales tax as required by law.

If you have a question which is not on this list, please contact Julie Rettinger, VP Community Relations & Resource Development, at or call 540-371-3070.