used goods FAQs
This Q & A is specific to used goods (how we acquire used product, what we’ll accept, donations and downsizing, etc.).
Do you buy or consign other people’s stuff?
No- we do not purchase or consign product from the public.
That being said, we do want to help those who are motivated to cash in on their treasures (and who are willing to do the work of garnering a return). And- there are places that do purchase and consign — so we’ve put together a list of resources for you guys.
Why don’t you buy or consign?
For a number of reasons:
First, we are on a mission to save the stuff at greatest risk of winding up in the landfill, so if someone believes their items have value, we consider those items to be in the hands of a good steward (and not at imminent risk of being thrown away).
As our boomer population continues to downsize, there’s an overabundance of unneeded stuff entering the used marketplace. This means that individual items are hard to sell, and just not worth what they used to be.
In addition, many owners remember how hard they worked to buy that $2000 sofa, and are emotionally connected to the value of the item without regard for what the marketplace would actually bear (often, nothing… and think of what that does to ego). Within this context, it’s unsurprising that most people who are seeking a financial return on their stuff have an inflated perception of what their items are worth when they set out to realize a return — and the chances that we’ll piss someone off with our best offer is just too high.
If you don’t buy or consign, then how do you get your stuff?
That’s a great question. Some of our secondhand product is brought into the shop by a team of vendors responsible for sourcing, pricing, displaying, and maintaining their product at the shop. We are no longer taking on new vendors.
The other half of our secondhand mix belongs to Junket. This product reaches us in a range of ways, but we rely on the efficiencies of scale to offset the exponentially higher labor involved in the work that we do.
In order to make the hand-sorting of buttons, testing of ink pens, and disassembly of broken lamps viable processes, we acquire our stuff by the cartload, by the truckload, by the houseful…and we’ve taken the time to get organized around our key product lines.
We have a strong network of home organizers, real estate agents, customers, and others (even sanitation workers!) who appreciate our desire to keep good, used stuff out of the landfills, and who keep us in mind when they encounter situations where good used stuff is at risk of going to waste.
Do you do pick-ups?
Yes, but on a very limited basis, with a clear understanding of what’s to be retrieved (photos required) and only in Minneapolis/St. Paul proper. If we arrive and determine the item is not salvageable/salable, we will direct you to a more appropriate resource.
We need help cleaning out a house. Would you do that in trade for stuff?
While we don’t do full house clean-outs, we would like to help you save/rescue usable goods, and when we do this, we don’t charge for our labor. With luck, our effort will leave you with renewed energy to tackle what remains.
What we can save for creative reuse often goes above/beyond what other resellers would find interesting (broken books, stained linens, old papers and photos, etc.), so if you’re in the planning stages of a downsizing project that’ll happen in Minneapolis or St. Paul proper and you’d like to build our work into your plan, we’d love to talk with you about fitting into your timeline (between ‘I’ve taken everything of value to me’ and ‘send in the Junk Hauler’).
If your plan is already in action (mother’s Minneapolis house is going on the market next month and you’d like to avoid throwing out a bunch of useful stuff), take a few photos and then give us a shout – we’ll try to help.
We want to do the most good possible when we assist, so we’re selective about where our work can save the most viable, usable content. And, the more time you can give us, the likelier it is we’ll be able to find a way to help.
Please also bear in mind that whatever we’re able to salvage – and how much time, expense, and waste we’ll be able to help you save – will depend largely on the contents and the state of the house (smoke, mold, or animal waste, for example, severely restrict what we’re able to save and resell – but it’s still worth calling us so we can help make that assessment).
Can I get a tax form for the things you’ve accepted from me?
No. Junket is a for-profit company intent on modeling pro-social and pro-environmental conduct that we believe other for-profit companies should also exhibit.
While your stuff will serve a greater purpose as a result of our willingness to accept it, the business is set up – by design – in a way that prohibits you from taking a tax credit. This is because material donations aren’t inherently ‘generous’ or of financial value (especially if the recipient organization merely throws most/all of your contribution in the trash without being transparent about this): non-profits that would tell you otherwise are contributing to an unsustainable global consumption habit and enabling you to commit tax fraud (because if you’re attributing financial value to things that are literally a waste/cost center for the recipient organization, is that not fraud?).
Long story short: Our collective accumulation of used stuff is worth far less than many folks are claiming on their tax returns. Stained and damaged goods? Even less. These goods are free to the companies receiving them, and there’s a strong secondhand market for textiles (at pennies-per-pound costs). This means that there is zero motivation to speak out… rendering the entire system complicit.
By operating as a for-profit, enabling fraud is a non-issue for Junket (and we’re free to legitimately do good, without perks, and be appreciated for it).
For better or worse, then, why would someone donate to you without getting a tax form?
Great question! People prioritize what’s important to them in many different ways. So while money is a powerful motivator for some (and many people can truly benefit from legal tax perks), and while there are others with strong ties to the social service objectives of their chosen recipient non-profit, it’s not the be-all, end-all for everyone.
When we agree to receive/accept your things, it is a transaction: we accept responsibility for your goods and in trade, you are no longer on the hook for managing them. This is a paradigm shift, we know. If you disagree, feel free to find a buyer or drop your stuff off at a donation center that’s less concerned about the ethics of this issue.
Anything else I should know?
We appreciate your having taken the time to understand what we’re up to. If you’ve got a question that hasn’t been answered here, please shoot us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie & the Junket crew