Mexico is full of america’s smuggled used clothes

by MR Magazine Staff

On Saturday mornings, Priscilla Lupercio Hernandez wakes up at 6 and journeys from her neighborhood in Tijuana, Mexico to shop on “the other side,” as those in the city refer to the United States. Her destination is the Goodwill Outlet and Donation Center in San Ysidro, California, about a mile from PedWest, the newly renovated pedestrian entrance at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which separates the Mexican state of Baja California from the American region of Southern California. Set back from the road by a U-shaped driveway, the Goodwill complex is made up of three buildings. Priscilla heads to the warehouse on the left; there is already a line of Mexican shoppers outside and she joins them. At 7:45, a Goodwill staffer hands out tickets to enter. The warehouse is lined with rows of black and blue plastic bins the size of small dumpsters, each filled with discounted clothing, shoes, and accessories that have gone unsold for four weeks in the chain’s thrift stores and then another four at its clearance centers. Here, near the end of the nonprofit’s supply chain, the prices are exceedingly cheap: A standard article goes for $1 a piece, while the nicer items cost $3–$5. But at 10:30 a.m. and again at 1 p.m, when whole bins are offered up for auction, those prices are slashed even more dramatically. Large containers of shoes start at $95 per bin, while those of used clothing start at $60, even as the original tags on individual items show prices well north of $100. Sometimes the bidding pushes prices as high as $400 per bin, though that still represents a huge discount. According to one employee, Goodwill sees between $20,000 and $30,000 in sales at the twice-daily auctions. Read more at Racked.