The Goodwill on Westlake Avenue is a bit trendier than the others, with a sleek, spare sign that resembles the storefront of Urban Outfitters or Abercrombie. But inside, it was all about Earth Day and celebrating the nonprofit's role in keeping clothes, furniture and all sorts of items out of landfills.
Goodwill stores are in the middle of a campaign called BreakUp4Good, which encourages the public, as well as some local celebrities to part ways with a piece of clothing. Macklemore is among the local musicians and sports figures who've parted ways with some of their clothing. The Seattle pop star donated a denim vest he wore in his “Thrift Shop” music video.
When I walked in the store (for my first press event) on Tuesday, I met Katherine Boury, the communications manager for Goodwill, who was greeting customers at the entrance. I asked her about Macklemore's vest and found out that it was being displayed at Goodwill's Capitol Hill location. (Damn.)
Macklemore was a Goodwill shopper which is why the Thrift Shop video got filmed there, Boury told me. Really? Good to know his whole thrift shop thing isn’t just for image.
I asked if she had broken up with any clothes for the campaign. A bit pensively, she said she had given away a pair of brand new shoes. On Goodwill's Facebook page, there's this clever set of photos of employees holding their donations and wry signs about why they were parting with their goods: “We're just not a good fit," "This is SO hard but I have to let you ALL go," and Boury's play on a Marshawn Lynch meme: "I’m only here so I don’t get fined.”
When I stepped inside the store I noticed several people crowding around a large black table. Chad Marshall and Brad Evans, two Seattle Sounders, were sitting behind it. I was impressed, but confessed that I hadn’t played soccer since middle school. They looked at me a bit confusedly. I noticed a woman standing nearby, holding a sweatshirt she wanted them to sign. She was staring daggers at me, impatient for me to move out of the way.
“Anyway, I quit,” I told Marshall and Evans, “because it was too hard but … So why did you decide to get involved in this event?”
Evans pointed to a man in the corner. “Roger Levesque is our Community Outreach Director and he always jumps on good causes like this making sure that the Sounders FC gets involved,” he explained. I had Evans and Marshall sign their player cards and went to talk to Levesque. (How is it that all these sports people are so good looking?)
“I’ve always been involved with Goodwill," said Levesque, "and I really support Goodwill’s outreach to job training and educational programs." And what had he broken up with? “I actually used to play for the Sounders and I departed with my old jersey.” It wasn’t too harsh of a breakup, he said. “I much prefer the symbolism of my jersey being used for a good cause like this.”
The campaign seemed to be doing a lot of good. The two Sounders were certainly drawing quite a crowd, most of whom were making purchases. Everyone who donated a piece of clothing seemed genuinely excited that it would be earning money for a noble cause.
We live in a pretty materialistic society. The Goodwill event reminded me that not all breakups have to be messy. If the breakup is with the studded leather jacket that’s been lying in your closet for four years, it’s probably for the best.