Shopping at Bin Stores Can Mean Big Deals

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Do you hate paying full price for things and love looking for bargains? Rather than logging onto Amazon and eBay, or heading to Walmart, you can find great deals for a fraction of retail at bin stores.

Bin Store Deals
Photo Credit: Good Money Sense

How Does A Bin Store Work?

Bin stores are retail outlets that have been popping up across the US that sell returns, liquidations, and overstocked merchandise from major retailers like Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Home Depot for as little as $1 or less.

Products are typically placed in large bins for shoppers to dig through in their hunt for bargains. Prices for items at a bin store will drop each day until the item sells. Bins are restocked with new merchandise at the end of the week and the whole process starts again.

At one bin store I visited in the Atlanta area, every item in the store sells for $8 on Friday. Everything is $6 on Saturday, $4 on Sunday, $3 on Monday, $2 on Tuesday, and $1 on Wednesday. The store is closed on Thursday for restocking with new bargains.

Veteran bin store shoppers know they need to get to the store early on the first day after the store restocks if they want to snag the best items. Otherwise, the bins will be completely picked over of the good stuff.

Why Are Bin Stores Products So Cheap

Total merchandise returns in 2023 added up to $743 billion, making up 14.5% of sales according to the National Retail Federation. Merchandise purchased online had a higher return rate of 17.6%.

Online stores are optimized to get merchandise out the door to customers quickly. Amazon even has robots that roam their warehouses autonomously fetching products and bringing them to packing stations to be put into boxes. Unwanted purchases are another matter.

As products get returned to retailers’ stores and warehouses, companies have to figure out what to do with the unwanted items. Each item must be examined to decide whether it can be resold, sent back to the manufacturer, or written off.

Rather than spend millions of man-hours sorting through items, many returns end up on pallets and sold off to liquidators by the truckload.

Resellers and entrepreneurs have long purchased pallets stacked full of returns from liquidators and resold the items on sites like eBay. Bin stores are an evolution of this business model. Shoppers are always looking for a good deal.

What Deals Can Be Purchased at a Bin Store

Merchandise sold at bin stores is the same merchandise that you can find at popular retail stores like Walmart and online websites like Amazon.

One bin store had bins piled full of returns still with Amazon FNSKU barcode stickers on the boxes. Another store had a bin containing products with yellow stickers used by Home Depot for customer returns that were for Return to Vendor.

I saw electronics, curtains, bedding, kitchen appliances and utensils, health and beauty products, toys, pet supplies, food, phone cases, holiday decorations, clothing, tools, garden equipment, office supplies, books, and more for sale at the bin stores.

Some items at the bin store that were for sale for $6 were being sold for $20 to $40 at a traditional retailer.

Here are some of the products available for $6:

A set of four white 4” x 10” ceiling or floor vent covers that retails for $45 on Amazon

Bin Store Floor Vents
Photo Credit: Good Money Sense

Small room tabletop dehumidifier that goes for $46

Bin Store Dehumidifier
Photo Credit: Good Money Sense

A new set of 95” long Moroccan Tile bedroom curtains that is on Amazon for $40

Bin Store Curtains
Photo Credit: Good Money Sense

Netgear GS308E 8-port Gigabit Ethernet switch that’s worth $45

Bin Store Netgear Switch
Photo Credit: Good Money Sense

A pair of Sylvania H11 SilverStar halogen headlight bulbs priced for $25 at the store

Bin Store Sylvania Silverstar
Photo Credit: Good Money Sense

Badger 1 Insinkerator 1/3 HP garbage disposal that sells for almost $100 new

Bin Store Insinkerator
Photo Credit: Good Money Sense

Other things I’ve come across included a refurbished Arris SBG10 cable modem, a new pouch of 100 pairs of earplugs by Milwaukee, an entire bin of chocolates from Valentine’s Day, and dozens of insulated tumblers.

Don’t think an item is worth the price? Come back in a day or two and you might be able to snag it for a few dollars less.

I purchased a white 2” three-ring binder on the last day before the bin store restocked for $1.50. A similar binder sells for $5 at Walmart.

Where to Find Local Bin Stores in Your Area

Bin stores are often small and independently run. I’ve visited bin stores in business parks and small shopping centers. One store was half of a retail space with a furniture store in the other half. Another bin store had a second area selling items such as ceiling fans and power tools below sticker price.

You can find a listing of bin stores organized by state at Bin Store Finder.

A search for “bin stores” on Google Maps will also bring up stores in your local area.

Many bin stores also have accounts on social media sites like Instagram advertising the available bargains.

Bin Store Shopping Tips

  • Get there early. The best deals will go fast. Try to get there when the store opens after they restock and before the bins get picked over if you are looking for the premium items.
  • Take your time. Shopping at bin stores is similar to going on a treasure hunt. There is no organization on where things may be. Be prepared to spend time rummaging through all the bins in the store because you will never know what you might find.
  • Look up prices. Use a shopping app to check what an item is worth. Don’t overpay. Both the Walmart Mobile App and Amazon Shopping App have barcode scanners to quickly look up items and their prices.
  • Inspect products. Merchandise can be returned for a myriad of reasons. The items may be in perfectly new condition because a customer changed their mind or the sizing was wrong. Or the items may be damaged or defective. Bin stores often prohibit shoppers from opening boxes to prevent parts from being lost or misplaced. Take advantage of unboxing stations if available before leaving the store.
  • Sales are often final. The products are often sold as-is and you won’t be able to return the item if it doesn’t work or is missing parts. You will usually find the store rules posted. Pay attention to the return policies.
  • Beware of impulse purchases. Set a budget. If you see something you might want, go ahead and put it in your cart before someone else snags it. If you change your mind, put it back in the bin on the way to the checkout.

Closing $ense

Bin stores are a great way to save money on things you never knew you needed. You can find everything from name brand items to private label products for a good deal cheaper than the store.

You should stick with a brick-and-mortar store or Amazon if you are looking for a specific item or need a product immediately. People prone to impulse buying should leave their credit cards at home and bring cash.

While bin store shopping might not be for everyone, it does help keep returned products from ending up in landfills. According to the BBC, 5 billion pounds of waste is generated through returns each year. Giving things like shoes and clothes that are in new condition but do not fit a second chance to be used by someone else can help both the economy and the environment.

Have you shopped at a bin store before? What deals did you find? Do you have any tips and advice?

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