That hallmark of Hollywood Celebs & Rodeo Drive, the Personal Shopping Assistant, is finally coming to Pittsburgh as Goodwill announces that they will now be available in all their stores. The non-profit charity, which does a commendable job of finding employment for people who might otherwise have difficulty fitting into the workforce, has long been a mainstay for those looking for affordable gently-used clothing, media systems that still have tape decks, and, at Halloween, 1970s pimp daddy outfits. But this represents a new era that is long overdue.
“People have been telling us for ever that we’re much better than all the ‘proper’ retail stores and that the time will come when we push past them. Well, that time is now.”
Its flagship store, now located in the fashionable neighborhood of Lawrenceville, already has a sizable computer store with knowledgeable computer experts in Goodwill’s own version of the Apple Genius Bar, albeit without the condescension and general sense of corporate ickiness.
“It’s a new concept that’s worked extremely well and that we’re very proud to have pioneered at Goodwill – offering computer & general tech advice without being a smug dickhead.”
Then one of the regular employees, without even realizing it, found herself spending most of her time helping customers outfit themselves. At first it was simply a matter of locating a match for a solitary shoe on a shelf, but she soon found herself taking them from section to section, picking out the perfect complementary attire and accessories that she remembered were there, having pulled them out from black bags only days before. Store managers soon realized what an asset this was and the position of personal shopping assistant (PSA) was created. In many ways the Goodwill PSAs have a harder task than their counterparts at La Perla and Versace in Beverly Hills, who receive ample stock of matching pieces from the same designer.
“We may get an Ann Klein skirt here and a Liz Claiborne blouse there, though you never know exactly what’s going to come in. But our personal shopping assistants will survey what we have every morning and be ready to put together a killer ensemble that makes you look like a million bucks, and all for $22.99 before discounts.”
When asked what’s next for Goodwill, the answer is that many things were considered, including running an art gallery and launching a full home design service to compete with Home Depot and Bradley Michaels. Then by chance a customer lamented that there was no easy way for aspiring musicians down on their luck to make progress in this town.
“When you consider all the equipment we have across our regional stores, there’s enough to fully equip a recording studio that represents the state of the art – in 1972.”
Goodwill Studios will soon be taking bookings on a first-come-first-served basis. The artists will, however, be responsible for converting their music from 8-track to digital format if they want to distribute it online.
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