Charity Or Robbery / Salvation Army Stores In Montreal

I hope they get back into the business of helping people

The Salvation Army Store in Montreal on Notre Dame West is a disgrace and is in no way helpful to the true poor of the neighborhood.  To think that decent well-meaning people have donated things to this organization in trust to help the poor and less fortunate be able to get furniture and clothing and just about everything else they need to live, but can not afford to buy in a regular store. The prices in the Salvation Army Store not only matched a normal stores, but in some cases for certain articles were more expensive.

I walked into this store looking for a coffee table to buy for a single father struggling to make ends meet and the cheapest table was $70.00 and it was worn, dirty and not even polished.  The lady trying to sell it to me was telling me how it was real wood and that a side table came with it. $70.00 is a lot of money when you are on welfare, or you have just lost everything in a fire.  I went to Wall Mart just to see how much of a difference in price it was to buy a new 3 piece living room table set and became even madder at the Salvation Army; the price for a 3 piece set at Wall Mart was $99.00 brand new in the box and just a coffee table was $69.00.

The shirts were selling for $5.oo and up and nothing seemed to say we are here to help you and if you can’t afford to pay we will make a deal, or give it to you for free, like we got it. I just finished shopping for myself at Wall Mart and the sweat pants were $10.00 a pair new.  The first thing you see when you get up the stairs where they showcase the furniture is a dining room china cabinet, one of many selling for over $1000.00 and a dining room table with four chairs selling for $800.00, these are not prices designed to help the poorest of the poor.  These are not the prices of a charity; these are the prices of a legitimate store.  This is not what I expected to happen to the things I donated to the Salvation Army. I expected the Salvation Army to practically give my things to the needy and help them like they said they would.

I think that the Salvation Army for the most part in it’s other departments does a great job, but that can not be allowed to justify what they are doing to the poor and under privileged in this store and maybe all of them.   These may seem like a good prices for a normal store, but it is high way robbery when talking about someone who needs the Salvation Army to shop in.

    I think that in an effort to raise money for other things they have forgotten that a poor person can not afford $1000.00 for china cabinet, or $800.00 for a dining room table and 4 chairs.

I get angry when I know that they do not buy any of the furniture and they do not even clean, or shine it up and that the people who donate these articles like me would not have given anything to them if we thought that they would have tried to pull this off.   I am a mover and have always told people to donate the items they did not want to the Salvation Army; because they would make sure that the donations were made available to the people who needed them the most. It may have been true at one time but sadly this statement does not apply and will not refer  any donators to them any more.

These stores in my opinion are a black eye on the face of an organization that is known to do so much good. I hope that someone who works there reads this and does something about it. I will be lodging a complaint and writing to the government to see what can be done. If they want to be a real store than they should stop advertising and doing business under a charitable charter and be open with their dealings with the public.  It saddened me to write this story, but here it is and so be it.

Come and watch this slideshow below and see the Rockies through the windshield of an 18 wheeler like I did one year.

About archemdis

I try to say what is on my mind and not hurt others, but some things need to be said whether they hurt or not and I do just that. I try to listen as well as talk, but my opinion is just that mine. You need not take it as your own, just respect the fact that I am entitled to it, as you are yours. I do read all comments, but will only answer, or allow to be displayed those which adress me by name, refer to the post by name in the comment, or that have been sent through the proper channels. In this manner I can tell whether the comment was meant for me and that it is not just spam.
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19 Responses to Charity Or Robbery / Salvation Army Stores In Montreal

  1. Clothing donation says:

    As I’m doing my spring cleaning and have a bunch of clothes to give away, I Googled Salvation Army, because I was contemplating giving the clothes to the exact location that you speak of. But now I’m second guessing the idea after reading your post. What about other organizations like the Quebec Foundation?

    • archemdis says:

      I do not know a lot about the other places, but there are always the missions, the homeless shelters, the battered womens shelters, big rothers and sisters they do not charge people who come to them for things, not one red cent. Welcome Hall Mission does take things. Local Community centers usually do as well. I have yet to hear, or read anything bad about the Quebec Foundation. If you give me a day or two I will check it out and get back to you. Have a great day! Check out these sites,

      1. Mission du Grand Berger

      2. Participate in the
      Renaissance Challenge!

  2. Jay Belliveau says:

    Great Article! I too agree that the Salvation Army’s prices have become too inflated over the past couple of years here in New Brunswick as well. I have called and complained directly to the person in charge of the Thrift Stores here in NB and it got me no wheres.

    I also asked if there employee’s were allowed to buy things while working, and he said no they were not, that they had to wait until their shift was over… that being said I have seen the same lady that sorts, prices and hangs the clothing at one of the SA Thrift Stores here go to the cash and buy a pile of clothes, and I am sure at a discounted price seeing she is the one who prices them. I have also seen another lady that prices the misc items roll a cart full of camping supplies out to someone waiting at the back room door, that person in turn went to the cash with the cart full of items, this made me curious so I followed them to the cash with my purchase and was right behind them, everything in the cart was priced $1.99 or less. There were Camp Stoves, Tents, Sleeping Bags etc.

    I have also talked to a couple of volunteers from SA and they told me that some of he back room employees either take whatever they want, or pay next to nothing for it.

    There is a gentleman that works there that told me a story of an older couple dropping off a 2 week old Surround System because the wife of the couple could not figure out how to use it. So without it even hitting the sale floor he bought it for $20.00.

    I was there today and wanted to purchase one of those old TV/VCR carts that the Schools / Hospitals typically use, but there was no price on it… I was willing to give them up to $20.00 for it, but the lady I asked about the price even said you will probably not like the price, her words exactly, and then told me it would be $50.00…

    I am more than willing to try and make the above stop happening, anything I can do to help please do not hesitate to ask. My family and I are really fortunate, so SA is not something we need, but I love helping people who need it and I think SA has forgotten where they come from.

    In this day and age they better be careful, corporations and politics can’t control the media like they used. There are all kinds of venues to get the word out with the internet, Facebook, Twitter, and right here on WordPress!

    • archemdis says:

      Thanks for sharing. Now I know that I am not crazy. Have a great evening.

    • ohta says:

      I agree one hundred per cent with you:
      – At this time of inflation, prices of donated (often dirty) clothes or furniture there are much higher than new ones in ordinary stores. Electronics are sold without any warranty.
      – And the secured employes can also easily benefit of the best merchandise.

      • archemdis says:

        It is just too bad especially with the way things are going these days that this type of nonsense is going on. The profits made from these sales are used for other charitable works the Salvation Army does abroad. I think that they do a great many things for others and I have no problem with that, but I do think that when people are donating goods to the local branch of their Salvation Army such as furniture, clothing etc., it is to help less fortunate Canadians in their city or town and I think that this should be respected and reflected in the salvation Army stores.

  3. john smith says:

    I work at a salvation army, and what I see everyday is ridiculous, managers telling employees not to talk on the phone, but they do it all the time, not only talking but sitting on the couches in front of them. employees have to pay for full price on things, but they can take them for free. what I see ever worse is that the community service people come to help, but they treat them like shit, the manager tells them that its a punishment., but who the f… are they to punish them. they work 3,4,5 hours and they are not allowed to take a break, only if they work an 8 hour shift, but they dont let them do those many hours. I was talking to one of the managers and she told me that her son had like 20 hrs of community service to do but I would never see him do the hours. mmmmm I wonder why she said that. about the prices managers do a certain percentage of what they sell, so the more expensive they sell the stuff the more money they make.

    • archemdis says:

      I would like to thank you for your comments John. In the past I have got a lot of flack for criticizing the Salvation Army and their pricing, but I could never figure out why it was done, now I know and thank you. I had heard rumors about the Salvtion Army being rough on their people, but could never prove it. I think somebody needs to take a closer look and I am about to do just that. Stay tuned and thanks again. have a great day!

  4. pafmurray says:

    Just some advice: Don’t email them. They have yet to respond to any email that I have ever sent to them in years. I was at the CDN-NDG council meeting earlier. Michael Applebaum did not welcome my asking him: “How in all good conscience can you justify giving $1 million to Velo QC an org that refuses to add a charity component to their events, while charging charities/NPOs $170,000 to stage fundraising events for charities?” He could not answer that question or the earlier one :o)

    Google: Is something rotten in NDG?

  5. pafmurray says:

    Why not bring up the matter directly with the SA? Perhaps they are not aware of the out of line prices?

    • archemdis says:

      Okay I will but I highly doubt that they are not aware that they are diverting funds meant to help then poor people in local nieghborhoods and putting the money to use in other areas. I will follow up this post and let you know how they respond. It would be nice to be wrong about this one and nothing would please me more than to find out that it was not the SA”s intent to over charge and then divert the charity.

  6. pafmurray says:

    Interesting article. That reminds me. I should tell the SA that when they have their volunteers collecting $$ at Xmas that they have papers there to take donations by Visa/Mastercard and also have temporary tax receipts to give out to those donating $20 or more via cash.

    Please feel free to write regarding (if charity is up your alley)

    • archemdis says:

      I just wish that charities would do what they say. Do they do any good, probably, but that does not make it okay to infllate the prices of things that are donated by well meaning individuals to help the poor in their neighborhoods and then diverting the profits to other charritable works they may be involved in, that have nothing to do with why the orignal donation was given. I think that when you do charity work you shold be very clear, what the charity I about.

  7. Eric says:

    Having helped families in need, this is the other side of the coin: A family in need goes to the Salvation Army for help (not the store). The Salvation Army will do what they do best…help them and give them what they need. If they need a table and don’t have the money, the SA folks will generally make it happen one way or the other. The store is essentially a retail venture on the front end to create revenue for the SA to provide assistance to the needy on the back end. Often, the store services the needy by providing discounted prices on clothing. Other times, they try to sell stuff at what the market will buy it for. If not, they’ll cut the price until someone does. Ultimately, that money goes back in the pot to help the next family in need. I have brought families in “after hours” and the SA people let them shop for what they need at no cost because they didn’t have a dime and were homeless. Something to chew on.

    • archemdis says:

      Where you go this may be true, but it is not true at the Salvation Army I mentioned and if you go there you will see what I am talking about. I donated to the Salvation Army all the time, before I realized that they were trying to be a normal retail store with their high prices and that their prices had nothing to do with helping anyone in finacial dificulty who needed things. I had no idea that they were selling the things to people at such a high price. Maybe the Salvation Army should be a little more transparent with what it intends to do with things that are donated by people who are hoping to help the needy. I have a friend who got burnt out and was sent to that branch to shop for new things with a voucher; amazingly all that was offered to him were the things with 3 legs or really broken down while all of the other stuff was for sale at the high prices I mentioned and no one offered him a deal.
      If I did not go there to try to get something for a needy friend myself I would say that maybe I could be mistaken, but this was not a case of my lying eyes. The Salvation Army on Sherbroke Street West, also sells things at prices unaffordable to people in need and I do not think that is why people give it to them. People do not donate to the local furniture store to help the needy because that is not what the local store says it does.
      There are a lot of second hand furniture stores that sell things way below the price of the Salvation Army and I now give to them at least they are honest and they really do make deals and try to keep the prices down. I think that it is dishonest at best to give people a false impression of why and for what you are taking their donations. Sorry I would like to take it all back, but what I saw is what I saw. I hope your Salvation Army continues to do the good work that you are talking about, but you are in no position to give me anything to chew on.

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    • archemdis says:

      Hello Mary thanks for reading, my post and thank you for you comments. Wish I had time to change the look and theme around, but alas not enough time in a day. (smile) Have a nice day!

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