You Should Find a 'Bin Store' Near You (2024)

When customers return merchandise to retailers, it often winds up sold at so-called “bin stores” where the prices decline over time—and you can get some serious bargains.

You Should Find a 'Bin Store' Near You (1)

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Once prices go up on merchandise, they rarely—if ever—go back down. Even if the systemic reasons behind their initial rise change or improve, prices typically stabilize at the new, higher point—until the next shock raises them again. Everything is more expensive today than it was just a short time ago, so you probably could use every bargain you can find. One of the best tools for finding discounted items has become a rapidly growing trend around the U.S.: the bin store. Chances are there’s one or more of them near you right now, and the way they operate can translate into incredible savings if you’re willing to put a little effort into their gamified shopping experience.

What is a bin store?

A “bin store” is a store that takes all the overstock, returned, and clearance merchandise that big retailers like Amazon or Target need to get rid of. These stores deal in huge volumes (Americans return a little over $800 billion worth of stuff every year), and need to make room for incoming inventory on a regular basis. Bin stores accept weekly shipments of this unwanted inventory, and then dump it all into categorized bins—hence the name. The stores are typically large retail spaces filled with tables covered in bins, and in each bin is a jumbled collection of similar products (shoes, electronics, clothing, etc.).

Most of these stores then operate on a weekly schedule of declining prices. A typical schedule works like this: They receive a fresh shipment of merchandise on Thursday, so they’re closed. On Friday, they open again, and everything in the store is $12. On Saturday, everything is $10. On Sunday, it’s $8—and so on, until the next Thursday, when they close to restock and the pricing resets.

This turns shopping into a bit of a treasure hunt or a game. If you go on the first day of the cycle, you’ll pay more—but there will be more to choose from, and your chances of getting a bargain on what you're looking for are much higher. Go later in the cycle and you can buy more with your money, but you might have a harder time finding what you want or need. Some bin stores keep a flat price all week, but those are uncommon exceptions.

How to find a bin store near you

Bin stores are a relatively new phenomenon, but they’re multiplying rapidly. There’s probably a bin store near you, and there are a few ways to find them:

  • Websites like Bin Store Finder offer listings by state. Just click on your state to see a list of the bin stores located there.

  • Bin store companies like Opan Bins or Where Ya Bin maintain listings of their locations on their sites as well.

  • Facebook. A lot of bin stores use Facebook as their point of contact, so searching through local listings on the social media platform can help identify bin stores that aren’t in other listings.

Tips for shopping at a bin store

Shopping at bin stores can be chaotic fun, but they don’t operate like other retailers. Aside from the declining prices, which adds an element of strategy to your shopping excursion, there are a few other things to consider in order to amplify the potential savings:

  • It’s physical. The merchandise is dumped into bins, so you’ll need to be ready to dig through piles of boxes and bagged stuff to see what’s there. These stores can get crowded, especially on the first day of the price cycle, so there’s an element of Black Friday energy, as well; be prepared for some jostling and crowding.

  • Scout. Many bin stores post previews of the latest shipments the day before they reopen, and this can give you an idea of what to look for—and where. Noting the physical location of specific bins can help you zero in on the good stuff immediately. Plus, bin stores all have their own policies; for example, some only accept cash. Scout those policies as well so you’re prepared.

  • Inspect. The stuff in these stores is often “like new,” but they can also have defects and damage. Examine everything before you buy it. If it’s boxed, most bin stores have employees who will unbox it for you so you can see what you’re buying.

You Should Find a 'Bin Store' Near You (2024)
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