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Family can't afford Christmas tree

READ MORE: Family can't afford Christmas tree
WILMINGTON -- A New Hanover County man who was recently laid off from his job is upset over how he was treated when he went to a local charity to buy a Christmas tree for his family. Not only did he leave empty handed, he says he felt insulted. It's been a rough few weeks for David Shepherd and his family. He lost his job as a painter and has barely had enough money to feed his wife and three girls, much less buy them a Christmas tree. So he went to the Goodwill Community Foundation hoping to find a deal. Shepherd said, "I explained to her that I had X amount of dollars to purchase this tree, but I did not have enough for what they were asking for this tree Before I could even get finished, she cut me off and said, 'Well we don't do that, that's against our policy.'" Shepherd said he only had $15, half the amount he needed to purchase the $30 tree. While he was willing to spend all he had, he said the GCF employee wouldn't negotiate and even told him anyone could come up with a sob story around the holidays. "It just upset me because she just blatantly cut me off, and more or less called me a liar." Shepherd said he was humiliated, and his youngest daughter left the store in tears. "I had to try to explain to her why we couldn't get a tree, and it's hard to explain to a five-year-old that daddy don't have enough money." Good Community Foundation Director Stephen Snyderman says he regrets the situation wasn't handled more tactfully, but says GCF doesn't negotiate on price. "The manager or any employee doesn't have the authority to lower the price upon request, that wouldn't be fair to the other customers, it's not a negotiation process," Snyderman said. Snyderman says GCF uses the money it makes in the thrift store to provide jobs and training to people with disabilities or other employment obstacles. While he regrets GCF wasn't able to help the Shephards, he says it is helping train 174 students in New Hanover County make a better life for themselves. Snyderman said, "Sometimes we're confused with the Salvation Army and other organizations that do provide disaster relief for emergencies and other personal services, and that's not our mission." While GCF can't help this particular family our managers here at NewsChannel 3 have agreed to purchase the Shephards a Christmas tree. We hope to meet up with them a little later this week to go tree shopping.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.



If all of you were in the store, why didnt you step up and give him a dollar each so he could buy it?


I don't think this man went to news for freebies. I think the thing he was upset about is the way he was treated. If you could not help fine I understand they might not be able to lower the price but you can do it nicely. They could have given them some ideas where they could get a cheaper one. They did not have to call him a liar. I don't think anyone wants to tell people they lost their jobs just to get something extra that they don't need. I had to go get help from salvation army to get help for xmas last year so my family was doing good up til a month ago. The sign up was over but I tried calling and because I did not know I would need help in oct-beg nov I was told they could not help me very rudely. I am not mad because they can't help but people should not talk to other people so rudely. I don't talk to people that way and I don't think they should neither

you are only looking at this

you are only looking at this from his side. I was shopping in the store at the time Mr. Shepard was there. The Goodwill associates were not rude and they did not call him a liar. the gentleman in question was the one that was yelling and very rude to them. He keep talking and the associate patiently listen. No she could not help him along with hundreds of other people that come in with the same story. I told them that they had a lot more patience than I would have. They just smiled at me. People you can not believe everything someone says. Unfortunetly we are not all honest. I think Mr. Shepard completed his mission, to get what he could. By the way his daughter was not crying like he said!

Someone else commented they

Someone else commented they were there as well and said the story happened just like Mr. Shepard said, crying daughter and all. So who are we to believe now? You? Them? I reckon the people at GW better step up their customer service skills regardless.

Goodwill IS NOT a "charity"!!

People are under the impression that "Goodwill" is a charitable organization much like the Salvation Army. It is not! The Salvation Army assists many people in so many ways. I have needed help in the past while raising my three children as a single parent. They have assisted me in obtaining food, clothing and furniture AT NO COST TO ME! Wake up people! "Goodwill" is only a name for them. It's a great marketing strategy, don't you think? Now for all those speaking about this father needing to get his priorities in order. His priority is his child. Which one of you wants to tell this little girl that Santa won't be coming to see her this year. He can go see everyone else but her. There is a SLIGHT chance that she won't blame herself for being "bad". And no, I'm not forgeting that the true meaning of Christmas is celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior. I just remember the year that my ex-husband told my 8-year-old daughter and my 5-year-old son that Santa "wasn't real" because he did not have "Christmas" for them as promised. They were crushed. That was the first, and the last, time they spent Christmas Eve with him.

I was in the store..

I was actually at the Goodwill store when all of this happened. The ASSociate who was speaking to Mr Sheperd was very rude to him. As well as was the ASSistant Store manager. His daughter ranout the door crying, not only because of the tree situation but because this man was being spoken to at not such a nice tone. Goodwill as stated below by many folks, gets all of their merchandise DONATED. Keyword DONATED people! What is the difference between giving the DONATED item to a man for $15 instead of $30? That is $15 more dollars then they had before!! HELLO!!! Wake up people!!! I tried to reach the guy after he ran out after his daughter but it was too late he was in his ar and pulling out. I plan on helping make them have a great Christmas some how. I will no longer donate to Goodwill...I will now only donate to the Salvation Ar-mani (as we all like to call it). I am sure the chairmen of Goodwill and their $100,000 salaries will have mutiple trees up in their luxurious houses. Such a shame!

well I was in the store at

well I was in the store at the same time. I did not see what you saw. The man was the one rude to the associates. He did not give them a chance to hardly say anything. There were other trees in the store for him to choose that were cheaper. Why did he not pick one? The associate tried to talk to him, but everytime she said something, he would rudley cut her off. As for his daughter she was not crying in the store. He did jerk her out of the store by her arm(maybe this was why she was crying). I know that what they do for one they have to do for everybody else, this is only fair. Mr. Shepard is not the only man in Wilmington that needs help.Just remember people there are two sides to every story. I will continue to shop and donate to Goodwill.

Sorry I forgot to comment on

Sorry I forgot to comment on the 3 letter vocabulary you have. Not so suttle. It did show me Mr. Brady what type of person you are.


Goodwill is not a charity, they provide jobs and job training for people with disabilities and disadvantaging circumstances. They offer free, online computer, technology and life skills training program, offers a variety of tutorials, videos and online classes in English and Spanish to help adults acquire the skills they need to improve the quality of their lives. Computer Basics, Internet & Email Basics, Math & Money Basics, and Microsoft Office applications. They teach job-seeking skills, how to maintain a job and developing the social skills necessary to the workplace. Without this those people would be on welfare and sitting around useless. Goodwill sells their stuff cheap and i have no problem with them not lowering a price for this man. Perhaps this man can get a job there seems he appears to have disadvantaged circumstances. I would have taken my kids out in the woods and cut a small tree. Why did he feel the need to contact the news???? Probably because he wanted the freebies is is now getting. A LOT of people can not afford a tree, big deal, its only a tree. I have a tree and I only put it up for my grand daughter. I could care less. Ho ho ho.

Hope for the Best

Hopefully there will be something good come from all of this on both sides. I live close by the store in the junction area, and bought a few clothes there a time or two, I past by the store daily and they always have a good amount of cars in the parking lot. I've been to the other store and it's the same way, so they have to be making a good amount of money on the donated goods. If your christmas is good, pray for the people that is not having it so good. God Bless


Did anyone else notice that WWAY did a story on the 12th about GCF also? See "Not all thrift stores support charities". They praise GCF and use Mr. Snyderman for their story one day and then the next day report this. Interesting...


Thank God WWAY is helping them! I was gonna give them my artificial one because I got a real one this year. My God, what does it hurt to help someone. I wont ever go to Goodwill now since I read this story. And for the man who is complaining about his wife decorating so much..have another beer buddy because you sound lazy as hell. Merry Christmas!!

A turkey instead ??

Ok, Goodwill did not lower the price of their tree, maybe "dad" should take his $15.00 and go to Harris Teeter and demand they lower the price of the turkeys. If Harris Tetter refuses to bow to this man's wishes maybe we can beat up on them too. How about WalMart or Target ?? If their low low prices are not low enough for this family, maybe we should call the national news........... Come on WWAY, I'm one of your biggest fans but think you "blew it" this time. Businesses exists to make money, not give away their product just because it is the Christmas season. If you can't afford it, do without. If that is not good enough for you, work harder. That is the American way.......... or it used to be.

Cold Hearted

You are very cold hearted and I hope you have a very unhappy Christmas. You deserve it.

I'd say that he's spot on

Don't misinterpret his healthy grasp of economic reality with being cold. If you can't afford it, you do without it. It really IS that simple!

Shame on WWAY

Shame on WWAY for trying to take down an organization like GCF. This is an example of renegade reporting followed by an attempt to make yourself look good(see last line of news story). Tasteless. As for GCF, the response from Mr. Snyderman was not sufficient. I would have apologized for the situation and provided the family with the tree and other items from the store. I would also make an attempt to show some "goodwill" towards the people of the community and not just use their money for job training.

Goodwill's Contributions to the Wilmnington Community

Goodwill does support the Wilmington community. We donated $10,000 to a Wilmington sheltered workshop to provide work for people with disabilities. We have also donated $288,000 to Carolina Canines for Service, another organization in Wilmington that trains helper dogs that enable people with disabilities to live independent lives. In addition to the 174 people taking our training now in Wilmington, there were hundreds of others that preceded them and countless thousands of others who have availed themselves of this free training in the rest of North Carolina.

Sounds like hand-out season again....

First off, we are only getting one side of the story as to what was actually said in the store. The "victim" seems to think he is owed a deal because he was probably raised to believe this. Yeah, it's the season of giving but at what point does a business have to cut their profit so this family can have a Merry Christmas. My wife says that when she was a kid that they never had any money, Mom was single and raising her, that every Christmas they would just wait until Christmas Eve and then go get the tree. They would spend the evening decorating and spending time with each other and that is the point of Christmas. Most of the time people would just give it to them. If you only have 15.00 to your name maybe the tree is not what you "need". Lighten up on Goodwill, its News when there is controversy. The only one making controversy is this "victim".

What's the big deal? Tree or no tree?

My wife wants to put up a live Christmas tree, and lights outside each and every year. Water the tree every day so it don't dry out and pose a fire hazzard. Don't forget to mix the room temp water with room temp Sprite, and add in an asprin. Fix all the burnt out lights, or buy new ones, so we can do the same thing all over again next year because all the new ones bought this year won't work next year. Our boys are grown and could care less about this ritual. I agree with them. Why take all this time and effort to put this crap up and then have to take it all down a month later? I believe as long as we celebrate Christmas for the right reason, we are doing what is most important, and it doesn't take all the hoop la of trees and lights and a billion other things that cost hard earned bucks to accomplish celebrating the real reason for the season.

Heard this story

Yes, next you are visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future. Then, you have a change of heart and give the Cratchet family generous gifts. Tiny Tim lives!

christmas tree

Have another beer buddy! and cheer up. Santa is coming soon!!

Hope you don't have any

Hope you don't have any grandkids, Scroogy

Scrooge Scrooge Scrooge

You know.. SO many of you people are blasting this guy. Forget about him for a minute... This "charity" (money making scam) has only a commercial lease, low hourly wages, insurance (not health mind you..) and utilities as overhead. That is about 1/3 of what most companies spit out even a 501c6 non-profit entity. ALL items are strictly DONATED. So their profit margin is 100%. What is the big deal about a clerk being a little more pleasant, going and telling a manager the asituation and still making a 100% profit. That's what the heck is wrong with Christmas.. It's all gone commercial and to profits. Here is your Bah Humbug Good Will (or not so much Good Will), And this attitude of I'm Mr. Mean... he made his bed and should lie in it attitude is exactly what is wrong with our nation righ now. Negativity and resentment everywhere. At least comunist countries work as a team.. We in the U.S.? Have stooped way below that in our morals. Be thankful for what you have, stop kicking the little man, give a little and Merry Christmas...



False information

So much for your huffing and puffing! The company does NOT make "100% profit". All those things you mentioned, salary, insurance, etc, comes out of what money is brought in. A non-profit organization spends ALL the money it brings in on the business all aspects of the business. "Profit" is any amount over and beyond business expense. Get a serious clue and education. Andrew

Goodwill Employment

I must respond to these comments. Goodwill employees earn excellent salaries and benefits including health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, vacation, sick leave and pension. Goodwill has made it possible for countless individuals to free them selves from government entitlements and take charge of their lives because are able to earn a living wage.

Goodwill Sliderman

Hey Mr. and Mrs. Snyderman how much money do you make from this charity organization? Its public record please tell us. 100k each? 150?

family with out a tree!

you know i have read these comments on here an i just cannot believe what some have said it is just unbelievable ..i take it they are the ones that have never been with out an what i mean by that i have been in this man shoes layed off from work worring about how i was going to take care of my kids an it is hard tring to explain to younge kids why they cant get something specially at christmas.when i was younger an my parents couldnt afford to get us nothing for christmas me an my sisters would cry but now we understand why an they way gas prices are an living is everything is so exspensive now there is assistance out there for food so say he got that help his family is being he had is last $15 an wanted a chritmas tree for his children .well you know what i see it like this that man was thinking of his kids doing it for his kids ,there are alot of people out here that dont even care about their children an here this man was just tring to make his kids happy.

when I was a kid I would

when I was a kid I would have had $15 worth of toys than a stupid tree

I remember years ago, as a

I remember years ago, as a child, we were not in the best financial situation. My dad left my mother with 2 girls. We never asked anyone for anything, but at Christmas I knew we didn't have the extra money, so I went out into the woods and cut down a small pine tree. It looked great to us! (Biggest problem now, we don't have as many woods)