Over on Punky & Me, Vic told a great story of how she got a vintage bargain out from under the nose of a very disgruntled Op shop manager that by the sounds very nearly didn't hand the item back to purchase!
As I have said I have a very large selection of Op shops in my vicinity so I can afford to be choosy as to where I shop. Some are wannabe boutiques and antique stores. Some are poky little church setups with part-time hours. Some cavernous and cold, some full of what would have been discards from other Op shops, some large organisations, some stand alone locally run.
Some are manned by ex-professional women in high power style. While I am perusing I am often just as entertained by the volunteers conversations. In posh parts it is hard not to giggle as they try to one up themselves with talk of their holidays abroad or postcards received from children or grandchildren abroad. It seems to be a recurring theme whenever I am in one of "those". Very Mrs Bucket! (Sorry... Bouquet). The attitude is also one of Doing one's Duty or Charity for the Poor People. Others are run by your average Mum or Granny next door types that fumble with new fanged cash registers and get by with a notepad or book for arithmatic and recording purchases. Much more down to earth types. Then there are those that do it to get something out of it for themselves. First pickings. Those that begrudge a bargain or something delightful for anyone else.
I have heard stories of a worker whose house was chock-a-block of anything "good" that came through her store. Not to be used or delighted in, just because she got it first.
In contrast to Vic's story, my opinion of one of my favourite Op shops was reinforced when I overheard a conversation between one old duck who was pricing, and the Scottish manager/ minister? and between a volunteer and another customer. He has always been so nice whenever I have been there. Very friendly and helpful, always talks to the kids if they are with me, lets them choose a little toy or something for free (even when I'd rather they didn't lol). There is a rack of yesterday's bread, bagged and free for the taking. Shelves, boxes and clothing racks out the front for $1 with still very useable items.
They have a nice selection of vintagey things at reasonable prices and regular stuff at very cheap prices. This is how the conversation went. Volunteer, "How about $5 on this", Manager, "no that's too much. We could mark things like that but then we wouldn't get the people in that we are trying to help."
I was admiring a couple of very reasonable priced silver and gold rings in a cabinet ($30-$40). The volunteer told me how they have a retired gentleman come in and price things for them, below retail.
(Unlike an opshop last week where a "silverplated" necklace, obviously donated from a closed down shop new, was priced at $95!! I'd expect solid silver at that price!) Then I overheard how a gentleman, spent his Saturdays garage sailing, finding nice vintage or antique things cheap for the shop each week. How nice is that! He gets the fun of finding some treasures that then benefits others. That is just such a breath of fresh air to hear about the real spirit of charity (the pure love of Christ and for one another). Not selfishness or duty or Do-gooding, but people who genuinely care for others. And if I buy a little more there than at others, there's a good reason. I have no doubt that my donation is being paid forward and I never walk away feeling ripped off or disgruntled.
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