I’ve had it… Up to there and then some! And I’m going to name names. Since when were charity op shops, (now renamed Thrift shops) suddenly extravagant outlets for ‘Collectors Items” and “Retro Clothing’” Collectors Items no one wants and retro clothing no one wants to wear to boot!.

Poor people have even stopped going to them, they can’t buy a decent pair of old boots, or a warm coat without them being price at double the price you’d pay at Target or Big W.


Yesterday, Lifeline, that huge warehouse style building in my home town, busy with middle class shoppers browsing the (mostly) overpriced goodies. Having just come from a quick squizz around Target and bought a couple of plain white T-shirts for $3 each I thought I might look for a couple more just for lounging around in. And there they were, the exact same t-shirts, all nicely wrapped at “Three for $10”. When I asked about buying just one, the forty something lady with the $100 hairdo and fancy stick on fingernails said ‘ They’re three for $10. If you only want one they’re $5 each.”

And what was this in the furniture department? Lots and lots of not very nice 50’s furniture, made of ply and veneer that needed a complete makeover. Much of it labeled ‘retro 50’s’ and priced at $160 for a bedside table and $250 for a Vietnamese replica bookcase made to look like a Victorian job that I could buy brand new at the Vast Interior for $199.

Oh, Ok, the books, I thought. I read a lot. Masses, What a surprise to find grotty old hardbacks sans dustjackets, with silverfish munching their way through them for the “collectors’ price of $95! When I mentioned at the desk that their books were astronomically priced, the lady said, ‘there are lots of collectors books up there you know. The lady who prices them checks them on the internet before she prices them.” Yeah!

“So how about the soft covers then?” I asked, $8 for a book priced at $12 brand new is a bit rich isn’t it? Especially when it was obviously donated by a book exchange who no longer had any use for it, as it said inside that it had come from the BelleVue Book Exchange, and was priced at $4 crossed out and replaced with a penciled in $8. Underneath the book exchange stamp that said “No Return No Exchange”


Of to St Vinnies. That most famous of all Op Shops run by the St Vincent de Paul Society. Four ladies were ‘sorting’ a large donation that had obviously come in during the last two days or so.

“Oh my Peter would love that! “ Said one, putting aside a rather nice looking Xbox. The others agreed, pulling out their own ‘perks’ and putting price labels on hand knitted bobble hats and baby’s bibs. A lovely old bakelite lamp with a tall flute caught my eye. Asking the price, I was told. “Oh that’s already sold dear..”

Why bother to argue.

Down the road to the huge Endeavor Foundation shop. Hugely busy and at last, a shop where the variety was massive, the prices fair and there were actually poor people shopping for their little bits and pieces. My heart warmed.


A pretty Dutch, or German girl was smiling at the counter, chatting with all and sundry as she served them.

Garda, my partner filled up bags of cast off wool and sewing bits she uses to cross stitch, and wandered up to the counter laden with some nice paperbacks I could never afford to keep up with, all at the very reasonable price of $2 each.

I asked the young lady if she came across any old newspapers, from the 20’s 30’s 40’s or 50’s, any old magazines or illustrated books. I don’t care about the condition, I scan and preserve them digitally. Unlike the Lifeline, and St Vincent’s stores where I was treated like some kind of idiot, this lovely girl not only offered to keep the for me and give me a call, but said she had a friend who had lots and she would photograph them for me. Ah the spirit of charity at last. Well done Endeavor Foundation, and Yah Boo Suck to the OP/THRIFT shops that no longer provide for the poor to buy their cheap bits and pieces and clothing.

There was one other organization that came out in a good light too. The good old SALVOS. Beautifully laid out shop with the same old style volunteer staff, and prices that even we poor people can afford. But sad to say that even the Salvos are jumping on the ’boutique’ ‘retro’ ‘vintage’ bandwagon.


Not in my town, but in the cities, and it is in the cities where the real poor live. What little money the poor have to spend, let them spend it on cheap, donated goods, given with open hearts and open hands by the community. Otherwise, the community will soon stop giving to these organizations. It’s cheaper to buy at garage sales.

Sure, they may do a great job (they say) distributing food and cash to the poor, but how about those poor who just want to fend for themselves without feeling they have to beg on their knees for a handout.?

Named.. and I hope SHAMED!

  1. July 4, 2013 at 12:49 am

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  2. April 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    I live in Townsville Marj and really was quite astounded, as I don’t often go to op shops. The Lifeline shop (warehouse) here is massive, and has huge stock. It speaks to the demise of the old style ‘second hand shop’. Those little, cluttered old second hand shops have pretty much gone now. If Lifeline want to do what they are doing I would suggest that they start a “collectors’ web page, and perhaps open their doors to “dealer only ‘ days where licensed dealers can come and purchase the collectors items for resale, and raise money for the real purpose of these charities, (to provide cheap goods for the less well off.) Cases of porcelain dolls, wedgewood and famous name pottery dinner services etc don’t belong in op shops locked in display cases! There is little point pricing tatty old books at $95 just because a collectors website says that a mint copy or even a good or fair copy is worth X. Just because a book is dated 1939 doesn’t make it valuable. Books that you find in newsagents bins at 3 for $5 priced at $4 each! Ridiculous.

  3. April 13, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I have not yet struck that. I’ve had books from Op Shops from 20c to $2.00, rarely more. So I guess it’s mostly cities. They get their stock from donations – to over-price it afterwards is pretty jolly poor!

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