Sunday, May 18, 2008

Opportunity for whom exactly?

I had cause to visit a Salvos in one of Melbourne's more well to do suburbs on Friday.

I was astounded to find things marked fairly heftily pricewise in this particular store. For example, $40 - $50 for dresses (not designer) $50 for a pair of jeans (admittedly Calvin Klein but not the most modern of styles) and a whopping $1500 for a cabinet containing glass and china (and it was just the cabinet not the glass and the china).

Which, in the words of Carrie Bradshaw, ala Sex in the City, "got me to thinking".

Who exactly is supposed to be benefiting more from the op shop - the potential shopper or the charity itself? Is it acceptable for the thrift store to hike its prices to meet its perceived market?

Perhaps controversially I see the situation as one which should benefit the shopper more than the charity. After all, the charity is given the stuff for nothing by those wanting to benefit the charity.

Yes there are treasure hunters out there looking to secure a bargain. I have been one from time to time (I have a penchant for tuppaware and sewing stuff at the moment).

In all reality many op shoppers frequent the stores as they absolutely have to.

And those are the people for whom the op shop should cater above all. It is through finding appropriate goods at a cheaper price that they benefit from the "opportunity" shop directly and easily without waiting for funds to trickle back down to them via other charitable means.

Don't get me wrong, I do understand that running any shop is a big business. There are some expenses which have to be paid irrespective of whether or not the business runs on the goodwill of volunteers.

In the case of many op shops in Melbourne however, I understand that the op shops actually own their premises.

I suppose too, if the market will pay the price, ultimately at least some of the money will end up in the hands of those requiring charity. Whether or not the people who need it the most I am not sure.

I suppose I just don't have the answers!


CurlyPops said...

That is a very good question!
Another thing I've noticed is that St Vinnies in my area are a lot cheaper than the Salvos and Red Cross for similar items.

jessi said...

I loved this post. I have often though the same thing in thrift stores - especially when I see things on the shelves week after week and I think that the store would have sold the item already if they had priced it lower and didn't they get it for free anyway? Isn't it better for them to price things lower and keep things moving because it's all profit for them anyway - I actually think they would make more money this way!

Elisha said...

I love op shops! And i have to admit i must be lucky, living in the country i have found all the op shops around here are indeed low prices! 1-2-3 bucks generally for clothes and the furniture is dirt cheap too - It is a shame to hear the city shops so heavily priced - sad really.

I tagged you! Please forgive me, im new to the tagging thing and i dont read LOADS of blogs so i chose the only 6 i do read!! Ha Ha.

BigCat said...

Great post and well said. I was having this same conversation with my Mum the other day. "Opportunity" is what I am looking for when I shop in Op Shops.

Your blog is such a great read by the way. I so enjoy your take on things.