So it was national op shop week last week! Initiated by the charity Do Something, the week aimed to highlight the shortage in clothing donations to charity stores. Among the reasons for the shortage outlined in Do Something’s press release is that people tend to hold onto their possessions when the economy is tight. I suppose that’s a plausible reason.. but it’s also the case that rather than donate their preloved clothes to op shops, many people are opting to sell them on sites like eBay. It’s also probable that the cost of running charity stores is higher than its ever been before, so there is a greater need to turnover more stock than ever before.. which in turn requires more stock than ever before! Whatever the reasons, the shortage remains, and we ought to do more to address the shortfall.
When Melbourne radio station 3AW posted about this need on their website, fellow op-shop addict Kelly Wayne was rightfully maddened by some the comments it elicited. A number of commenters complained they didn’t have time to donate to stores because they worked Monday to Friday (apparently they hadn’t heard of this thing called Saturday when most op-shops are open). Others complained they were fined for dumping rubbish when they’d left bags of goods outside the doors of the charity shop when it was closed.
To be fair to these commenters, among us op-shop addicts it is well understood that dumping goods outside a shop when it’s closed is a big no-no, yet judging by the amount of comments complaining about these kind of issues there clearly needs to be better communication and education about when, where and how to responsibly donate goods. Perhaps op shops need large signs on the door over the weekend that warns donators that this is an offense and drawing their attention to their opening hours. Some shops do this already, but clearly not enough and not clearly enough.
There is a perception that donating is hard…. it’s not. A little research, a little effort and donation is pretty easy. Websites like Find a bin make it so. And those of us who are in the know need to do our bit as well to educate or even offer to take donations to stores on behalf of others who find it difficult to do it themselves.
I wasn’t able to get out and about much during op shop week because I’ve been tucked up at home with a pretty horrid sinus infection, but I did manage to pop into my local Salvos for a quick look and picked up a sweet blue winter skirt for $3 from the half price orange tag rack. I have to confess that I didn’t follow my 4th golden rule of op-shopping (try it on, always try it on!).. but fortunately it fits like a glove!
I’ve enjoyed seeing my fellow op-shoppers ‘op-shop week’ finds on facebook and twitter over the past seven days, I hope you had a good one too!