Friday, 25 January 2008


So what's the deal with Savers? Is it an op shop or not? I must admit that I was reluctant to put them on the op shop list until some one pointed out that their proceeds go to Diabetes Australia (and contributing to charity is one of op shopping's charms for me). Then I discovered a great new blog the other day - The Vintage Detective - which alerted me that the charity partners (ie Diabetes Australia and apparently YMCA) receive as little as 3 per cent of the eventual retail price.

Hmm, does Savers deserve its op shop status? Perhaps I'll put a little note in there about their commercial arrangements. Debate welcome in the comments!


Stephanie said...

Hi Amelia & friends,
Thanks for the invitation to contribute, I would LOVE to! I have posted more op-shop loveliness on my newly renovated blog for you to peruse for now!
Savers still has some charm in terms of the fact that you're recycling and finding one-offs, but I have found they are generally over-priced. Plus, nothing beats being in a little op-shop run by lovely people who volunteer their time and genuinely want to give back to the community & charity. I shopped at Mawarra op-shop in my hometown of Warragul last week, and a lady was in there with her severely disabled young daughter. The lovely elderly lady in the shop played with the little girl while her mum shopped. When they left and I was served, the lady said, "that's what this shop is all about - we give all our money to Mawarra, who help out little girls like that."
I think I teared up a little then and there... :)

Amelia said...

i completely agree stephanie, shopping in savers was a very impersonal experience. it was just like being in a supermarket. i would much rather be down at my local (or discovering someone else's local) and having a chat.

Anonymous said...

Savers has none of the charm and wonder of a little local oppy. BUT. If a major reason to op-shop is to avoid buying anything new (which is a big incentive for me) then Savers is alright.

Tanja said...

I don't consider Savers to be a 'real' op-shop. They are simply a chain store which sells second-hand goods. The prices are insanely expensive, and the whole experience leaves me cold. I think op-shops should be giving back to the community - both in their profits and in providing used goods at a price which everyone can afford.

Amelia said...

well, i actually found the prices really good, at least for the things that i purchased. two sets of 4 cross-stitch embroidered napkins, $1.99 each set, a vintage silk scarf and a very fine woollen scarf (deep red with white polka dots), $0.99 each. oh, and a thai silk wrap skirt in black and gold for $7.99. i didn't look more closely at the rest of the clothes though. i'll leave them on the list with a note about their commercial aspect.

Stephanie said...

Savers is a bit daunting to me. It's like a supermarket of second hand things. I have only shopped at the Brunswick Savers on Sydney Rd & I think all the good stuff is bought by dealers and vintage-searchers who can get there early in the morning (when I am at work!)
I think this Savers' prices are approx. the same as the Salvos. Vinnies are generally well-priced... but country op-shops are the best for price & vintage finds. I like that they often throw in something for free or 10 cents, and they can be flexible with pricing... I doubt Savers would be like that!
This is a great convo, I've enjoyed reading all the comments.

Drewzel said...

Funny you should bring this topic up, I was just discussing this with my husband yesterday, as I was sorting out my vintage china, and saying how I've paid 99c for some pieces and $20 for others at Savers.

I must say, I love my local used to be an old department store and as such, that's how I think of it. A recycled department store. I like shopping there basically because if I'm looking for something specific, I can go to the section and check it out before I spend my bucks on something new. However, as others have pointed out, it's impersonal, and shopping there often makes me cross. I always end up wandering around muttering to myself "You're dreamin'" when I see some of the price tags, or getting the wind knocked out of me when I pick up a perfect Art Deco plate and see the price tag is $15! The pricing seems to have huge disparities, I put it down to that it depends on whoever's working on the day and whether they think they're an antiques expert or not.

The other day I was in there and they had a perfect 1930s art deco mantle clock, which I got excited about and rushed over to check it out...and it was $259!! I nearly fell over! And to add insult to injury they'd stuck their price sticker on the wood, so removing it would rip off some of the veneer's varnish! (Don't get me started on those bloody price stickers!)

So, yep, I always feel like I'm supporting a corporation rather than a charity by shopping there, but on the other hand, I've found some good stuff, dirt cheap, so I drop in regularly to check it out. And if buying 2nd hand helps then war against mass produced plastic crap, then I'm all for it.

Oh, and in answer to the question posted, I do think it's worth putting in the op-shop category, if only to support recycling, and the possibility of a great find for a bargain cost!

Drewzel said...

Damn, I meant to put the link in my comment. Pic of the facade of Frankston Savers previous incarnation, alas now gone. (but the lift still has nice 60s wood panelling.)

Anonymous said...

I've noted huge disparities between prices, too. Manky kids polar fleece tops for about $8.99 and lovely old hand-stitched aprons for $2. Bags with half-a-dozen balls of wool in ugly colours for $8 or $9 and a charming Pyrex bowl for $1.99. It's hard to figure out any system to the pricing. And don't get me started on the clueless checkout chicks who can barely grunt out a hello! For this reason, I don't classify it as a true "oppie". But if I'm in the area, I sometimes pop in (then usually leave shortly after, feeling cross). PS Thanks for the forum. I've only just stumbled on your blog. Nice work.

honey said...

Frankston Savers is hands-down my favourite op shop, even though I live closest to the Brunswick Savers. I've read the article in The Age and know how how much they mark things up, but I also know they buy unsorted bags of stuff from charities that don't have time to sort them themselves (or run their own op shops). So not much back to charity, true, but some good does come out of it. And the most important bit (for me): they're open 'till 9pm on Thursdays and Fridays.

I work really late on Thursdays and sometimes drive to Brunswick Savers on my way home. That's really the best time to find good stuff, in case anyone's wondering. Don't bother going to Brunswick on a weekend. Picked over with a capital P.

I've been to most Savers in Melbourne, and Frankston is the cream of the crop. The quality of things I have found there continues to astound me - perhaps because the Frankston population is full of nannas with the same taste as me in linens, dishes and scarves. I don't get there often because it's so far away, but I always come away with *something*.

Now that I've written an essay, perhaps I should post some of my Frankston Savers goodies.

Drewzel said...

Honey, Franky Savers is my local, and as you say, the nannas of the Frankston area did some really lovely embroidery and had some nice china! :P
I'd love to see some of your finds!

Dani said...

Savers is almost an op shop. Not quite but also not as bad as an actual second hand dealer.
As long as it's recycling it's more ideologically sound than buying new anyway. Have to agree about the price discrepancies. While I've seen a lot of over priced things at Savers (Which also applies to Vinnies and Salvos), I've picked up some great bargains too. Like my son's $9 2 wheeler bike with training wheels.

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