Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Death and Nudity: The Ruder Side of Op Shopping

(Hi everyone...this is my first post on this [rad] blog. It's one that has previously appeared on my blog)

When I began op shopping about 12 years ago, I was but a wee bairn. I’d come home with plastic bags straining against the weight of cheap Kurt Cobain-esque (or at least so I thought at the time…they may have been manufactured by Katies) cardigans and ‘old man pants’ which were neither ‘retro’ nor sanitary.

All of this was much to my mother’s chagrin. As I stumbled through the door with yet another crap-jackpot, she would raise two main objections:

1) That thing may have belonged to a person who is now dead, and/or:
2) That thing may have touched someone’s “rude parts”

Of course I responded with the level of maturity you’d expect from an 11 year old; somewhere between ‘But mu-uuuuuummmmmm’ and ‘Who cares?’

But I do ponder these fears every once in a while, and now I raise the question – to what extent do such objections, raised so often by those who don’t frequent op shops, matter?

For my part, the first objection doesn’t worry me in the slightest. I’d like to think that when I shuffle off this mortal coil, someone will have a field day at my local op shop, allowing my greatest sartorial moments to live again. Rather than seeing the recycling of clothing once belonging to the dearly departed as somehow macabre or unclean, I think it’s a good, and – dare I use a term so cheesy – “life affirming” thing. Let’s face it, many of the things in op shops did end up there as the result of a posthumous clean out of someone’s home/wardrobe. Better that these things have new life breathed into them than end up on the scrapheap, I say.

However, the second one has me vaguely more concerned (and look, vague does mean vague…nothing is going to stop me pouncing on the architectural magnificence of a 50s bathing suit). Where is the best place to draw the line? Here is my own personal Acceptable and Unthinkable list of Questionable Items:


• Shoes (unless they have a bad odour)

• Sleepwear (yes, I wash it)
• Bras (but they would have to be Really Awesome, and a good scrub would be in order)
• Sheets (wooooo, controversial! A wash here goes without saying)
• Wigs
• Swimwear (but again, it has to be particularly cool for me to go there…same goes for bodysuits/leotards)


• Undies/knickers/"g-strings" (and yes, some op shops do sell these - WHO IS BUYING THEM?)

• Socks and Hosiery (there’s just no need to go there)
• Sneakers (peee-yew! Unless they’re new)

Yep, that’s it. Can’t think of anything else that doesn’t reach the necessary hygiene benchmark.

But what about you? Are there things that are just too gross or too ‘personal’ for you to buy at the oppy? Or do you have what I call the ‘Statue of Liberty’ approach to op shops, namely:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me”

(Though I don’t know how ‘free’ you’d be breathing if you gleefully housed someone else’s undies, but perhaps that’s just my Outrageous Standards talking).


Kim said...

Interesting question! For me no-go zones are all underwear, swimwear, cosmetics and perfumes and hair accessories. I do buy second-hand socks for my kids though if in good nick.

Amelia said...

I bought a barely used MAC eye shadow in Benalla a few weeks ago. I took a knife and scraped the entire surface off - that's hygienic enough for me. I'm really enjoying wearing the colour!

Tui said...

I draw the line at bras, underwear, sneakers, swimwear and anything that smells sweaty. (Once I bought a gorgeous tailored '50s jacket that was unwearable due to a noxious underarm odour that only became obvious when it was worn/warm.) However, I'm happy to buy pre-loved bathers and even socks for my kids if they're in good condition, which I guess makes me a bit of a hypocrite.

MildlyCrafty said...

Used underwear = ewww!

CurlyPops said...

The only things I won't buy are underwear, hosiery, swimwear and socks. Everything else is fair game (or my gain).

nikkishell said...

knickers. Most other things are fair game but it depends on the condition it's in.

Stephanie said...

I can't do anything cosmetic-ish, hosiery, knickers, socks & bathers.
I am cautious of hats, shoes & sleepwear.
As for bedlinen... well, that's my favourite thing EVER - there's a lot to be said for a good soak, wash & airing in the sunshine. I dig sheets ;)

Dani said...

Definitely no underwear or cosmetics. Sneakers are gross. No socks or hosiery, by the time they'd been soaked in canestan wash they'd be cheaper to buy new.
Sheets are definitely in though. Awesome source of fabric and a good wash and airing will suffice for me.

Stephanie said...

Maybe hosiery if you wanted to make those funny faces that grass grows out of to make hair?! Or for tying up tomatoes?! ;)

Stephanie said...

By the way, this is one of my favourite posts on this blog!