(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)
• 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).