Thursday, 24 July 2008

Treasure Troves in Cheltenham

Do you long for the old Salvation Army 50 cent bins? Do you miss the thrill of the chase in those cluttered old op shops?

After much recent disappointment about the commercial nature of surging op shop chains, I have struggled to find op shops that fill me with the passion I used to feel when I found a bargain. With chains like the Salvo's now staffing their stores with paid staff, and clothing with price tags of $20+ I have been struggling to find my Op Shop Mo Jo. However today I discovered two delightful op shops in Cheltenham. These charity shops are run solely by volunteers and every cent of the money you pay goes to the charity. They are the kind of shops that leave you gasping for breath when you walk in the door. The cheer magnitude of clutter and clothing overwhelms you to the point where you can't help but dive in and find a bargain. With traditional values such as the 50cent racks and volunteers that make you laugh, what more could you ask for. Although I will always venture into The Salvos, Vinnies or similar stores, these two shops are now on my priority list. Although the Volunteers were not quite happy when I mentioned how glad I was to find an 'old school' op shop, I think their values are long forgotten. Take a trip this week and warm away the winter blues with a dive into a bargain bin or two. If your like me, it's a great relief after shopping at op shops which are fast looking like Bourke St Mall.

Australian Animal Protection Society
22 Station Road Cheltenham

Cheltenham Opportunity Shop
Across the Street!


Jayne said...

Ohhh yes, I certainly miss those cluttered old school op shops!
Thanks for the review, I'll have to pop down for a sticky beak soon! :)

Pear tree cottage! said...

While I understand the "feelings" of the missing op-shops from the past I did sit here wondering why many have changed and then thinking back to a moment in time when customers started making claims AND GETTING THEM against the op-shops for a cut finger on an old piece of china, a trip over something lying on the floor, even a ripped muscle carrying goods out the door what a waste of precious resources. I was thinking how much more the money that is made at op-shops these days has to now cover such things like that and when it comes to those who honestly "need help" I understand why the mess is tidy now and why the prices have gone up. Still you can grab a bargain in the "new lines" too, I did see curtains yesterday new never used original price over $120.00 a pair now $12.75 now that is a bargain! for a first time flat for sure!


Miss Eagle said...

Joanne, I am overdue for a trip over that way so thank you. Will pay a visit. Hi to Jayne and Lee-anne. I think Joanne's comments counter-balanced by Lee-anne's "real politic" could lead to some real discussion here. Question 1: Do you think the customer profile of op shops has changed? I am thinking that once upon a time poor people would be in there buying the clothes - but to-day it is all sorts because of the value and type of goods that our society is dropping off at op shops; because vintage is fashionable; because people understand they can rejig op shop clothes and other items into something unique. Question 2: Is the op shop of the Cheltenham variety attracting the discovery shopper? In other words, people are shopping at these shops - in preference to the sanitized professional shops - because of the sense of discovery, achievement, uniqueness when they find something they value. It would be interesting to know what is happening in the op shop economy and market place, don't you think? But perhaps the volunteer based ones aren't keeping statistics and the professional ones will be keeping their statistics as trade secrets.

Blessings and bliss

Stacey said...

Interesting discussion going on here!
The two shops mentioned are two of my favourites and I go there regularly. The old, dusty, search out the finds nature of them is definitely one of the big attractions (that and I love the Op Shop sign).
I can imagine there is some sort of public liability insurance required by all retailers, which of course is yet another overhead, but surely there is some sort of not for profit insurance coverage available? It would be a shame to see all Op Shops go the same way as some of the larger chains whereby things to to a central distribution centre, rather than become stock in the very shop to which they were donated.

Pear tree cottage! said...

I am just loving the "chat" this post brings to the "round table"

I agree that op-shops are changing and that with many you will walk into a shop that smells nice and clean and is such a pleasure to work in all day and that they move out items if they do not sell in their store, sending them to another and that also has to be a good thing don't you think.

I know of many old dusty shops were things never change but after awhile you just feel like not going back the hunt is truly just not there even if it looks like it could be.

I am showing my cards here now by telling you I work in one of "those chain" opshops and thank goodness that the bags of clothes that are donated at the door get opened then sorted but if they smell so strong of cig's smoke or are dirty and stained they will not now hang on the racks of our stores and that only the best that we find you will see and every week they change to many new pieces hunted out by daily visitors to our shop.....

There is room in this world for both kinds of op-shops but in the end it is up to those who work there to work hard to make the most they can for those less then able to help themselves be they people or animals. That is the reason op-shops came to be and that is still the reason op-shops are with us today.

As a mason would say; The"ARK" is just an "ACT of RANDOM KINDESS" and that is what I see that comes from any op-shop be they treasure hunter types or fresh,clean & tidy one.

Love to all Lee-ann

katiecrackernuts said...

I so agree. I picked up a marcasite brooch, not old, new, at an op shop a few weeks ago and put it straight down when I saw the $45 price tag. I know the money goes to good work, but whooooa. It hasn't moved since I saw it, so I guess others have felt the same. I don't want to be stingy and always round my purchases up. But, yes, it's too ordered and the good stuff, clean, with all the buttons, has gone elsewhere. Now the challenge is finding something good among the "high end" op shop items. We have a Cat Thrift Shop and an RSPCA shop which are very much like the op shops of old. You almost have to hold your nose in the Cat Thrift Shop and most certainly have to wash your hands after a rummage. But it's fun. Op shops as entertainment. It's not always about the purchase, it's about the entertainment.

Sally says Plastic is not Fantastic said...

I couldn't agree more about the changes with the Salvo's etc even though i am slowly getting used it.
I still keep my hopes up for the other local op shops who run things differently to the Salvo's to be able to find that something amazing that hasn't been tagged with a huge price tag. I mean i know these places are trying to make money but first of all the things they get are for FREE and its people who shop there who are also not shopping at expensive brand stores for a reason. I take my hat off to volunteers. It can be a good social thing for volunteers which is a good for them. But yes the good old Salvo's have changed i hope in the long run its for the best but it does take thrill of hunting excitedly for those hidden treasures.