There's been a bit of activity around the traps lately about the practice of purchasing goods from op shops for resale on ebay. I have a few observations to make on this issue:
1. Economically, I don't see how the resale of items purchased at the op shop drives prices up at the op shop, or certainly how it could be the sole cause of rising prices. Paid staff members, increasing rents, greater need for the services funded by the charities - these are all factors as well. The pricing issue has previously been written about very thoughtfully (along with a great many other issues) by The Vintage Detective.
I once looked at a very sweet vintage needlepoint bag at a second-hand dealer. It was pricey and I was a bit affronted when I saw that the Salvo's receipt was still actually in the bag. But then I figured well, the dealer has made the shopping effort, been in the right place at the right time, has rent and utility overheads and needs to feed him or herself as well. Everything second-hand comes from somewhere - an estate sale, an auction house, the op shop. Is one source more pure than another? The internet, and ebay in particular, has made it possible for anyone with an internet connection and paypal account to be a second-hand dealer. Is it any wonder that on this new scale of second-hand selling that the source of goods has moved to the op shop?
2. On the ethics of reselling items - I defer again to TVD for a summary of some of the issues here. I think that to object to this practice assumes that everyone is there looking for the same thing. I also don't think that op shops are short of stock - I once heard that Brotherhood of St Laurence has something like a phenomenal 20 tonnes of donated goods coming through its sorting warehouse - everyday. As soon as something is off the shelf, wherever it goes to, there is room for something else fresh out of the back room. And no vintage dealer can be everywhere at once.
And just to finish, my own personal view? I've thought about doing it many times, have seen things at the op shop and thought that it would certainly sell elsewhere for more, have even gone so far as to purchase something with the intention of on-selling ... but haven't quite been able to bring myself to do so.
This blog is a great forum to discuss and debate these issues. Your views and comments are welcome but please be aware that any comments that may be construed as hurtful or unpleasant (by me) will be removed.