Friday, 30 January 2009

For your info...

1. The Salvos card has returned for 2009, with one change which probably won't affect any of us: when the card is full it can only be used on items of clothing worth $30 or less.

I found myself with a full card yesterday at Salvos Belconnen and, in my excitement, almost used it on a $3.50 top until Chris behind the counter talked me out of it. He's right. It really wasn't worth it to save a whopping $1.75. But it's so rare that I actually get to use my full cards: I usually give them away to either op shopping buddies who are buying clothes or to random strangers behind me in the line at the till...

The top in question?Black and white striped (of course) but originally with hideous large white buttons. Which were quickly replaced from daisy buttons from my stash.Much better!

2. I spent some time this morning updating both the op shop map and the spreadsheet. Still not finished but definitely getting there.

Question for the morning: should I include Aussie Junk and Revolve in the listings? Not really op shops but...

3. Vinnies Belconnen has all women's tops at $3 at the moment. This includes singlets and T shirts but not collared shirts.

4. A friend pointed me towards another SMH article about Vinnies which is interesting reading...

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Summertime, and the living is... err... sweaty.

(Reprinted from The Shopping Sherpa)
Hornsea Summertime cannister. Salvos Mitchell: 50 cents.

It needs a clean and I suspect it will lose it's lid very soon...

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Big V?

From Sydney Morning Herald, January 24, 2009

Op shops the latest casualties of corporatisation
by Joel Gibson

If the little old lady at the op shop has appeared to be frazzled of late, spare a thought.

She may be grappling with branding strategies, occupational health and safety dicta and Pantone colour codes.

Intense rivalry in an industry worth more than $100 million in NSW has brought a new professionalism to charity stores, raising extra money for their programs while endangering their frumpy, amateur ethos.
The St Vincent de Paul Society began tidying its brand a decade ago, its chief executive, John Picot, said: buying blue carpet in bulk, adopting Pantone Reflex Blue as its common hue and agreeing after a three-year debate to give in to the Australian abbreviation "Vinnies".

An 84-page national style and identity guide was published in 2005 and centres of charity (the word "shop" still jarred) were given three years to conform.

"We immediately recognise the golden arches as the symbol for McDonald's, while the five coloured rings signify the hope and excitement of the Olympic Games," it explained. "It is just as important that a person seeking the society's help recognises our centres or special works by the hands represented in our logo."

Vinnies centres are now open on Sundays and Thursday nights. The Salvation Army has stopped short of Sunday trading, but it began adopting corporate uniforms in its rebadged Salvos Stores five years ago.
"We led the charge, there's no doubt about that," said its chief executive, Neville Barrett. "It's a competitive market … we need to find ways of engaging customers to come back to us so we have a competitive advantage."

It worked. Mr Barrett said takings were up about 10 per cent in the past four years, and 20 per cent in recent months. The Salvos earn $35 million to $40 million from stores in NSW; Vinnies - reportedly the second-largest retailer in Australia after Woolworths - topped that with $46 million in 2006-07.

"C" words remain uncouth in the new-look stores. "We haven't in fact coined a term for it," Mr Picot said. "Corporatisation or commercialisation - neither of those are words we would ever want to use, they don't strike a chord with our volunteers."

It was too much for some volunteers, who left rather than be "McDonaldised", as one put it.

Les Mico, a Vinnies insider and critic, said people were trained to ask, "Do you want trousers with that?"

"There was some flak …and we probably lost a few very good volunteers but we've had more come on and some have filtered back," Mr Barrett said. "We are a charitable organisation but we also need funding to generate for the mission of the Salvation Army. We need to sell things."

Mr Picot said Vinnies' volunteers had done a good job in the past but the world was now more regulated. Use of tea towels is now banned for occupational health and safety reasons, for example, and a policy to refer the poor to welfare officers is being enforced, whereas before, some were given clothing on the spot.

"[People] do get set in their ways and many of our volunteers are older people and they're less likely to embrace change, perhaps, than younger people."

The majority, though, have shown the patience of Job.

At Rozelle, a six-year Vinnies volunteer, Irene Snell, 70, said she had hardly noticed the changes. "I like the camaraderie and it's a good cause," she said. "Everything changes, doesn't it? We're stayers. We wouldn't keep going if we didn't believe in the cause and enjoy it."


Monday, 19 January 2009

my best finds yet

Monday was the day that Another Chance reopened after being closed for nearly a month. I figured I had to get there on their reopening day, but not so early as to give the staff to time to price and put the new items onto the floor. I had some success as I was able to pick up these limited edition Zen range Tupperware containers. Not bad value at 50c each either. (Sorry, my red salt shaker is in the photo to give an idea of size).After this I went back into Belconnen and called into Vinnies, and got lucky there too. While I was there this staff member came out with the trolley which had four Johnson Brothers cups and saucers in the Summer Chintz Patten. This is the same set as my parents have and it has been out of production since 2003, so with a move as quick as a snake, I grabbed these too.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Tit for Tat

This afternoon, I did the right thing, and look a Jazz car full of children's clothes and toys and other sundry gear that had accumulated at NationsHeart to the closest Op shop in Belco. In 35C heat, there I was unloading all the boxes and bags, and just as I finished, a wonderful lady came to help.

"Oh Look", I said "you have got a Kenwood Mixer there". She asked if I wanted one - I did to do some baking .. and well - the good old principle of "what comes around, goes around" came into play - and it came home with me (OK - untested - I will have to try it out this afternoon won't I!)

Vinnies half price sale

Seen on the door at vinnies Belconnen.

"Ladies dresses 1/2 price until Monday 19 January 2009. (Excludes Blue Ribbon items)"

I do not know if this sale is happening at other vinnies stores, so if you happen to be near a vinnies store can you check and post a reply.


Saturday, 10 January 2009

Winding me up

(Reprinted from The Shopping Sherpa)

With a three day trip offering op shops and woollen mill factory shops aplenty, what did I chose to spend this morning doing?

Op shopping, of course!

With the best intentions I set off to Vinnies Belconnen as I'd finally clicked that when I bought my jam pot there was also a normal pot. And it was a brand Taph liked. So maybe I should just mosey on over and see if it was still there...

Alas it wasn't, but some of my fave op shop ladies were so we had a natter. Then I decided today was a good day to check out the hours on some more "second tier" shops so pointed Miss Daisy southwards.

But she misunderstood and soon I was parked outside Vinnies Tuggeranong in a car which fair oozed self satisfied and smug happiness at doing the right thing. So I had to wander in, didn't I? Especially since I've not been down since the day they reopened...
This, at $5, hit the basket pretty quick-smart. I figure Taph's always in need of one if I don't decide to keep it myself...

But then there was the $5 bag of mohair that I hummed and haaed over. I walked around the shop three times with it. I almost put it back twice ("I'm going to BENDIGO tomorrow! Why the hell am I wanting to buy wool today?")

But then I gave in and bought it. And once in the car realised that the interesting looking skein of pink stuff actually still had a label on it: Which made the $5 spend worth it for this alone, not even taking into consideration the rest of the bag:

A question for you

What was your best op shop/ market/ second hand find of 2008?

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Northside Christmas close downs

I finally made the time today to whizz round what I term the "second tier" op shops Northside to confirm their opening hours on our google docs spreadsheet.

None of them have reopened yet after Christmas:

Reruns (Charnwood) reopens 12 Jan.
So does Hand to Hand (Holt: Kippax Fair).
Another Chance (Scullin) reopens on 19 Jan.

Also Northside, here's a burning question that you might be able to answer for me:

There's a listing for a Global Care op shop in Macquarie. I've never found it. Does it still exist or do we need to remove it from the spreadsheet?

$5 finds

(Reprinted from The Shopping Sherpa)

I'm not sure which I'm more stoked about: Essteele Australis 5.5L jam making pot, found at Vinnies Belconnen where I saw it as it left the cart of new stuff being put out and had it in my hot little hands before it had a chance to hit the shelf.

When I got up to the front counter, Francis-the-shop-lady said "Oh, that's a good buy. It's only that cheap because it doesn't have a lid". I explained that I was sure my glass frypan lid would fit just fine and that they'd just saved me a trip to David Jones (which was my planned next stop) where I was going to finally buy the Bistro stockpot I'd been hankering after since I moved to Canberra 10 years ago. All because I had a pile of oranges and lemons I'd been given which, after my first adventures with jam making, I wanted to try and turn into marmalade.

So Francis wrote out her never fail marmalade recipe for me while the woman behind me in the line waited patiently:

Francis' 3 Day Marmalade

6 pieces of citrus fruit
4 pints water
1 cup sugar per cup pulp

Day One: Grate the skin of the fruit then cut the fruit up. Place in the water and leave overnight.

Day Two: Boil about 10 minutes or until soft.

Day Three: For each cup pulp, add one cup sugar (or slightly less according to taste). Boil until the mixture sets in cold water. Bottle.

Across the road at Salvos I bought this for $5:
a CD rack (I think it was originally from IKEA but can't be stuffed going through my old catalogues) which just screams out to be turned into a 3/4 inch scale modern apartment/ holiday house... (Thanks to Mini Modern for originally mentioning the concept)