The Op Shop Part 2

The Op Shop helpers closed the marking room for about 10 minutes to have a cuppa with the customers. They were a varied bunch and we usually enjoyed a good laugh at some of the stories. Unusual things did happen. We had two little sit in rocking horses for kids. One day the minister’s son who was too chubby for the horse got wedged in it. We wondered if he’d have to be cut out but his father finally managed to extract him like a tight cork leaving a bottle.

I liked to do some personal shopping for other people. Many of our customers were overweight women and I was always pleased when a bag of plus clothes arrived. I would size up the days’s clients to see if someone was a good match for a particular garment and depending on the client would casually stroll by carrying the item or outright suggest it might be worth examining. I usually made a sale.

The most popular table was Produce run by my mother for many years. This stocked seasonal fruit and veg which she divided up and priced. For a long time, we were supplied by Stan who had a thriving garden. June always brought bunches of flowers which sold fast. The table was a source of chutney, relish and jam. One member regularly brought runny jam which my mother surreptitiously tucked into her purse and brought home to reboil. Mum also made jam, the non runny kind that stayed on your toast.

The next most popular table was Kitchen Goods. Any pots and pans vanished rapidly. In later years, Mum lived in a house in a retirement community and people often moved in and out of their houses. I would drop by to ask the family member what they were going to do with the surplus furnishings and more often than not, got a few boxes of kitchen ware or sheets and towels for the Op Shop.

Children’s clothes sold fast as our prices were ridiculously low. In fact all our goods were in high demand. Unfortunately, the shop had to close. The women running it were in their 80’s and 90’s and younger people were working full time or not interested in volunteering. The whole place was emptied and other charities in town benefited from gathering up our goods.

I was sad to see it close and even now, several years later, Tuesday morning in New Zealand feels like an Op Shop day. .