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Why Opp Shops Inspire Me

Something about opp shops inspires me.

It’s just really that je ne sais pas moment … I can’t put my finger on it but then again I’m writing a blog and currently my fingers are to keyboard so maybe I can…

Is it the ‘people-watching’?

Today, as I looked through the racks – methodically, with purpose, sharpening my eagle bargain-hunting eye, I found someone next to me also doing the same. Exactly the same.

It was too much. Like a driver that waits and gives way to oncoming traffic behind a Landrover in a 50 kilometre an hour residential court, I moved aside. Two intentional opp shoppers is too much for one rack.

Two little boys in the opp shop playing with battery operated toy cars while the mum looked through the racks, every now and again calling out to them, “come back here, please!” In that quiet, authorative voice that only mums have.

The same little boys are darting in and out of the – currently empty – changing rooms. Opening the curtains, closing the curtains – whizzing out and in and making a game of it.

“Don’t go in there or that lady will yell at you,” says the mum as I walk towards the change rooms, carrying a bundle of garments.

Photo credit: Pexels

Photo credit: Pexels

The opp shop volunteer shoos them away and gives me a free change room.

Is it the bargain hunting?

In the privacy of the little change room, I look – stunned – through my loot.

Merino wool black trousers, new with tags attached. An Australian label. $8.

A cream sleeveless wool knit, new with tags attached. (Lovely Merino wool again.) This was the kind of top which makes any complexion look lovely – as fresh cream often can, and was just made for an Autumn long weekend of wandering around quaint little towns, as the walker – you? me? – crunches along those irresistible crunchy Autumn leaves. $10. For the record, I didn’t get it but there were heaps of them so maybe next time…

Dark teal (very 60s) ¾ sleeve woolen jacket. I did the ‘hold it up to face’ test and it passed, so this one made the cut. I tend to wear a lot of black in winter so picture this as a good alternative to my usual black coat. This looked new but there were no tags attached. $6

And for the opp shop bargain finale! The kind that, if you haven’t ever tried opp shopping before, might make you want to dip your toes into it. (Go on! It’s so much fun and supports the charity at hand AND is a sustainable fashion choice.)

A pair of Dolce & Gabbana trousers, the real thing (so says the little hologram on the label ), apparently. They fit like a glove and feel (tempted to use the word divine but will refrain) amazing on! $10. Again, no tags attached but they look in perfect condition.

“They feel nice,” commented the Vinnies volunteer as she packed them in a bag. I smiled – grinned, even as I handed her the money.
“They do.”

I could have gone on and found more bargains…but I stuck with my marvellous and unexpected loot and left. In saying that, there were plenty more bargains to be had – and so much of it new with tags. Clutches, row after row of new costume jewellery, belts, purses, work shirts, more woolen knits, etc.

As I drove home and contemplated the subject of why I find opp shops so inspiring – even for my writing – the answer struck me.

It’s the possibilities.

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4 Comments

  1. Op shops are definitely packed full of possibilities. I love that moment of stepping through the door, wondering what treasures are buried inside, just waiting to be uncovered. It’s equally only by that glorious moment when you find something unexpected, or wonderful, or long-sought-after (yes, I have been known to squee in op shops when occasion requires). Op shops are fun and joyful in a way other shops aren’t.

    • Hi Katie, thanks for the comment. Absolutely, agree with you! It’s such a pleasure to sift through things – and then find something that’s absolutely amazing. Or different. Always unique. So full of possibilities! It’s ‘feel-good’ shopping with so many benefits…

  2. Nice bit of writing Anna, and yes, it’s the possibilities!!! (Now, which op shop is this that you are talking about? It sounds a lot better than many of the picked over ones I’ve been to lately!)

    • Thanks! 🙂

      Ok, this was a Geelong opp shop where I found these mentioned treasures: Vinnies on Marshalltown Road, Grovedale. Excellent one … they have a lot of “new” stock – and prices are really good.

      There’s also The Bargain Hunter in Grovedale which also has great stuff … and a massive vintage section. Again, good prices. I once found a new YSL handbag there for $5.

      Both also open on Saturdays too!

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