Oh, Hello….

imagesTowards the end of last year I began to ‘work’ one day a week in a local op-shop (thrift/charity shop).  It’s a rather nice one, quite small in size by some of the other ‘chains’ standards: however it isn’t part of a national chain but supports a local charity which means it receives lots of good quality donations as well as other bits and pieces.  Unlike some of the shops garments and bric a brac must be in good condition or it doesn’t go out for sale.

Anyway during this time not one person I have known has come into the shop – until the other day.

I was adding some newly priced garments to one of the ladies’ racks and I heard this voice say, ‘Oh Hello.  How nice to see you.  It must be years since the last time’

And on and on it went.

‘Are you looking for something special?’ she asked.  ‘I’ve just come in to look for something for a friend, it’s not really the sort of place I frequent’

I recognised the voice instantly having worked with her many years previously but when I looked around it wasn’t me she was addressing.  So I carried on rearranging and tidying.  When she turned way from the shopper she was talking to and almost bumped into me I saw her look , trying to place me in her mind.   Do I know this person or not?    

So I thought I’d put her out of her misery, said Hello, and told her I volunteered there on a weekly basis.  Well once she heard that she excused herself (Nice to see you, must go) and was out the door in a shot!

One of the other volunteers came over and asked me if I knew her, seems my ‘old friend’ usually came in on another day of the week and always seemed to find fault with the merchandise.  Bought clothes regularly but was never happy as they weren’t the sort of thing she was used to but as she put it – Needs must!

It’s a shame that pride and embarrassment make us ashamed of what we have become (if that’s what it was)  I certainly would not have been one to judge her.

Have you ever been in a situation like that? How would you have reacted?

Linking to Microblog Mondays




23 thoughts on “Oh, Hello….

  1. None of my ex colleagues would have been seen dead in a charity shop…..but i suspect that now the big charities put their designer gear in their shops in upmarket areas that may have changed!

    I love charity shops, though preferring the individual ones to the ‘chains’, and prefer that my money goes somewhere useful rather than funding big business.

    In that situation? Had I been on the ball I suppose I would have said something on the lines of how this was about the only way to get something individual these days…but I probably wouldn’t have been on the ball.


    1. I’m definitely slow in the uptake as well Helen – overhearing what she said to the other customer I’m thinking maybe I should have just said hello and left her be. If she had wanted to talk to me from then it would have been her call.


  2. It’s sad to think that this is embarrassing for her. People are their own worst critics. No one in that shop would be judging her. Only herself. I thought you handled it well. You did nothing wrong, this really is her ow stuff. And she is the one who has to find a way to deal with it


  3. I think you handled yourself very gracefully. Your thought was not for yourself, but to put her at ease. I have to agree with Mum. I believe shopping at charity/thrift shops is in keeping what is best for the planet: recycle, reuse, repurpose, reduce waste. I would not be embarrassed to be seen by my colleagues at the shops I frequent.


    1. I’ve bumped into friends in other shops and we’ve laughed and chatted about ‘finds’ and how they are the place to go when you are looking for ‘nothing’ and often find just the thing you need/want and it’s at the best price as well


  4. It’s too bad she felt she had to put on a front. Charity shops are one place anyone can help by buying (and finding things that are unusual or rare is always a bonus). I buy almost all my tangible books used and return them so they can sell them again.


  5. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to be embarrassed of shopping in a thrift shop — it’s very common down here. But I guess if I sensed she was embarrassed, I’d try to put her at ease the next time our paths crossed there.


  6. I like thrift stores but lately I avoid them due to fear of attracting more clutter. I think smart people shop there, likely thrifty ones with a lot of money, so that lady should not be ashamed.


    1. Poor sad possum indeed EC – it’s not that she was all that well off when I worked with her either. Goodness knows what has happened in the meantime.


  7. That’s such a pity. I remember when I was in elementary or junior high school someone asking where I had got something and I was embarrassed to say from a thrift store. However, I have since gotten over it and started a love of 2nd hand shopping! Especially in high school (and beyond) when we were supposed to be at a pep rally (school spirit events, usually for sports).


  8. No embarrassment here. And I currently earn quite a bit. I have family, colleagues and friends who shop at op shops with no qualms. Bargains, vintage, designer pieces, better for the environment. All sorts of reasons people shop there. I know one flyer, on over $140,000, and nearly all her wardrobe comes from op shops in flash part of Sydney. She can’t justify not buying from there given the price and quality.

    The only thing that sometimes puts me off is the smell, especially when the shop is crammed with old clothes.


  9. Benefits from an opp shop, the charity, the purchaser and conservation.
    It is a good you donate your time to a good cause.
    When I was in my youth I dresser to impress.
    A young lady I admired for her academic achievement and beauty said to me.
    ” It is not the clothe that make the man but the man that makes the cloths.”
    That hurt my ego so much it made me stop and think.
    Just what did she mean I concluded intelligent people look beyond the superficial
    I was fortunate to have got that wake up call.
    Thanks for visit my blog and you know my favourite shop. _/\_


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