June 2017 – As a kid, I used to love going to second-hand stores with my Dad. These stores were unique in many ways. Initially, you were hit in the face with that musty, “old” smell. The aisles were very narrow, requiring you to turn sideways to access. For me, I loved the deals, though. Many people won’t go near a used-goods store. The smell, the cleanliness, the stereotypes! “What if someone see’s me in here!?” Such a weird thought – to be anxious that someone might see you buying items that were previously owned. I don’t give a rat’s arse! If you were in the rain, you’d gladly accept a used raincoat, or damaged umbrella. It’s smarter to shop second-hand, in fact. Many are over-paying BIG time for “brand new” stuff. Discount retailers, like Value Village, clued into this long ago. With the unstable economic conditions of NOW, these GIANT “charities” saw the HUGE potential in this shift and wanted to suck-up the profits, while sucking UP to the generous ones. What money-hungry leeches.
When times are tough, your life gets shuffled a bit. You may lose your home, or have to clear out space for an elder relative to smooch on in. You may have lost a loved one, and you have to get rid of the stuff they couldn’t bring with them. What do you do? Like most, you wanna’ do what’s right, and drop it off at a charity of some sort -like a donation centre. You pull up, and drop off your used items, with the assumption that they will be either given, or discounted significantly to someone in need. We are told that they are a charity, so we assume 30-50%‘ish goes back into the friggin’ community in some way. After reading much about companies like Value Village, and their Corporate Parent – “Savers Inc.”, I think I might hang on to some of my goods (or just give directly to people in need).
For many years, I have donated to second-hand stores. I don’t know if they’re all a CHARITY, perse, but I know they’re still helping people. But how much are they helping people out when – after donating thousands of pounds worth of items in my lifetime – I have to tell the teller, “Keep it!” when she tells me a USED BOOK (with ripped pages and BOOGERS!) is $6 dollars! I know they have the chart thingy, showing that “books with cover price over $15…… ……$3.99”. Holy Camoly – your charitable recipients must be livin’ the good life! EVERY and ANY book that has ever been DECENT is MORE than $15.00, first of all. Oddly, I have seen note pads at Value fricken’ Village that have the original “$1 DOLLARAMA” sticker, and y’all be sellin’ that SAME book for $1.50! I’m no economist – but that’s SOME profit, son! For a used book, which has torn pages, full of scribbles and boogers. Are you kidding me??? When I was a kid/When second-hand stores were honest – that pad of potential ideas would be about $0.10. Things haven’t changed THAT much, have they?? No, they haven’t. Sadly, peoples’ motives have.
Further, I’ve noticed Value Village, like any Corporation, I suppose, is all over this trend-bandwagon which many lives sadly struggle to keep up with. These businessmen aren’t stupid. Even “Personal Development” books are more expensive than other same-size books. They know many people are upset with their lives, so they go to the (over-priced) “HELP” section. A blank t-shirt might ring you in at about $4-$6; you put a LOGO or fricken’ Spiderman pattern on it – “$14.99”. Many “Valueables” are locked up in glass boxes, to be later auctioned off to the highest bleeder.
“SAVERS INC.”/Value Village realized that people are clearing STUFF out; that ‘stuff’ is valuable! People are making business super easy for these guys, too: NO overhead! No pick-ups (most donations are dropped off at the stores!)! Yet they’re over-charging on most of their items. There should be a set standard across the board, of what a used t-shirt or pair of jeans should cost – regardless of the NAME TAG that’s affixed to the item. “Ohhhh, but it’s Gucci! Someone gave us GUUUUCCI!! We can sell it for LOTSSS!” Many of us can’t fathom giving away a brand new’ish sofa, or dresser, or clothes! Some people have so much money, and they don’t mind buying brand new stuff every week. However, most “regulars” at second-hand stores can’t afford “used” jeans that cost $19.99 and have food stains and dna on them. “Ohh, yes. But this tag..says ‘GAP’! OoooLala!” It’s as if ANY and EVERY thing of VALUE is being priced accordingly, and even junk is being priced heavily. It breaks my heart when I hear a mother tell her kid, holding a broken, dirty-ass-lookin’ Transformer toy that she can’t afford it.
True, there is much value within the BIG red store called “Value Village.” But the big question is, who is benefiting from this value creation? The generous people who GIVE the items to be sold are providing a genuinely good deed, indeed. However, the heavies are takin’ it to the next level. I believe there are many in this world, like me, whom sincerely want to help our fellow brothers and sisters. But begging for help (donations), then setting your own prices on donations is not only unethical – it’s downright LOW! People, like myself, used to feel gratitude and joy after dropping off unwanted items. Now, many feel like they’re taking advantage of us (Reminds me of the stories we hear about homeless beggars, whom apparently live in mansions!)
One day I wish to open my own CHARITY – maybe call it “BULLWITS“. No, maybe something else. lol My stores will be similar to your giant Value Village stores, but much more ethically-run (like Goodwill, or Salvation Army). My stores will offer: Free Coffee, Food Drive/Food Bank, Holiday Baskets for the Needy, Free Internet/Employment Services, Job Opportunities for Disadvantaged individuals, Subsidized Daycare, Healthcare Referral Service and FREE clothes for low-income. I would have very reasonable prices, and a very clean store. I have seen so many “New-again” stores with washrooms that I wouldn’t let a homeless dog use. You know DAMN WELL that the employees have separate washrooms, and that’s sad! I have videos of different V.V. stores where BROKEN toilets aren’t even bolted down! You could literally have the bowl crack and tip onto you, while doing your business; feces everywhere, in your hair, all because you wanted to save a few bucks!? Oh, and the washroom doors typically have red stickers that read: “SHOPLIFTING IS A CRIME! SHOPLIFTERS WILL BE PROSECUTED! VIDEO SURVEILLANCE!” Bud, you should be glad that I’m removing some of this garbage from your store; You should pay ME! Maybe a chunk of your charity should be used to fix toilets and hire CLEANING STAFF (like – pick up the damn MARBLES, already!!) – not worrying about hurtin’ individuals stealing pennies from the rich. (FYI: SAVERS, INC.‘s annual revenue exceeds $2 BILLION DOLLARS!!) Just think how many mouths that could feed!!!! (Hmmm…I can count on two hands just how many)
MY GOD, DO THE RIGHT THING.