Op shop prices defended

Karen Mansfield, left, Hussan Shariff and Teresa Bidlake at Hospice Waikato Te Awamutu.

Te Awamutu opshops have rejected criticism of their pricing.

In a social media post last Friday, avid opportunity shopper Kelly Case wrote that she was “sad” to see ornaments priced as high as $210, suggesting “Te Awamutu is the absolutely the most expensive place I’ve ever experienced, it’s just out the gate”.

But Hospice Waikato regional retail manager Teresa Bidlake denied suggestions items were overpriced.

“The purpose of Hospice Waikato Shops is to turn second-hand goods into first class care,” she said.  “We give our donations the price they deserve and honour the reason somebody has donated them to us.

“We certainly don’t overprice our items and the amount of traders coming in and purchasing from us, and our happy customers are a reflection, of the fair pricing we have.”

But Case told The News more expensive items should not appear on the shop floor.

“Don’t put expensive things like this in a shop and call it an opshop. I want to make it clear that this isn’t an attack on opshop staff around town, they are lovely, I just can’t afford the prices as they go up.

“I thought opshops were there for families – if that’s the cost, fine, but what they need to do is take expensive items which people like myself can’t afford and sell them online, and give the money to charity

Bidlake said Hospice Waikato stores do put items on Trade Me.

“And we have an online shop. We do like to give the Te Awamutu community the opportunity to purchase the items too though and sometimes these are obviously special antique pieces.

Case said her social media posting came after years of “…trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to do – where am I going to go to get the things I need?”

She cited other examples of overpricing as $300 for a set of drawers.

“I love to op shop, and I’ve been doing so every Friday for 30 years, including the 12 I’ve lived in Te Awamutu.

“It’s just sad and is something that really does need to be sorted out. Last Friday as I have done before, I left my op shopping with nothing, and that absolutely guts me.

“If you saw my house, I live out of an op shop – it’s a cool, comfy home and I love it.”

“It’s hurting every part of me and making me so sad – oppshopping is something I take so much joy in.”

Bidlake said a lot of research and experience goes into pricing.

“Under-pricing an item is not respectful to those who donate to us.

“We have volunteers and staff who price different categories, they know their brands, what items cost brand new, what items are worth second hand and understand quality.  We do have price ranges for everyone at our Hospice Waikato Shops.”

At the Salvation Army Family Store, manager Vanessa Hay agreed.

She told The News her team did thorough research – including online – to ensure their pricing was accurate.

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