Op shops face hard times with drop in donations

St Vincent de Paul multi-store manager Clare Watson (left) and retail area co-ordinator Dee Ball in their Maroochydore store.
St Vincent de Paul multi-store manager Clare Watson (left) and retail area co-ordinator Dee Ball in their Maroochydore store. Brett Wortman

HARD times have translated into tougher treasure hunting at some thrift shops as donations of quality goods slow down.

Lifeline Sunshine Coast business manager Ian Ezzy said donations of good quality items had taken a dip as people watched their pennies.

"Over the last 12 months, we're noticing that people are hanging on to their stuff much longer," Mr Ezzy said.

"Not only that, but because times are tougher, people are having more garage sales and selling more online. Anything good quality, you're going to sell on eBay and the lower quality, that's what you've got left and that's what people will donate."

Mr Ezzy said Lifeline was relying more heavily than ever on its sorters to sift out the most saleable goods from donations to maintain the quality of stock in its stores.

An op shop manager, who asked not to be named, said there had been a decrease in the both the quality and quantity of goods donated.

She said there had been a steady decline in quality furniture in particular.

Where renovators during the property booms would send house-loads of furniture and bric-a-brac, now there were none.

"We also used to get donations from interior decorators when they redecorated a place but that's not happening, either," the manager said.

She said increased demand for goods from her charity's welfare arm was also contributing to a shortfall in quality stock for its stores.

St Vincent de Paul is one charity that seems to be bucking the trend.

Retail area co-ordinator Dee Ball described the quality of donations as "outstanding" and said donors made a point of giving worthy items.

"The donors to St Vincent de Paul value what they give to us," Ms Ball said.

"They might have a set of glasses and they say, 'Vinnies can get $6 for these'," she said. Mr Ezzy asked donors to only give saleable items.

Topics:  economy, finances, op shop



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