opportunity knocked

You may have missed it, but last week was Australia’s first National Op Shop Week.

It followed hard on the heels of Include a Charity Week, World Car Free Day, World Alzheimers Day and International Peace Day; coincided with Salt Awareness Week; wrapped up National BioDiversity Month, Fruit ‘N’ Veg Month, Save the Koala Month, Blue September, Prostate Awareness Month, Liptember, The Heart Foundation Doorknock Appeal, Debris Month of Action, Social September and the Light the Night Walk.

It’s small wonder op shops got lost in the crowd when there were more designated national, international and state awareness events in September than days. But we’ll save that for another time!

The reason the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations joined the fray is because op shop stocks are at a record low.

This is only partly because we are flogging the shirts off our own backs on eBay. The deeper concern is that we are dressing ourselves in cheap mass-produced imports.

Consequently, there is less to suit individual aesthetic quirks. Ditto that those who previously committed to op shops for ethical and environmental reasons are unlikely to be won over by a made-in-a-sweatshop-somewhere-in-India-or-China skirt – no matter how cheap.

That leaves the poor – the original customer base. But fortunately they too now have some choice about over-priced tat some op shops offer on the pretext of goodwill.

That’s the conundrum of business – people can vote with their feet in a highly competitive market.

Maybe I’m putting my foot in it, but why buy my slightly-scuffed, secondhand size 8s when you need only wait a week for the next 70% off sale at Rivers to buy new?


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