“Dust, old ladies, hippies, and tat.” That’s the summation of my Cat Protection Society Op Shop experience exactly as I SMSed it to the Snook this afternoon. I spent three hours “learning the ropes,” most of which involved me minding the till while Robin and Barbara (my two elderly co-volunteers) kept disappearing into the back room. They were supposedly sorting the newly-donated stock, yet whenever they appeared they had a suspiciously fresh “just-had-a-cup-of-tea” look about them. They were nice ladies though. The job wasn’t very difficult except for the fact that, oh, about 35% of the stock wasn’t actually priced. People kept bringing me things and I’d have to run back and ask them how much it was supposed to be. By the end of the afternoon I finally caught on to the fact that they were just making the prices up, so that’s what I started doing too. Made things easier.

And my fantasies of sitting there knitting while the occasional pensioner browsed through the teacups? Totally false. We were crazy busy the entire time I was there. Old people, young people, hippies looking for tie-dye, goths looking for velour, everybody. (There was even one lady that came in asking for knitting wool, and I was like, “Dude. If we had any, I’d have already bought it. Now move along.”) That place turned over more than two hundred bucks during my shift, most of which was absolute crap I wouldn’t put out in a garage sale. Every time I’d spot something particularly tacky and think to myself “I wouldn’t pay two cents for that,” some weirdo would come in and freak out over it. This otherwise normal looking guy paid $3 for a crappy white plastic hat with polka dots on it, because apparently it folds up really small and he’s been looking for one for years. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Anyway, I haven’t been scheduled in for my next shift yet but that’s fine by me. My charitable urge has been sated for the time being.

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