I have never been much of a shopper and couldn't tell you what is in or out of fashion at any given time, but I know what I like and what I feel good in and to me that is all that really matters so finding that great skirt or funky boots that completely suits my style is awesome. Paying $4 or $11 for those items is ridiculous! This is why I love op shops!
Recently, my daughter and I went on an "Op Shop Tour" with Laura Parsons. She runs monthly tours of op shops throughout the Adelaide area. We met at the Salvos at Gepps Cross at 9 AM where we were greeted by Laura and our bus driver, Greg. We were given a large shopping bag which contained an apple, a pen and a detailed itinerary.
Laura explained that we would start here at the Gepps Cross Salvos. She explained that it used to be saved for the last stop but many would have either spent all their money or were too tired to go through another shop by the end of the tour, so they now begin the tour at this Salvos which is the largest Salvos store in SA.
We are allocated 30 minutes at this glorious shop which flies by before boarding the bus. Greg welcomes everyone to his "home", ensures everyone is buckled up and heads off for the next stop.
This month's tour takes in Op Shops in the north- eastern suburbs so we head up Grand Junction Rd to Valleyview where we pull in to Vinnies at the Junktion Shopping Centre. This shop is small but bright and not only is the clothes separated by colour but all the hangers are matching!
There is a table in the rear left hand side of the store which is laid out with a delightful morning tea for the not yet wary tour shoppers. Tea, coffee and cakes are offered by the incredibly courteous staff. The third stop is a tiny shop on Milne Rd called Treasured Designs where almost everything is between $2 and $4. Here, I found a coffee plunger, a gorgeous pashmina, a bikini wrap and a small suitcase for less than $20.
The Save the Children op shop on Smart Rd was next and they were having a 1/2 price sale. This shop had loads of great clothes and many other items. One woman bought a multi level cat scratcher/tree for $4. She didn't have the heart to pay the reduced cost of $2! Luckily, Greg had a trailer hitched on his bus. He explained that sometimes people bought lounges and wardrobes!
Further down Smart rd was Luke's Op Shop and across the street another Salvos. Luke's is a small church operated shop and the Smart Rd Salvos is massive and busy! My daughter is an avid reader and came out of this stop with an armload of books. Salvos was offering a "buy 2 and get the third free" and she couldn't resist.
Along the way, Laura offered everyone delicious homemade frittatas and muffins. There were 13 women taking part on this tour and the chat of bargains found and the love of the discoveries was hilarious. One girl found Doc Martins in great shape for $20. There was a little envy! I asked Laura how it came to be that she began hosting "op shop tours" and she explained that she has always loved op shopping and has written a guide to op shops in SA.
She also said that someone else used to run tours but stopped so she decided to continue as it is a passion. She does her homework, visiting the shops before she adds them to the itinerary and often securing a discount for the shoppers at each shop. The 6th stop was at Savers on North East Rd.
Savers is like a department store or warehouse of second hand items. They offer a discount if you bring donations in. There are line ups at the change rooms and often announcements offering an extra 30% off if purchased within the hour. The allocation here was 45 minutes as the place is just that big!
The bus returns to Gepps Cross near 2 PM and everyone unloads their day's purchases from the trailer. There is the opportunity to pop back into the Salvos where we began or check out another smaller shop called Mel's in the same strip which is also a discount grocery. We thank Laura and Greg and say farewell to the others. We head home happy, exhausted and with a load of new (to us) outfits! What a great experience.
Laura's next tour is scheduled for Feb 20, 2015 and is a northern tour. The cost is $29.00 per person and more information can be found here. You can contact Laura by telephone at 0433 820 570. It's a great experience!
"Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn"