Secondhand shops have a strong attraction for many people. Older people enjoy poking around and reviving nostalgic memories looking at things they haven't seen for a while. Younger people may be hunting something retro, or just be searching for a bargain to help balance their budget.
For me many secondhand and antiques stores have a charm and character that you don't find in a chain like Cash Converters, and the prices are more reasonable too. And if the shop supports a charity then you can feel quite virtuous spending your money on some knick knack or gadget, knowing that your retail therapy is going to fund a good cause. Even if it's not a charity store, places like The Upcycling Shop do give you a positive feeling, knowing that you're saving something from landfill and helping the environment.
The Red Geranium Thrift Shop on Goodwood Road is a volunteer run thrift shop which gives its entire net profit to Doctors Without Borders, a medical organisation which provides assistance to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. I have visited it several times, and have often found it busy with helpful volunteers and browsing visitors.
The shop stocks most of the things usually found in secondhand stores - homewares, children's toys, books and music CD, and a range of secondhand clothing. While I'm no expert on women's clothing and accessories, all of the clothing, shoes, and bags on display looked very clean and in great condition. Unlike some other stores they were all well presented, and free of dust and grime - clearly these volunteers take a lot of pride in their work!
We all know how children like soft toys, and The Red Geranium has a collection of the cutest bears to bring a smile to kids faces. All the toys I saw were priced under ten dollars.
If you go through glassware as fast as I do, then you can find a good variety on display here - from colourful fruit bowls to wine glasses, although perhaps the pewter wine glasses would be better for me.
There's plenty of retro board games if you want to keep busy during the holidays, or just pick up some music or a DVD for $3. As always I just had to browse the cookery books looking for inspiration, something I just can't resist. Unlike Three Card Trick down the road, the Red Geranium Thrift Shop doesn't restrict itself to any particular vintage of goods, so be prepared to be surprised when you visit.
If you find yourself picking up some plates or eating utensils, then you picked a good place to do it - the same group of shops houses popular Indian restaurant Clay & Coal, Arriba Grill with its burgeoning burrito following, and new kid on the block Jin's Bibimbar - a Korean cafe with a customisable menu which also offers tapas. I find it something of a struggle walking past these shops without feeling hungry, and if you need a wine with your meal there's a liquor store next door too!
The Red Geranium Thrift Shop occasionally updates their Facebook page with details of new stock, so take a look online or just drop in and browse. Just see if you can escape without buying something and helping this worthwhile charity - it will be a challenge.