I am a mum of two and Primary School teacher whose aim is to never be home during the midday movie. I believe that I am only ever a car trip away from an adventure.
Published February 21st 2014
Rummage, Fossick and Find yourself a Bargain
Local artist, Jayson Patterson invites you to attend a free experimental op-shop tour taking in three of Bayside's popular suburbs including Parkdale, where the tour commences, Mentone and Cheltenham. All in all you make your way through approximately 7 opportunity shops and have the chance to interact with the staff who always welcome you with a smile and a funny or controversial story, as well as the chance to shop til you drop with bargains a plenty. All the while you can feel good inside basking in the knowledge that you are giving back to the community and supporting local charities such as Family Life, the Animal Shelter in Keysborough and the Epilepsy Foundation.
My sock name badge
Jayson is the host of this shopping extravaganza and will meet and greet you with a couple of trusty helpers at the front of the Epilepsy Op-Shop Parkdale, directly opposite the Parkdale train station. He's hard to miss as he is full of energy and pizazz and carries a massive ball of fabric on a stick, not quiet the same as a flag used by most tour guides, but then again, this is no ordinary tour. You begin with a little group bonding exercise which includes creating a massive web that joins everyone together (not literally just spiritually) as you set off to find anything from a vintage ashtray to an oversized T shirt with a print or some laminated place mats.
The rules/approaches to Op shopping
Then it's time for retail therapy and after a successful search through the Epilepsy Op shop it's off to the train and Cheltenham which is stop two. It doesn't matter if you don't have a MyKey handy, a group card is purchased so fare evasion is not an issue and that of course leaves some extra small change in your pocket to spend. There were three haunts in Cheltenham to visit, all within minutes of one another and the train station. Lots of money exchange happened here.
I started off strongly with a couple of platters, a retro cocktail shaker from Italy and a copy of Twilight for a friend's daughter. Other buys included a tie, cumquats (50c a bag) and a stunning painting. Between the 20 of us we probably had yet to spend as much as one would on a hot lunch at this stage.
Anyone for a martini?
And then it's off to Mentone where again the Op shops are minutes' walk from one another and the station. Here you notice quite a difference between the two establishments you visit. The first one, being a Salvos, appears more organized and orderly yet is more expensive. They actually use printed price tags unlike the older more authentic shop across the road that prefers to write on a price in pencil or stick it on with tape. Things may be less organized and the back of the store might resemble a storeroom, but the bargains are definitely around and it is a real adventure for those who like a little rummage with their treasure hunting.
The tour is scheduled to go for 90 minutes but we were probably only half way through at that stage and and still had Mentone to visit. Therefore, make sure you leave adequate time and park wisely if you are driving to Parkdale as parking restrictions are enforced.
The 20 strong crowd was diverse, friendly and bought a lot of energy to the day, most were probably university students, artists or passers-by. The beauty is of course, the more diverse the crowd the less likely you are to be hunting for the same things. It was exceptionally nice when people would find something they thought another person might like. It turned out to be a real team game with true team spirit, which was most suited to the feel of the day.
What is that animal anyway? An otter or a beaver?
Keep your eye out for Jayson and future events. They are a great way to get to know your local or not so local suburbs and some of the hidden gems within them. It's also a great way to learn a little about the history of the area and meet beautiful volunteers who will inspire and engage with you, not to mention the amazing finds buried in baskets and shelves that will bring you and a very worthy charity much delight.