Thursday, December 2, 2010

I need to nip this in the bud before it gets out of hand

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a women's breakfast at the local Salvation Army Church. This is the closest church to our house, so even though we don't actually go there, I hear about activities that are on. I was invited to the breakfast by the deputy principal from the kids' school, located next door.

The guest speaker at the breakfast talked about "dressing for your body shape." She had a large rack of clothing from one of the Salvos op shops that she used to illustrate what she was talking about. It was interesting and a bit of fun, but the biblical links were tenuous to say the least. Back to Genesis where God made the woman and said she was "very good." The meaning of "very good" from the original language was quoted as being "beautiful", therefore God said women are beautiful (and thus they should dress to suit their body shape).

Anyway, while I was there I met a lovely older lady who was telling me all about the volunteer work she does in the Salvos op shop down here. She then asked me if I needed any clothes.

Now I should start this by saying I am happy to wear good quality second hand clothing. I love finding a good op shop bargain, and am happy for my kids to wear hand-me-down clothing from friends. In fact, this kind of clothing is the majority of Rosie's wardrobe. So of course I said yes. She took down my phone number and the sizes of kids' clothing that I wanted and said she would sort through some of the things she has stored in her garage at home. "I have lots of lovely things that people just throw away, dear," she told me.

She called the next day and said she was putting some things together for me and would call me again later in the week to organise a time when I could collect them from her. She asked me what size clothing I took and I told her and she said she would put in some things for me as well. Fine.

She called again earlier this week to ask if I wanted any winter sheets. I said that we didn't need winter sheets. I actually use summer sheets all year round. Again she said she would call me when she had things ready to collect.

So she called yesterday and this morning I drove to her house to pick up what she had put aside for me. I said thank you very much and took it all home with me. She said if I couldn't use any of the things I should give them away or give them to a charity. As I left, she said "Make sure you keep in touch, dear. I get things all the time."

And.... was all junk. I could see why people had thrown it away. When I looked through the bags at home (fortunately I didn't drag them all upstairs but just looked through them while they were still in the boot of the car), I found lots of old polyester women's tops (the style that older ladies wear), some bikinis in size 16 (not my size) and children's clothing, but with lots of staining that looked like it would require lots of effort to remove. I think out of four huge bags and a plastic container of old toys, I kept maybe three shirts and a couple of pairs of shorts for the kids.

So then I drove into town to the Lifeline shop and gave all the bags and old toys to the volunteers there.

Something is wrong with this scenario. I feel like an unnecessary middle man in a charity donation roundabout. Taking things that people have donated to charity and then giving it to another charity isn't really a productive use of my time. It would be much easier for me to cut out the step of transporting bags of things around and just go to the op shop and look at second hand clothing there.

So I now need to work out what to say if she calls me again (and given the number of times she has called me already, I am confident that she will). Assertion is being called for here. I need to put on my big girl pants and say, "Thank you for the kind offer, but we have lots of clothes." It's not quite true but I don't want to be mean or ungracious, I just need to stop this before I become a convenient dumping spot.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Oh look, she's trying to be nice. Maybe you could try the line that you don't want to be taking things that they should be selling in the shops to raise money for charity.