They’re Baaaaack!

After months of closure and isolation, thrift shops are back in business, bringing in much needed funds for the charities they support. And thrift shoppers are ecstatic.

the line to get inside started out here, wound its way through the large atrium and then into the store; surprisingly only took about 15 minutes to get in

Yesterday, as I waited in line to go into the MCC Centre Thrift Shop in Abbotsford, a mom and her two (I’m guessing) middle-school-aged daughters were just ahead of me, the girls talking excitedly about the opportunity to shop thrift again. When the shop manager let them in, one of the girls threw her hands in the air in elation and ran into the shop. It was pretty heart-warming to see that kind of enthusiasm in a young person for thrift shopping.

sigh. sorry for the blurry photo. my second-hand iphone4 needs to be replaced!

When I last posted, I referenced my mom: an 82-year-young volunteer who was suddenly out of things to do because of the pandemic. She too was ecstatic when the volunteer coordinator contacted her to tell her that the store would be opening again. Still, she was a bit apprehensive. Would there be enough hand-sanitizer? Would there be plexi-glass? Would she and her fellow volunteers be safe? All of these questions are valid, given that the vast majority of volunteers are vulnerable seniors.

To their credit, the managers of mom’s thrift shop have done a pretty good job of ensuring the safety of their volunteers. First of all, this particular shop is huge, so the fact that only 50 shoppers are allowed in at a time, makes managing people quite reasonable. (What’s mind-boggling to me is that each of those shoppers gets a 2 hour time limit. TWO HOURS. Imagine if you’re shopper #51.)

sorting and hanging jewelry is one of my mom’s favourite things to do

Donations are well processed. Donations are limited to two days a week with minimal hand contact between donor and volunteer (they take it out of your trunk.) This particular store has the luxury of a heat room, so everything that is donated that can go into the heat room does. Everything that can’t sits in quarantine for 72 hours before being sorted. I kinda think this should always happen. I think one of the bonuses of this system for the volunteers is that it also gives them enough time to manage the volume of donations they receive.

you can see the directional arrows on the floor and aisles are clearly marked or roped off

The fitting rooms and bathroom are not open to the public and there’s no trying clothes on in the aisles. Aisles are uni-directional with arrows everywhere and social distancing tape in the cashier line is clearly 6 feet apart. There is hand-sanitizer at the door where you come in and in various places throughout the store. Mom works at the jewelry counter where there is no plexi, so she wears a mask and has her own sanitizer for the counter and trays that she uses religiously (Honestly, my mother was made for this pandemic. She will totally continue the sanitizing regime after COVID is done, guaranteed.)

Can you see the gaps between plexi and the way the cashier is in direct contact with the shoppers?

The only weak spot that I observed when I went to shop for the first time yesterday was at the cashier itself. They have plexi in front of the till but there are huge gaps between tills, the POS unit doesn’t have tap so hands have to touch it, and I didn’t observe meticulous hand-sanitizing. The gaps allow for product to easily pass from one side of the till to the other but it doesn’t actually keep the cashier separated from the shopper. None of the volunteers were wearing masks. I feel like that might be something they could strongly recommend, especially given all the new information that is coming out about the effectiveness of wearing masks.

I was happy to be back shopping only because there were two things that I was specifically looking for: greeting card envelopes (I’ll soon blog about why I need that) and a 5 disc CD player. Which one of those things do you think I found?

The 5 disc CD player now complements our 25 year old Technics tuner!

This Technics player was in mint condition, came with a remote (which made my sweetheart’s heart sing), and was only $25. The Sony we had purchased about 15 years ago (and paid $10 for at that time) was starting to add its own harmonies to my CDs, which was only welcome some of the time.

And yes. I still listen to CDs. Every single day – I do my morning yoga in the living room in front of the CD player and then it just plays for the rest of the morning, especially now that we’re both working from home.

So, no envelopes but a new-to-me CD player. Yay!

Have you been back thrifting? Tell me what you’ve found!

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