Thursday, October 18, 2007

Charity Helps Us All

My time at the consignment shop is soon up. Tuesday and Wednesday was spent sorting through the unsold items and separating them by consignor numbers, pulling out the donated items and then bagging them so consignors can come in on Thursday and Friday to pick up their unsold items. Hubby and I both worked nearly 10 hours on Tues and Wed, and by the time we left Wed night, there were still 2 rows of unsorted clothing left on the racks, which translates into 3,000 items or thereabouts.

Poor Bosslady is having a tough time with staffers and volunteers this year. Normally she has a staff of about 10 of us, and volunteers are banging down the door to work in order to shop first before opening to the public. This year, however, 4 of the staffers are getting ready to relocate to another state and haven't been with us as much as in previous sales. One of the staffers has been an absolute no-show and has never called to explain why. Another staffer started her own business and can only come 2 days a week, and yet another now helps out at her child's private school and cannot come daily as she used to. That leaves pretty much Bosslady, 2 others and me. Add in one staffer's wife and my hubby and that makes 6. 6 people sorting through roughly 15,000 items in 2 days is no laughing matter! The volunteers that were banging down the door to get in BEFORE the sale, want no part in helping AFTER the sale. Because you know they just want to check out the goodies and make a mental check-list on what to buy and where it was put.

Saturday morning, staffers, what few of us there are, will go through the items that the consignors didn't come back for, open up the bags and we go through and pick out what we want for free. Then, at 2 pm, the doors open to the public and the leftovers will be sold at 75% off. Believe me when I say there is so much stuff left and lots of lovely items to be had. Out of 300 consignors, only about 50 actually come back for their items. I made a mental check-list of my own as I was sorting through the items and hoping that if consignor number five hundred and something doesn't come back for their stuff, I'm gonna get it for my kid! There will be a 75% off sale for 2 days, and whatever is left (which is still plenty of good stuff) will be left for the charities. I'm not talking Goodwill or Salvation Army, I'm talking local charities here, the county family shelters or battered women's shelters. They come in and "shop" for free. I was there one year when the family shelter sent people over to shop. There was a woman with 2 kids, a young toddler and an older boy, maybe 6 or 7. It was like Christmas to them, I asked her what she needed and she said shoes for her kids. So I looked for some shoes and helped her toddler try them on. When I took his old shoes off and saw his toe peeking though a hole in his sock, I was so choked up, I had to bite back the tears. I asked her what size clothing she was looking for and helped her find a whole pile of them to take with her. Her older boy saw some toys and he looked torn, like maybe he thought mama had to pay for it and knew she'd say no. I told him he could have it and the look on his face, I'll never forget. He looked at his mama and she said it was ok and he was just so thrilled. He took that big toy, sat on the floor with it and played until mama said it was time to go.

I used to bring home my unsold items and save them for another sale, but after that, seeing how much those "leftovers" helped other people, I leave most of my unsold items. I'll pick out a few that are just too good for me to give away and then leave the rest. Most of my items have sold, so there isn't much left for me, and from what I have seen so far, I think there are only 3 or 4 items I will take back. This is one of those years that I am grateful for the free shopping because I wasn't able to buy much this sale with Hubby out of work. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have Bosslady and her store in my life. I have been able to help support my family by selling things at her store and working for her and clothing my children through her. All the money I made will be used to pay the car insurance and other bills and hopefully, before the next round of bills come in, Hubby will have found some work somewhere.

Well, on that note, I have a few more days left at the store, and then it will be back to my almost daily postings again. Thanks for hanging around and leaving comments. I have read every single comment but have not had the time to answer them. I know I have lots of catching up to do on reading other's blogs and will probably send the kids outside, hubby too, lock myself in the office with a glass of wine and read!


D-HOR said...

Aww Jenny your story was so sweet. I just KNOW something good has to come to hubby soon, you're such nice folk it just HAS to happen.

Dag gummit I'ma goan have me a talk with Jesus about this tonight!

jenny said...

Oh, I hope Jesus listens!! :o) Thanks Lindy!

Unknown said...

That is great that you have a place like that that can help you and so many others in so many ways.

We have our local Clothes Closet that is open one day a week. Last year, I took in about 5 large bags of clothes to donate one afternoon. That night, someone had a loveseat in the back of their truck that they were taking to donate (they don't allow furniture so basically they were dumping it there). Well, on the way there, they were apparently smoking and tossed the cigarette out the window and it landed on the loveseat. They unloaded the loveseat and left. It caught the entire place on fire. It was really sad that because of someones carelessness (and stupidity) so many people lost out.

jenny said...

Dana-- Ohhh, that really bites! There is a thrift shop that isnt too far from here and they are a fire hazard, too, with all the donated items piling up in the parking lot. They have so much stuff and not enough people (either paid staff or volunteers) to work it. But when you ask about something you see and want to buy that is out there, they won't sell it to you. Seems to me they could let people pick out stuff and lessen the pile out there. That is one place we will not donate to, because a lot of that stuff gets rained on and they end up tossing it.