Monday, October 27, 2008

An interruption...

How frustrating... I have many lovely photos to share for my ::30 Days:: series and Blogger still refuses to let me load them.**

It has been a busy weekend. On Saturday, I took the kids with me to the consignment shop. It was free "shopping" day and we got to pick through all the clothing, toys and accessories that consignors did not come back for. There were over 4,000 items left behind and still some very nice things. After shopping, we opened to the public to sell the remaining items for 75% off.

On Sunday, Hubby, the kids, and I went back to the store to work our final day. The store was open from 10-3pm and then after closing, staff pulled all the tags from the leftover items and scanned the bar codes in the computer. Everything that is left will be donated to charity-- people from battered women shelters and various homes will come and "shop".

It was a different feel for me this time around. I have been involved with the store almost from the beginning, 6 years ago, when Oldest was still in my belly. There were changes this year, with new staff members, my new baby, and the boss discovering she had cancer in her uterus and had a hysterectomy in the middle of the sale. I am amazed at her determination to be at the store a mere 5 days after the surgery and everyone, staff and volunteers, stepped up and made everything work in her absence.

I felt like the odd man out this sale. I'm coming from 90 miles away and gas is an issue, because even if the prices are falling, my bank account isn't growing. It is a challenge to work and keep a watchful eye on 4 children and then I also had to stop working every so often to nurse the baby. It was fine for me to hold the baby and work, but if Hubby held the baby, he was told to get off the clock. I found it to be overwhelming and have only been to work for a total of 8 days out of 5 weeks. I also spent a lot of time working solo and felt shut out of conversations.

I also discovered that certain items were pulled out before we had our free shopping and then put back afterwards when we were done. If they didn't want me to take any of those items, they could have asked me to leave them. I did not get any more than anyone else did, and as a matter of fact, I filled only 1 shopping cart full of clothing and toys, compared to two other staffers that had 2 shopping carts full. Usually, there is a lot of "what size are you looking for? Here's a bunch of size sixes!" And this time, there was none of that.

A coat I picked out that was a really nice one by a well-known good quality brand was singled out: "Who are you getting the coat for?" The baby, I replied. "It's a size 4!!" (It's actually a size 3) I shrugged my shoulders and put it in my cart. First off, this is a consignment shop, which means you usually only see one of everything, not many duplicates in several sizes like at the stores. Plus, it was a really nice coat and chances are, when Baby needs a coat when he is 3, I'm not going to find one like it, so who says I can't snag it now and hold onto it for a couple years? It was the only item I got that wasn't his current size and she had 2 carts filled with items for only 2 little boys. I'm filling 1 cart for 4 kids. It all left a sour taste in my mouth, to tell you the truth.

My husband also noticed a change in the way people behaved around us and we have concluded that maybe it is time for us to move on, to find another consignment place closer to home, or to try and start our own thing. I have seen how the business has grown every year and I know how it works and I think there is a real potential for it to do well where I live. It could give us the opportunity to get to know people in our own community, contribute to local charities and keep me closer to home instead of driving 180 miles a day to earn a mere $5/hour. Definitely something to check into.

** I'll continue the ::30Days:: series when Blogger lets me post pictures again.


Marijo said...

Hi Jenny,
I'm Marijo and I've been reading your blog for some time and I do enjoy it! I think we have similar interests such as thrift stores, yard sales, natural food, environmentaly conscious, sewing, deaf, cooking etc.

I totally get you about consignment shops. I have noticed that since the quality of items went way up 7 or 8 years ago (due to affluenza I would think?), some shops have priced items ridiculously high almost taking advantage of shoppers? or they have to in order to support their shop?

I tend to shy away from Goodwill and I love those local church or animal shelter run shops with old ladies as volunteers since they know how to do it! :)

I have thought that it'd be cool to run a resale store but not sure how much work is involved...

T'care! Marijo

Keri said...

Jenny, go for it! Set up your own consignment shop. You will save so much money by staying close to home, having the kids near you, etc. I can't believe you were earning only $5/hour at that place! They are definitely ripping you off regardless of the freebies you've received. Best of luck to you getting your own consignment shop launched! =) said...

You are not the only one with Blogger troubles. I have unsuccessfully tried to post comments on people's blogs. It's so frustrating!

Blessings to you,

Lantana said...

I think you are doing the right thing. A Consignment Shop would be great for a deaf person to run and we are all clean and have great common sense. Go for it!

When my own kids were growing up there was no such thing as good, used clothing. But when my grandkids came along, I made good use of many of these shops. And now my grandchildren frequent them for their own kids (my great-grandsons!). So many of these items have been worn only once to twice, (or not at all!), it is crazy to buy brand new "Name Brands", it is beyond common sense.

Trust your instincts. Go for broke! I have noticed that some of these shops carry used maternity clothing, also.

Good luck and best wishes!

Hugs, Lantana

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Jenny, that is a great idea, you have a good background in this and you are very outgoing, I can't imagine you would treat people like you were treated. It's their loss - I think your community would love it!

DJ Kirkby said...

Oooh honey, yes do start your own store. You've got a real eye for bargains and with hub around to help you, it oculd be a real going concern in no time at all.

Karen Mayes said...

Echoing the rest of the commenters... go for IT! A perfect timing, with shaky economics, leading to Americans learning to be more thrifty... you are in a good spot.

Kelly said...

Well, Jenny, what are you waiting for... go for it. You have a great knack for that kind of thing and you are good around people as well.

I have always wanted to own an antique store with booths to rent out to people and whatnot.

I did the same thing as you, when my oldest was a baby, I would buy him clothes and jackets that are not needed just yet but a year or so later. Works just great and saves money along the way.

jenny said...

Marijo-- Hello there!! Nice of you to drop by and leave a comment! :o)

I like consignment shops, and working for this one gave me an advantage because not only did I get paid $5/hour, I also got 100% of the stuff I sold. So instead of 50/50 like most consignment shops, I got all the money. The added bonus was the free shopping at the end of the sale. But all good things must come to an end some time, eh?

Keri-- read above... I never felt like I was ripped off, but after I moved, it became more time consuming with the long drive and the price of gas.

Razor-- What is UP with Blogger??? I'm getting tempted to take my blog elsewheres...

Lantana-- When I was growing up, mom always took us to yard sales for clothes. Nowadays.. I hardly buy anything new except for underwear. There is one little thrift shop in town, but limited hours and it's very small. The consignment shop I worked for includes everything from maternity to baby clothes, toddler clothes to teen clothes, toys and furniture.

Trapper-- I have been to some yard sales around here and some people are trying to sell pricey kid clothes at consignment prices and they don't do well. Of course, people want to pay 25 cents at a yard sale not $5. So I think opening my own place would work. Just need to scout for space and see how much, then advertise and maybe a small loan to pay for the space.

Dj-- I have enough of my own stuff to open a small store, too! I didn't get to sell everything I planned to because the girls got into the stuff I had put aside and I didn't have time to re-sort everything. I'd also start looking around for the next few months for more children's items to sell.

Karen-- how right you are!! It's a good time to open a consignment shop so people can make a little money selling their items and people can save a little money buying cheaper items!

Kelly-- I've always wanted my own antique store, too. Money keeps me from doing it, but a cosignment store could be the stepping stone I need to get me my own antique place. Who knows?! I'll have to DO it to find out!