It’s a thrifters favourite time of year — spring cleaning — and from home birthing kits to Rolex watches, the second hand stores in Victoria see it all.
Natalie Beach-Day, production operations manager for Victoria Women in Need Co-op, says when a home birthing kit was found in a load of donations the whole staff team gathered around to get a glimpse.
Inside the kit they found all the necessities for having a baby at home, along with scissors to cut the umbilical cord and something they weren’t expecting.
“My team stood there, trying to puzzle out what we were looking at, and it was the umbilical cord from the baby,” Beach-Day says with a laugh.
Biological products cannot be donated, so the team had to recycle the birthing kit and the umbilical cord but only after having a laugh.
“Because we see so many thousands and thousands of things … our opinion of what’s weird is really high and this stopped the entire donation centre’s staff in their tracks and left them open jawed,” says Beach-Day.
Another unusual donation, recalls Beach-Day, included three urns – with the cremated remains of each of the donor’s dead dogs inside.
“When I work in the donation centre, all the false teeth seem to come my way,” says Beach-Day.
Jacqui Ferguson, Victoria Value Village manager, has seen her share of oddities coming through the doors but nothing of the biological nature.
“I always say that if it’s been made somewhere in the world — at some point, it’ll pass through our doors,” says Ferguson.
A couple of weeks ago, a local artist found a ceramic sculpture that he had made 20 years earlier. According to Ferguson, he was thrilled to see his artwork still in great shape.
Another buried treasure found in the store was a Rolex watch.
“It appeared to be fake and so we priced it accordingly, a customer bought it and took it in for appraisal and it turned out to be real,” says Ferguson.
According to Ferguson, the real reason people love to thrift is the thrill of the hunt and the hope of finding unique treasures.
“A lady shopping in our store [in Saskatchewan] was looking at the showcase and found a ring that had been her mother’s,” she says.
The shopper had lost the ring 30 years prior and her mother had died a couple years after she lost the ring.
“Obviously she was thrilled to get that back, but those are the kind of fun heartwarming stories that I love.”
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