Avid thrifters are becoming increasingly frustrated with prices in Australian charity stores with many claiming they're quickly becoming "unaffordable".
City op-shops and those in wealthier suburbs have been known to be more expensive than those in rural areas — so what's it like in one of Australia's richest postcodes?
Nestled among pilates studios, art galleries and cute cafés, a Sydney-based thrifter visited a Red Cross store in Cottesloe, in Perth, which was named Australia's richest suburb in 2019-2020. According to ATO data, the median salary was a whopping $325,343 that financial year before being out-earned by Sydney's Double Bay the following year.
'This will make you mad'
When walking in the woman named Georgia noted it doesn't resemble a typical thrift store and is instead "curated like a boutique" — and the prices certainly didn't resemble a typical charity store either. "I'm going to warn you, if you are someone who has disdain for high prices at op-shops, this video will make you mad," Georgie said in a video posted to TikTok.
On the rack, the thrifter spotted a linen dress from Glassons priced at $32. Currently, similar dresses from the same store are on sale for roughly $29 brand new. She also stumbled upon a "pilling" SES sweater for $28, with many noting items from SES can sometimes be as low as $12 brand new.
A Dannii Minogue top was also available for $26, which "would be $15 at Target" where it's normally sold, the woman claimed. There was also a selection of plastic belts and accessories for $10, which she thought was "overpriced".
'Good deals' on designer items
However, the Red Cross store wasn't shy of designer brands including ACNE, Viktoria & Woods, Zara and Calvin Klein, as" rich people are more prone to donating this sort of stuff," the woman concluded.
"Most things I saw were in really good condition and the prices were much less than RRP, but I think the real value is in their high amount of brand new with tag (BNWT) stuff," Georgia said. She concluded that while there were some "good deals on high-end brand new stuff" overall, the prices were still high. "It's a miss if you're looking for a cheeky bargain or some good $3 deals," she said.
An Australian Red Cross spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia that quality donations are priced accordingly, but claims the "average price paid per item at Red Cross retail stores is $9".
"We know that our generous donors, who provide us with quality products, expect their donated goods to be appropriately priced to raise funds for the humanitarian work we do," they said. "We also then balance this against satisfying our customers with products that represent good value."
Aussies divided over op shop prices
The store review divided Aussies with some agreeing "Red Cross op shops are really expensive compared to others". One argued the price for a donated Glassons items was "criminal" while another said the prices in general were "wild".
But considering the quality of some items, and the brands sold, some agreed the prices were reasonable. "Even though it’s expensive, most items seem to be pretty good quality for what you’re paying," one said.
Why charity stores in 'richer' suburbs cost more
Omer Soker, CEO of Charitable Recycling Australia, said the second-hand economy is booming, both in Australia and globally. This has contributed to rising prices in stores
And while a "select few vintage/boutiques have higher-priced products," he told Yahoo News over 90 per cent of the 3,000 charity shops in Australia offer "super cheap, affordable, everyday items for millions of Australians on lower budgets" with any revenue made going towards welfare.
General manager of Vinnies stores in Queensland, Drew Eide, agreed and previously told The Guardian donations in "higher-earning suburbs may be of higher quality and priced accordingly". While a spokesperson previously told Yahoo News Australia "pricing in Vinnies Shops is determined by affordability for customers as well as the quality of the goods on sale".
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