Vinnies Op shop shocking price tag: St Vincent de Paul Society

A shopper who spotted a surprising price tag on a dress in an op should has sparked a debate about the soaring cost-of-living crisis.

The customer was shocked to find a simple floral dress at a Sydney Vinnies store with an asking price of $45.

They took to Facebook to share their disappointment, with many people resonating with the customers outrage.

“Dropped into St Vinnies and was browsing at the clothes I thought I love the fabric and print on this dress. Maybe I could make a skirt out of it, it’s not my size dress, I sew” the person wrote.

“I nearly fell over when I seen the price,” they said referencing the $45 price tag.

The angry shopper said Vinnies should be helping people who are struggling financially, but the displayed price tags are way out of their affordability range.

“It is meant to be a shop for people who don’t have much money that’s the concept of it always has been,” they said.

“It’s disgusting seeing them taking advantage of people.

“Vinnies has lost its true meaning I won’t be stepping foot in another.”

The post has resonated with a lot of people, with many agreeing op shops have become overpriced.

“It’s ridiculous the prices they put on stuff that they get donated,” a woman wrote.

One person wrote: “They get free clothes and charge an arm and a leg for them. Not good.”

“I think that it’s a good idea to have prices adjusted slightly,” chimed in another, explaining how the brand of the dress could have played a role in how Vinnies priced the item.

“But $45 is someone’s weekly budget for food. I was a big op shopper but stopped going.”

Vinnies sells preloved items of clothing, homewares, shoes, linen, books and furniture with more than 600 locations Australia wide.

All store items are donated by people at drop off points, which are then provided to struggling people for free, or sold to the public “at reasonable prices, generating revenue which helps fund the society’s work within the community.”

A spokesperson from the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW has said the pricing at Vinnies shops is determined by customer affordability as well as the quality of goods on sale.

“Our shops use a simple pricing guide based on research on value in the general second hand marketplace and the quality of the garment,” they said.

“Vinnies Shops account for 40 per cent of organisational revenue and this is critical to the funding of programs and services across NSW.

“This is especially important at a time when the cost of living is rising which is leading to a decline in general fundraising capacity just as there is an increase in the number of people seeking assistance,” they said.

The price range at several Surry Hills Vinnies stores averages at around the $20-$30 mark, with some reaching the $80 price point.

For people that are looking for the most affordable clothing, the cheaper option would still be at a local Kmart, where you can pick up a T-shirt for $2.50 and a pair of shorts for $5.50

“Needless to say better off going to Kmart,” wrote the author of the original Facebook post, with many people agreeing.

One person wrote: “No one should have to pay more for 2nd hand clothes at anytime especially when you can get cheaper at Kmart brand new.”

Chief economist for PRD Dr Diaswati Mardiasmo has provided an insight as to why charity stores are selling things for higher prices, saying that apart from the cost of living crisis, there are factors Aussie shoppers do not consider.

“A lot of the time St Vinnies or any other op shops don’t own the building they operate under or out of. They still have to pay even if they are a charity,” Dr Mardiasmo said.

Aussies have felt the pressure all around with inflation soaring and the Reserve Bank raising interest rates 13 times from its record low of 0.1 per cent to 4.35 per cent, smashing Australian borrowers.

“Vinnies has to cover the costs — whether it’s the increase in rental, increase in wages and any other operational costs that they might have to cover,” she said.

Dr Mardiasmo also spoke on the reduced amount of donations op shops have been receiving due to the cost-of-living crisis.

“Many people aren’t actually donating to St Vinnies or charities because they have to cover their own cost of living,” she said.

A recent study from Finder has found that 3 in 4 Australians are somewhat or extremely stressed with their financial situation, with 5% of Aussies opting to change where they purchase their clothes as they fight back against inflation.

“One of the ways St Vinnies or any other charity shops do try to still get that donation is by upping their prices in their op shops,” Dr Mardiasmo explained.

“It can be very frustrating for people who are trying to find those good bargains, good finds in op shops because they themselves are trying to decrease their cost of living — so they are expecting they’ll be able to pick up something cheaper in op shops.”

“At the moment more often than not I’ve been hearing that is not the case.”

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