From rumours about landfill to queries about pricing, there are plenty of myths out there about Salvos Stores. Jessica Morris talks to Salvos Stores marketing manager Aife O’Loughlin to uncover the truth about Australia’s most loved op shop.
When the news reported that the Salvos were spending $6 million every year to dispose of unwanted donations, we were taken aback. The idea that people’s donations were actually (a) costing the Salvos money that could be donated elsewhere and (b) ending in landfill was a huge cause for concern.
With 328 stores and more than 7,500 volunteers, Salvos Stores have become a staple in Aussie culture, allowing people to pick up a bargain while also contributing to the vast amount of services the Salvos provide daily. In fact, last year alone, Salvos Stores generated more than $35 million—and it’s all thanks to you, your generous donations and passion for shopping for bargains.
So why has $6 million been taken out of the kitty? Salvos Stores marketing manager Aife O’Loughlin tells us that, more often than not, donations are ruined when they’re placed outside a pick-up point.
“Generally speaking it is larger items such as mattresses, furniture and electrical goods that cause the biggest issues because, if they aren’t donated through our Free Home Collections service, they are left outside our stores after-hours where they become damaged,” she says. “Other items that can cause some issues are clothing, shoes and accessories that are torn or broken.”
Think about it this way: would you give your donated item to a friend? If the answer is yes, take it your local Salvos Store during store hours, or call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) for home collection. This will protect the quality of your donations and make them like-new for the next owner. If you’re not sure about the quality of the old toys stuffed at the back of a cupboard, you can save volunteers and staff at Salvos Stores valuable time, energy and money by disposing of unwanted items yourself.
“Salvos Stores are looking for a wide range of donated goods to help us stock our stores,” says Aife. “Coming into winter we always have a particular need for warmer woollies and jackets!”
Another myth that has permeated our culture is that Salvos Stores are only for people in need. This causes some customers to question prices and wonder why there is a variation between different stores. Aife points out that Salvos Stores are for everyone and, should a customer need an extra hand, they can speak to the staff about connecting with the welfare arm of the Army.
“There is a general misconception that Salvos Stores exist to provide goods for free to those who can’t afford to shop anywhere else, and whilst this is true we have a process in place with The Salvation Army to provide welfare vouchers to these customers,” says Aife.
“Alongside this, we generate considerable funding for Salvation Army programs, meaning that every sale makes a difference and assists us in creating an impact in communities across Australia,” she says.
Donating to Salvos Stores is a win-win situation. Our ‘old’ products become new, which is better for the environment and for our wallet.
As Aife says, “It’s important to remember that you are extending the life of the product you no longer need or use and it will become new again when someone else buys it. Your donation will become their new favourite jumper, pair of jeans or dress, so make sure you donate goods you know someone else can love.”