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11 SHORT STORIES ABOUT VALUE VILLAGE

Non-fiction.

A long time ago, I worked 2 brief months at Value Village (Savers for you American and Australian folk). This was time long enough to a) save up enough money for a digital camera (and subsequently get ripped off at Don’s Photo, but I digress) and; b) quit. I was thinking about it the other night and thought for some reason others might be interested in some strange facts about the company and the experiences I had there.

1) The clothes at Value Village (hereafter referred to as VV) are NOT washed in the store. Sure, most people wash the clothes before they give them away, but a looooot of people don’t. Do not rely on this when buying clothes there. The smell of the stores alone should alert people to this fact but yet, whenever I tell people I worked there, it’s always the first question people ask. I usually respond with a blank look and ask them if they’ve ever seen the “20,000 new items added daily” signs and ask them if they think there is 100 washing machines in the back.

2) The unseen mascot for VV is a box of junk known as ‘Otis (the OK)’. The box of junk is referred to as an OK as it is the unit of measurement that VV receives donations in and pays the charities based on it. ‘Otis’ is actually kind of cute, but seriously, what the hell?

3) In the same vein as 2), regarding the charities VV works with, a common assumption is that out of the money you spend there, a portion goes to charity. As far as I know, this is incorrect. VV only pays the charity for the box of donations received (when the charity picks it up and delivers it) by the amount of and weight of the box(es). A box full of precious jewels and a box full of dirty underwear will net the charity the same amount from VV. If you want the money you spend at a thrift store to go to charity, shop at Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

4) For the VV price tag switchers: There’s actually a code (coded numerically to the words “BIG VALUES”) written on the clothing labels in an effort to thwart you. Most cashiers, however, are too lazy to check this, so you will probably get away with it if you don’t get greedy.

5) When you first start working there, your training will partially consist of being locked in a small closet with dust bunnies and a computer. The computer training program was relatively well done (for the year 2000) but appeared to be aimed at 7 year olds and featured games and ‘Otis’ doing a rap. About junk. Beatboxing included.

6) Your biggest trial as an employee at VV will be trying to get out of your turn to organize the Men’s Underwear aisle at the end of the evening. Eventually, you will fail and find the XXXL men’s briefs with the crotch ripped out. And despite your best efforts not to touch anything, you will totally accidentally touch it.

7) Everyone who works with you and shops there will be ‘colourful’ characters, to say the least. Expect to be covered in angry old person spittle if you forget to apply Tuesday’s Senior Citizen’s Discount.

8 ) Speaking of characters, there was a guy, perhaps named Eric (though maybe not, I didn’t pay much attention), working there. I was speaking with him in the break room once and he was telling me about his attempts to curb the amount of times he used “like” in his day-to-day speech. I thought there were other problems he should focus on solving first, such as the fact that he worked at Value Village.

9) On my second day working there, a female employee introduced herself to me:

N: “Hi, I’m Nhu.”
ME (thinking “Great, we have something in common!”): “Oh, I’m new too! I just started working here yesterday!”
N: “No. That’s my name.”

We never spoke to each other again.

10) The Jeans aisle is the bane of an employee’s existence. The hangers are so cheap that any slight breeze or cough will knock one pair onto the floor and the rest of the pairs will fall like dominos. Once there was a pile of jeans on the floor about as tall as I am and I’m pretty small children were making a fort in there.

11) One time, I saw two elderly women fighting over a gilded frame, black velvet and backlit picture of Jesus. True story.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. amber says:

    Oh dear…I had no idea. I think therapy might be in order! (But this is one of the reason’s I can’t buy vintage either…)

  2. Shannon Ralkie says:

    Hahaha I love this.

    We had to watch videos aimed at children/the very slow at Claires too. I’m pretty sure the same people who made elementary school health videos are also making employee training ones.

  3. yhfb says:

    I currently work at vv and of course the clothes are not washed, like any other thrift store we don’t wash them. Vv is a , we pay for pound to a charity but we are not a charity. The computer training is soon boring and long you just want to quit from watching such stupid things that could simply be explained to you by a team member so ya I find it to be a waste of time. Working there is not for everyone that is why most people only last around 2 months coz is a demanding and fast job so of course people want easier jobs to get paidaround the same amount

  4. JMort says:

    Sounds like this is a terrible job!
    If you happen to be too stupid to put on latex gloves before dealing with the undergarments, too socially retarded to start a second conversation with someone new, and too pretentious to realize that, from the sounds of it, they were by far the worst thing about Value Village.

  5. Sam says:

    Wow, what a great comment!
    So glad you had the time to seek out and comment on a five year old joke post about an experience I had fifteen years ago. You must have a lot of cool things going for you as a part of the Value Village Defence League! Good luck on your quest and thanks for keeping it “real”.

  6. Bradley says:

    I used to work there too. It was the lowest paid job I ever had. I worked there 10 months (how did I survive) and spent the majority of my time cleaning feces and urine in the bathroom (sometimes outside of the bathroom) and keeping junkies from stealing. My life was threatened on a weekly basis by some drugged-out maniac. Looked for another job most of the time I worked there, hoping to leave, which I did when I was fired for complaining once about a promised a raise that never came. The reason given for the firing was because I was a minute or two late a handful of times (and I do mean 1 minute late twice and 2 minutes late once, in 10 months). Being fired was actually a great thing because I looked even harder for another job and I immediately got something better. The only people making good wages at that place must be in management because the rest of us were working hard for hardly anything. Worst employment experience of my life, so I really enjoyed this old post.

  7. ZZ says:

    Please don’t suggest the Sally Anne as a “charity.” They are a non tax paying religious cult whose books are closed to the public. Their charity is based upon giving the poor a bowl of soup and forcing their nutbag, fundie religion on them. The staff salaries start at $150k.

    I once had to ask for their help, and after making me sit two hours before speaking to me (after a social worker’s referral), they made me go out on a Sunday night during a blizzard to get a lock for my little locker. Otherwise, I would have had to carry all my belongings with me to the bathroom. If I hadn’t had $5 in my wallet, I would’ve risked everything I owned just for a warm bed. They are HORRIBLE.

    The Sally Anne also bills the state social services dept. for your meals and bed. So what happens to all those donations?

  8. user2 says:

    regards the comment: What is the Value Village policy for shoplifting and apprehending shoplifters?

    I bet they punishing them by making them work there.

    Regards the comment on Sally Anne: My experience was different. In response to the Hurricanes, they actually showed up, in the right (needy) place, on time, in all conditions to provide meals. In significant contrast to the Red Cross behavior.

    Great post

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