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.