Stand by while I have a bit of a toddler-type whinge!
I have been op-shopping in Melbourne/Melvin pretty relentlessly since we arrived, and thus far I am finding it pretty underwhelming. I have been looking far and wide (including multiple trips to Frankston), and have found a small array of good stuff, but on the whole I am finding the oppys here overly edited, very picked over, and most of all, unfeasibly expensive. My local Salvos often has fabulous stuff, but they are happy to price things up around $25 - $50 for a vintage 80s dress. I tried on such a pretty 70s print skirt yesterday, but the price tag was $20, which is always my op-shop budget for the week. I can't actually afford to shop there - I just go and look at things and then put them back on the rack without buying. My op-shop thursdays have turned into a catalogue of things I window-shopped, and stuff I might have bought if it was within my price range. I'm forced to be much more discerning, less room for experimentation or bringing home something a bit crazy or in need of DIY or repair. Boring!
Oh, and I want a banana and some yoghurt and can I watch Toy Story again?
Ok, whinge over. No doubt I'll get my rhythm with Melvin op-shops eventually, I just need some patience - which was sadly never my strong suit. Native Melvinians, feel free to rush to the defence of your home town, particularly if you have some handy advice for me.
Here are a couple of things I did buy along the way, just to make me look like even more of a graceless and ungrateful whinger:
Sass & Bide Crackerjacks cargo pants $7
Dirk Bikkembergs nineties shoes $4.50
The cargo pants were one of those spooky op-shop finds, almost freakish in fact, which make me wonder at the existence of the much discussed op-shop gods. I went to the Sass & Bide warehouse sale in the morning and was disappointed to find none of these Crackerjacks there, then wandered aimlessly around the cbd for a while, before hopping a tram to Brunswick to check out Savers, my old stamping ground from the turn of the millennium. I had little in the way of hope for it, Brunswick having transformed from a deserted wasteland into a hipster village full of op-shop scavenging youths in the intervening decade. Sure enough, there were zillions of shoppers and nothing worth buying, I looked at a couple of pairs of horrible cargos (Hot Options, Just Jeans) which were around the twelve dollar mark and had just decided to cut my losses and jump a tram home when I saw a tiny triangle of khaki fabric poking out of a rack near the registers and checked it out. Crackerjacks, in perfect condition, in my size, and seven bucks. I'd defy anyone not to call that a score!
He's no Dries Van Noten or Anne Demeulemeester, but old Dirk was one of the Antwerp Six (don't they sound like a terrorist gang, or unjustly imprisoned something or other?), so that's something. These shoes reminded me very much of the minimalist nineties years as they were lived by me, as opposed to the nineties as re-interpreted by youths, and since it was half price shoe day at the Sacred Heart op-shop, I bought them. My op-shop purchases are so rare at the moment that every single one has a backstory and some kind of complicated rationale, and I have to really want them. Maybe that's the way it always should be? Perhaps the op-shop gods are using the overpriced op-shops of Melvin to teach me a valuable life lesson about consumption and the true worth of possessions etc. In which case I say to them: