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Barbara has been a keen op shopper for at least 40 years, and is now a regular customer at her favourite local store, the Glen Eden Hospice Shop. “I’ve got some of the best bargains of my life from op shops,” she says. “If you’re patient and keep searching, everything you want eventually turns up.”

One of Barbara’s favourite op shop stories involves a beautiful designer Maya cutlery set she purchased many years ago in a Hong Kong department store. Over the years, some utensils were lost or damaged, and Barbara would purchase replacements from specialty cutlery stores. But the prices rose astronomically to as much as $80 for a single knife, at which stage she decided to stop spending ridiculous amounts on replacements. Then she was browsing in the New Lynn Hospice Shop when the cutlery drawer caught her eye. “I was looking for a slotted spoon – but then I spotted one of my knives! A Maya knife was staring up at me!” Barbara sorted through the entire drawer, scoring 18 pieces of the designer cutlery for her efforts, at a whopping cost of $1 for 3 pieces. “I was just ecstatic – I couldn’t believe it! And that’s what makes op shopping so fun and rewarding – it’s the thrill of it.”

Barbara believes the ethical side of op shopping is very important too. She has instilled her respect for recycling and the environment, and the unnecessary waste of purchasing everything new, in her children and now grandchildren. “My daughters are very big op shoppers, and my youngest one in particular has an extremely good eye.”

Barbara consistently donates to the Glen Eden Hospice Shop. “I have a rule now – when I buy something, something else has to go.” At home she will often look in a cupboard and think: it’s time to donate some of that to Hospice.