Sex toys dumped at charity shop
'We draw the line at that'ELTON SMALLMAN
Sex toys are just one of many things workers at Hamilton's St Vincent de Paul find dumped outside their Frankton charity store.
''We get lots of vibrators,'' St Vincent de Paul's Mike Rolton said.
The devices, usually reserved for intimate relations, are found by Vinnies Shop staff tucked under clothing and linen as they sort through bags of donated goods.
''They are usually hidden amongst something and the people looking through it go ''Argh. What's this?''
Mr Rolton said the devices are found in an array of conditions. Some are still in their boxes, some are opened and some are unused.
''I am assuming they are bad taste gifts and the wife is not very happy with the present.''
Around 30 per cent of items donated to St Vincent de Paul are not fit for resale and are sent to the dump.
''Just in Hamilton it would cost us five and a half to six grand to dump.''
The Vinnies Shop welcomes donations of clothing, furniture and kitchen whizzes but second hand bedroom appliances will not make it to the shop shelves.
''We draw the line at that. They make it to the skip,'' Mr Rolton said.
The sex toys are just the tip of a heap of rubbish collecting at the rear of charity stores around the city.
Mr Rolton's team recycle three bales of clothes for rags each week and after a weekend drop, can fill a three cubic metre bin in one day.
''We accept there are some things that are not going to work but the percentage is quite high.
''We have had occasions where people have dumped their domestic household rubbish. That's the worst thing.''
He said couches often arrive at their yard and are in such poor condition he would not give them away.
''A few people have dumped couches that you would just chop up for firewood they are that bad.''
Mr Rolton has a team of workers sifting through the donated goods and said it is a full-time job.
''I have a couple of key people who work everyday of the week and during the week I have different staff come in. We have four or five people everyday going through everything.''
St Vincent de Paul uses the proceeds from its shop to pay for a range of services in the community which includes furnishing homes and providing food for the poor.
''It pays for a food bus that goes into Hamilton's poorer suburbs and they service 24 schools each day during the year to provide lunches for children who are going hungry.''
He said people should think about the quality of the goods before donating as it would make a huge difference to the service they provide.
''The more money we can save the better it is.''
Salvation Army family store manager Gary Bottomley operates three stores in Hamilton and said tip fees after recycling can reach $2000 per month.
''Some people genuinely believe that what they are donating is of value and others simply use us because we are cheaper than the rubbish dump.''
Pilfering is rife over the weekends and the Sallies have a locked donation bin to prevent theft but it needs clearing regularly.
''I will clear it on Saturday and twice on Sunday. If I don't any goods left outside of the bin are generally removed.''