The grossest things given to New Zealand op shops
Adult toys, soiled undies and an unwashed bedpan are just a few of the grossest donations that have been given to op shops across New Zealand.
"I was talking to someone else on the phone and carrying a box through from the back room to sort and looked down, and exclaimed in disgust that there was a bedpan with residue in the box," says Kate Waghorn, manager of The Black Sheep Sanctuary which operates the Opportunity for Animals op shops around the country.
"It was only pee and it was quite dry but it still stunk.
"There's always some really gross things. I don't know who thinks somebody's old, used undies that have stains are going to be good for anyone else."
Other items on the list include a duvet covered in vomit, a pubic wig, a prosthetic leg, false teeth, costumes that are "often quite suggestive" and sex toys - both used and unused.
"We don't mind if [the toys] are packed and brand new and you can tell that they're not used. But if they are used, obviously, they go straight in the bin," Waghorn laughs.
"I just think that people give everything that they don't want anymore, but if it's a used sex toy, that's not a particularly useful thing to give to an op shop because I don't think anyone is going to clean them and sell them."
However, sex toys are not an uncommon donation, and sometimes mistakenly make their way onto the shop floor.
According to a Red Cross store manager in the Wellington region, an adult aid made from glass was accidentally put up for sale as an ornate $15 lemon squeezer, before realising what it was.
Even with the best of intentions, Waghorn explains that staff have to regularly deal with yucky things like rotten food and even dead animals - including a decaying mouse complete with maggots.
"It was very dead and quite smelly... I don't think it was on purpose, everything was really nicely folded in the bag. It was a nice, clean tidy bag.
"I think the kids add to the bags when their parents are packing because there will be half-eaten apples with little kid-bites out of them."
The SPCA says that "unfortunately damp, mouldy clothing seems to be the most common", but also report a couple of weird - but not unsellable - items.
In Auckland, A "robot table" fetched $600 for the SPCA store in Onehunga, while a branch on Brown's Bay offloaded a pair of taxidermied puffer fish for $20.
It's not all unpleasant though, there are acts of incidental happy endings.
"One of our favourite things is what we call 'pocket donations' – the things people have unwittingly donated," says Waghorn.
"These vary from loose change, bus tickets and phone bills to love letters, drivers licences and even - our record - $1,200 in notes."
THE RULES OF DONATING TO OP SHOPS
* Items must be clean and in good condition
* If you wouldn't give it to a friend or a neighbour, don't donate it
* Old blankets, sheets, linen and towels can be given to Opportunity for Animals to use in their Dog Daycare facility
* If you're unsure, ask at your local shop before donating