Sallies slammed over pricing

'Worn on the shoulder': Bri Sexton was appalled to see second-hand donated goods priced higher than items in retail stores

A Queenstown woman says the price of goods at Gorge Road’s Salvation Army Family Store’s extortionate, with some items costing hundreds.

Bri Sexton, 24, says she, and many others, are ‘‘absolutely disgusted’’ with the price of clothing, furniture, and home wares in the second-hand store.

She went there this week in search of furniture for her new flat, and was appalled to see a couch priced at $300, a rug at $120, and jackets, pants, and dresses for over $150.

‘‘I genuinely don’t understand that they’re supposed to be a service here to help people, like myself, struggling, [but] I can’t even afford to go in and get some warm clothes from them,’’ she says.

‘‘I can’t afford a really shitty couch for $300, I can’t afford a jacket for $250 … that’s why I’m going to the Salvation Army.’’

Sexton says with prices so high, the Family Store ‘‘doesn’t help anyone in town’’.

‘‘For example, if you went in and you’re really cold and you’re struggling, just a single duvet is $20.

‘‘I just don’t understand [how] they’re justifying these prices when it’s all donated goods.’’

Sexton says she has always relied on the Family Store for reasonably-priced clothing and homewares, and previously it was her first port of call.

However, she alleges the store is now taking advantage of Queenstown’s reputation of being expensive.

‘‘I think they’re using the name ‘Queenstown’ to be able to try to justify those prices … if anything, there’s more of reason for you to have reasonable prices because the cost to live here alone is so high.’’

She believes the store is not catering, as it should, to the growing pool of people struggling financially post-Covid.

‘‘If anything, they should be cheaper now than they were five years ago.’’

Sexton asked the manager this week why prices are so high and was allegedly told it relates to the store’s overheads and times are ‘‘tough’’.

‘‘Yeah, times are tough, that’s why people are coming to a charity,’’ Sexton tells Mountain Scene.

‘‘Many people in town [feel similarly], and I just don’t understand how they keep getting away with it.’’

Salvation Army Family Store national manager Gareth Marshall says as well as generated profits from donated goods going back into the community, the stores are a source of clothing and goods for other people in crisis.

He says prices are set by each store manager, who is ‘‘based in the community’’, and items are priced to sell.

‘‘If people are in a financial situation where they are unable to afford items at our Family Stores, we encourage them to discuss this with the store manager or contact their local Salvation Army Community ministries team.’’

Neither the Central Lakes Family Store area manager nor the Gorge Rd store manager could be reached for comment.

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