A small town gal in the big city exercises her gosh-darn given right to hunt for bargains on the mean streets of Dunedin, while giving the lowdown on what’s good, what’s bad and what’s ugly.
Orphan’s Aid Op Shop
Quiet and small-ish, on the far side of the Botans, Orphan’s Aid walks the fine line between “cool” and “old lady”. It definitely houses some interesting pieces you may not be able to find anywhere else. The atmosphere feels like your grandma’s house; calm, eclectic, buncha random shit, but still a bit whimsical and fun to be there. Aside from clothing, there is lots of odd cutlery, plates, bowls, and dishes of various sizes and shapes at criminally low prices, if you’re looking to spice up your already mismatched flat dishware. Really reasonably priced, very little over $20.
Atmosphere: 4/5 (very chill)
(Top - $2.50
Pants - $8.00)
Op Shop on Andrew
This is another smaller, low-key op shop, but in the downtown area and more easily accessible. Another super low priced, smaller business op shop run by two lovely ladies (hint: you get a very approving glance if you bring your own bag, what a dream). Op Shop on Andrew has a wide variety, but the real highlight is definitely the super weird collection of costumes and fancy coats which push the envelope of fashion and taste. It can be a little confusing, as there isn’t much organization, but the low pricing and the kind atmosphere completely makes up for it. Plus, there’s a special tingle that one can only summon from a wholesome rummage.
Atmosphere: 5/5 (wholesome)
(Top - $5.00)
Despite the overwhelming size, SaveMart’s chaotic energy, price range and location does not put it high on the rating scale for op shops in this review. Like a lucky oyster, sometimes you will find a pearl within its tough, grimy walls. More often than not, however, you will be greeted with something a wee bit over-priced and potentially slimy. SaveMart is more likely to have some brand-name items, but they’re pretty expensive by op shop standards. One of the best parts of op shops is the disregard for appropriate pricing, which SaveMart doesn’t adhere to consistently enough.
Layout: 2/5 (got lost)
Pricing: 2.5/5 (some good, some really bad)
Smell: -3/5 (musty as fuck since 1998)
(Stussy top - $25.00) – fuckin’ branded
With a central location and almost-Pinterest decor, it is no surprise that Paperbag Princess is the “white-girl op shop”. The interior and atmosphere are really pleasant. As one of Dunedin’s many repurposed Victorian-style houses with high ceilings, multiple levels, and creaky staircases, it’s one of the cosier stores. Although there are some great pieces, they are only occasionally present, and prices are a gamble. Their big sales are pretty exciting and can hold some hidden gems if you’re patient with good timing.
Layout: 4/5 (vintage and trendy)
(Top - $14.00)
Quite a few stones throws from the city centre, this op shop is less populated by students and more so by the general public (the who? They exist???). With this wider demographic does come a lot more variety and lower prices. Boasting a wide selection of clothing and random other shit (broken photo frames? Yes PLEASE!), Salvation Army is worth the occasional trip, especially for super cheap plates and cutlery. The one downfall, aside from the distance, is the presence of many EXTREMELY haunted-looking dolls. They watch the store from a variety of vantage points, judging your purchases and/or soul. I’m not paranoid or anything, but maybe bring some holy water.
Atmosphere: 3/5 (big windows, but creepy dolls)
(Cardigan thing - $6.00)