One of the hidden gems in the town of Lancaster, SC, the Hospice Resale shop offers a treasure trove of clothing, furniture, antiques, housewares, and other items. Recently Bobby Lucas, Lancaster Resale volunteer, took the time to talk with us about his work at the Resale store. Bobby has volunteered for Hospice & Community Care for over six years now. “It’s fun and I like it. The people are great and we all like to have fun. It’s important not to take things too seriously,” said Bobby.
“One thing I have learned a lot about is clothing.” Laughing Bobby recounted a story about a purse a few years ago. “I had this bag, and it looked like it was handmade out of this crazy colorful fabric. I thought – well no one will want that thing so I threw it in the bin. Not long after, Veronica came out holding the purse and asked what I was thinking. Apparently, this was a Vera Bradley bag and very valuable. Ladies go crazy over them. Who knew? So I have learned a lot.”
According to Bobby, you never know what you will get so it is important to identify antiques, strange, or unusual items. “One time we got a strange looking bike donated. I wasn’t sure what it was, but when I looked it up I realized it was a recumbent bike and it was really valuable. We put it up for sale and some man drove all the way from Wilmington to buy it.” Sometimes it just takes the right person for an item. “One time we had a set of Walt Disney blocks, and they were in good shape even though they were made out of cardboard. They sat in the store for over two years and we were going to throw them away. This woman came in and paid $40 for them. Apparently, they were from the 1940’s. Again, I learned something. If something has Walt Disney on it, rather than just Disney, then it is old and more valuable” said Bobby.
“We do get some odd items, so I like to use Google, or look on eBay to see what it is and how much they are selling for. Then we set the price at half,” said Bobby. “We once had a chairlift donated, and someone drove from Greenville to get that. We sold a set of china this week for $75. And Corningware is the latest hot commodity. People love to collect it, especially the patterns from the 1970’s.”
When asked about some of his strangest Resale store experiences, Bobby recounted the time that a person of interest attempted to evade the police by ducking through the Resale store. “It was crazy. This man came in with a bag full of men’s underwear and hair care products and dropped it on the counter like a donation. He then proceeds to put on one of the outfits in the store, stole a golf club, and ran out the back of the store.”
But it’s the moments, when people have real needs that Bobby knows he is helping people. These mean the most. “I was having a real bad day, and I wasn’t in the best mood. It was Christmas time and this woman comes in to donate several bags of clothing. I learned that they were her husbands, and he had just passed. I thought, here I am brooding and this lady is having a real crisis. Another time, a lady comes in looking for some clothing for her grandson. He didn’t have any outfits and his mother was just put in jail. I wanted to help. It’s not the boy’s fault. I paid for his clothing out of my pocket. We often get people down on their luck, or who need help because they lost everything in a fire. It puts things in perspective.” Working at the Resale shop is a real labor of love. Sometimes there is no air conditioning or no heat. When asked what he has learned volunteering, Bobby said patience. “A lot of times we get people who just want to talk. They are lonely. I don’t think I could have done this work ten years ago, but I have grown.”