An act that’s become a ‘common occurrence’ at Vinnies stores, especially over the holidays, has enraged social media commenters.
Images emerged online showing the exterior of the St Vincent de Paul store at Findon, in Adelaide’s west, where a number of bags appeared to have been ripped open, sorted through and left on the ground.
A sign perched on the front window states the store is closed from December 24 to January 4.
“Please DO NOT LEAVE DONATIONS during this time,” the sign reads.
“We will happily accept them when the store is open.”
Many people have taken to social media to express their frustration that this is not a one-time thing.
Twitter user Anthony Whellum said he had worked for the organisation for 15 years, and this was a “common occurrence”.
“Most of the stores don’t have the blue bins anymore, for this exact reason,” he wrote.
“60% of what they “receive” is rubbish … Someone has gone through that. Try to donate when they are open.”
Another social media user Simon Batchelor said similar scenes occurred at his local charity store.
“I hate it. The local Salvos close at 5pm on a Sat and you can guarantee there is a load dumped outside their gates every week,” he said.
Ross Mullen also posted: “An op shop in Belair has the same every weekend.”
Other social media users empathised with the staff who would need to clean up the mess when the store reopens next year.
“No empathy for those left to clear their rubbish, which they hide behind the facade of making “charitable donations”. These people are doing no more than throwing away rubbish for free,” one user said.
“Terrible when Vinnies has to have another fundraiser just to clean up other people’s (s**t),” another wrote.
Earlier this year while the nation was told to stay home due to COVID-19, St Vincent de Paul Queensland CEO Kevin Mercer urged residents to hold onto their goods until stores opened.
“Don’t drive donations to your local Vinnies where they will be wasted and cost us money to remove. Hold onto them for when our shops reopen,” he said.
“Don’t leave them at our doors, don’t leave them at our bins, don’t leave them outside our fenced warehouses.
“Find a spot in your garage, your wardrobe or under the stairs and keep your donations at home until we reopen.”
While most people did the right thing, Mr Mercer said dumping increased during the evening when people thought they would not be spotted.
But he said offenders were often picked up on Vinnies’ CCTV cameras and did not realise they were breaking the law.
“We don’t want the public to be fined for illegal dumping … but if they do, they could very well receive a hefty fine.”