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Looking Back: A Type of Jumble Sale to Copy

From September 1932

A Type of Jumble Sale to Copy

A jumble Sale - what memories do the words recall? Usually that of crowds, disorder, policemen, heat, exhaustion, and exasperation. But a jumble Sale can be a pleasant friendly occasion as well-ordered and attractive as any Sale of Work.

For many years now, Jumble Sales have been organised by the Women’s Missionary College, St Colm’s, for the members of the St Bernard’s South Guild of Friendship, Edinburgh, Were you to visit one of these you would find a queue of women carrying baskets or bags or pieces of brown paper and string, chatting and waiting for the door to open.

Within, the hall presents a gay scene. On one side is an attractive stall of babies’ and children’s clothes, mostly new, where mothers search for garments of an appropriate size and becoming pattern. In one corner is the millinery department, with a looking-glass and a chair provided for the customers.

The boot and shoe stall is in the centre of the room, and soon, many are trying on shoes and slippers.

The dress and blouse stall presents a gay appearance with dresses displayed on hangers. Brisk trade and much friendly chaff goes on here as the customers try on the garments.

Anxious reflection takes place at the men’s stall, for husbands and sons are not present to make their own purchases.

The women move about and talk and laugh in between their purchases, and the goods are sold and the hall empty in a little over an hour.

How does this come about?

In the first place, only members of the Guilds of Friendship are admitted – no dealers are allowed in.

As the women enter, they give up their admission tickets and receive cards which serve as bills. For the first ten minutes they look around seeing if they can get the coat or dress they want, or whether there is a pair of shoes to fit them. Having decided on their first purchase they stand by the stall until at the end of ten minutes a bell rings, the price of the purchase is entered on their card and the customer is obliged to move on to another stall. In this way an opportunity is given to all to buy from the more popular stalls.

The prices are not reduced at the close of the Sale, so trade is brisk from the beginning. The women leave by a second door near which two cashiers sit at a table. Here cards and purchases are shown, the bills made out and money paid, and the women go home with bundles of many odd shapes and sizes.

Such Sales as these are a delight to those who arrange them and a real help to those who come and who are thus provided with good clothes at a small price.

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