Tax change slows down thrift shop

With each volunteer having to all the items into taxable and non taxable prior to adding each pile separately, it slows things down.

Dear Editor:

I am a volunteer at the Summerland Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Shop, and I believe I reflect the views of most of our volunteers, along with our large number of customers, when I question the provincial government’s decision to force us to pay tax, on many of the used goods we sell.

Not one single person, who works at the shop, is paid so much as a penny.

Every single dollar we take in, beyond the small amount it takes us to operate the shop, goes to our local health care system, well in excess of $300,000 each year.

Penticton Regional Hospital gets by far the largest portion of our donations, which benefits the people living anywhere in the area, served by PRH.

The goods we sell are all donated, mostly by Summerland residents, and most of it would go to the local landfill, if someone wasn’t willing to collect, sort, price, test, repair, put out on display, and finally to sell these items.

The volunteers who work the front counter add baskets of purchases in their heads.

Most of us range from about 65 to 85 years of age. We cannot afford to change our entire system, with a till for each volunteer, and large amounts of counter space to process everything. Nor do we have the space. And so we don’t charge our customers the tax, but instead it is paid out of the money that would otherwise go to the health care system. Which is, as everyone knows, a provincial government responsibility.

I’ve yet to hear an explanation, that makes one iota of sense.

Our lineups, on busy days, and busy times of every day, used to be long enough.

But now, with each volunteer having to separate all the items, into taxable and non taxable, prior to adding each pile separately, it slows things down considerably.

Add to that the fact that we each have to give the cashier two different figures, which she has to ring in separately, slows the process even further.

Volunteers are unhappy. Customers are unhappy.

But I think we could all accept it better if only the powers that be, in our provincial government, could explain who is benefitting from it all. I have written to our local MLA, asking that question, but so far, have not had a reply.

Diane Prentice

Summerland