Mary Beth Small was in for an unpleasant surprise when she arrived at work at The Sassy Lion Thrift Shop in Duncan Monday morning.
Small, who is the manager of the store, owned and operated by the Duncan Lions Club, was greeted by a pile of old books, clothes and dishes that were covered in rat feces, and the pile included old bandage slings that were covered in blood.
Small said the shop regularly receives donations at its back door during business hours when staff are available to receive and sort through the material.
But she said many people drop off items on the weekends when the thrift store is closed, and that has led to problems when no one is there to monitor it.
Small said some people bring their garbage to the thrift store instead of to the dump to try and avoid the dumping fees.
“That leads to a double whammy for us because some people drop off this sort of garbage and then other people come and go through this stuff and spread it all around the rear of the building,” Small said.
“Now we have to bleach this whole area. It’s very unhealthy for our workers, it’s time consuming and we also have to get this stuff to the dump.”
Small said all the proceeds from the thrift shop go to support the Duncan Lions Club’s many community activities.
They include helping to support Cowichan Hospice, Cops for Cancer, therapeutic riding sessions at Providence Farm and helping individuals in need receive medical treatment.
She said having to deal with these issues takes times and energy away from trying to help the community.
“We’re asking people to please don’t drop off donated material during our off hours,” she said.
The thrift store is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.