Zara Dress - 3.5 euros? Lacoste shirt - 1.5 €? H & M t-shirt - 50 cents? A good conversation with the salesman - priceless. This is not a new advertisement from Master Card- it happens every day in one of the Red Cross Youth projects – Ponto Vermelho. This is a special store where everyone can find something for themselves without worrying about the price. The idea of Ponto Vermelho is simple - provide the most vulnerable customers with clothing items and other products of good quality at a symbolic cost. The store is designed not only to respond to the needs of the people dealing with poverty, but also to promote human dignity and alleviate economic differences in society.
How do we do it? Any items that appears in the store comes from donations that arrive almost daily. We get different things - clothes, toys, books and sometimes household equipment - dryers, irons or even radios. The task of the volunteers is to make the selection of the products in order to get the top quality material. The things that we regard as unsuitable for sale are sent for recycling or to other charities. Sounds simple, but actually requires a great amount of work from our volunteers to satisfy our customers. Our work does not end on selection - all things need to be sorted, counted and organized in the warehouse. In addition, we have to make sure that every day new articles are placed on the shelves.
Each volunteer can find a suitable job for himself or herself. For volunteers who enjoy working with people customer service can be a challenge. Personally, I do a bit of everything - when the store is empty and calm, I work on selecting the clothes for the store.
When we have many customers, I usually “run” the aisles in search of an appropriate sizes, or put out the clothes on the shelves. As with any job, there are better and worse days- there are days when I just want to hide in the selection room, but at other times I enjoy helping the customers and making sure that everyone leaves the shop satisfied. And to tell the truth, apart from being a volunteer, I'm a steady customer of Ponto Vermelho. Who said that only devil wears Prada?