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A Day In The Life Of Vincent’s


They’re a happy bunch down at the Greystones branch of St Vincent de Paul’s on Church Road.

Having been granted access behind the curtain today, and allowed venture into the luxurious backroom, GG reckons all that happy must come from the deep-rooted joy of simply helping those less fortunate than yourself.

Also, as we wandered a little deeper beyond that store room, we realised that those constant smiles might have something to do with all the booze they have back there.
Jaysus, that Vickers woman can really knock back them Jägerbombs.
Curious to know what an average day in the Greystones HQ of everyone’s favourite Italian designer might be like, we asked the crew to keep a diary of their day. When we called back just before their 5.30pm knocking-off time, we were handed a bundle of pages ripped out of a kid’s copy book. And each page was filled with scribbles. Scribbles detailing every aspect of life in our local St Vincent de Paul’s
Lots and lots of scribbles. All over the feckin’ place.
And they went a little something like this…
9.30am Boss lady Dara arrives, and we’re immediately into a major tidy, given that there are six donation bags/boxes outside the door.
10am Staff arrive and the shop opens. Beyond the manager, there are 14 Transition Year students taken in annually for four days a week, and then there’s the Tús community work placement person, working 19-and-a-half hours a week for the year, and the Gausce volunteer, the CE volunteer, and, of course, the regular volunteers, of which there are about 30 in total. The fact that Joan was voted Volunteer Of The Year around the country makes all the staff here feel proud. And jealous.
Goes without saying, but we’re always looking for more volunteers, of course, given that the work is really never-ending, from the moment we open the doors to when they close again. Fun, and rewarding, but never-ending… 
10.30am Group photo outside for the Greystones Guide, followed by a steady flow of shoppers and donations.
11am Kids arrive, playing with the toys, looking at the books, getting some bargains of their own. Raffle ticket sales for Valentine’s Day – €1 per strip – are doing well, with the prize consisting of cosmetics and toiletries
Noon Shop gets extremely busy, with up to 20 people at a time browsing, trying on clothes, etc. We get all types of customers here, from the casual browser just killing time to the regulars who know how to sniff out a bargain. Some are there every day, others once or twice a week. Everyone’s out for that something special at a knock-down price. Great feeling when you find such a bargain
1pm Lunch breaks start, but the shop remains as busy as ever – so, we’re always ready to drop our sandwiches and help out if we have to. Around this time, there’ll be a changeover of staff too.
Having so many people working different shifts means the shop is always moving. Generally always busy, both with customers and with keeping the shelves stacked, but you’re also meeting different people behind the counter all day too.
2pm You get to see so many people find something special – whether it’s just a DVD they’ve been searching for, or a new dress – that it can feel like Christmas sometimes. You just get a lot of happy faces coming up to the till. Especially the kids. It’s like one big toy shop where their parents don’t get all angry over the price.
3pm As the lunch hour rush quietens down, there’s always sorting to be done, whether it’s moving old stock on, or getting new stock out. The turnover rate is huge, with new clothes, books, toys, ornaments, etc, going out every day. I think that’s what people love about Vincent’s – you never know what you might find
4pm Having sorted through all the baby stuff, we start to work on the centre rail, making sure everything there is marked, and getting new clothes out there too. This is the second centre rail change that will happen on any given day
5pm And still the donations arrive. We try and get everything new sorted out that day, as there will be more inevitably waiting for us when we arrive tomorrow morning. Keeping busy makes time fly, and when you’re working with such a great big bunch of people, it makes the work pretty easy too.
Around this time we get the unsold stuff ready for collection by a Saint Vincent de Paul van every morning. There will be out-of-season clothes but also stock for other shops that might be running low on some particular items. The main thing is, nothing goes to waste

Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5.30pm, you can find out more about St Vincent de Paul’s Greystones branch here, or you can get in touch directly on 012878600 or svdgreystones@gmail.com.

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