Rummage Spotlight: China & Glass Department

Rummage Sale Spotlight:
A Conversation with China and Glass Department Manager ,
Laura Radcliffe

Question: How long have you worked in and chaired China and Glass and what keeps you coming back?
Answer: This is my first year co-chairing the China and Glass department. I’m sharing the job with two wonderful women, Betsy Jaeschke and Jan Storlie, who have also worked for many years in China and Glass. Our former longtime chair is taking the summer off to recuperate from surgery. We have a wonderful small team made up of members of the Church and also nonmembers.   I look forward to seeing them and working with them every summer.

Q: Can you summarize your philosophy about pricing and marketing the items you offer in the department?

A: Since we never know what we will be receiving—sets of china, miscellaneous   glassware, Pyrex baking pans, we like to wait until the last couple of weeks before the sale to price the items. Some years we’ve received several punch bowls, some years we’ve received sets of dishes. You never know what will be coming through the door. Our prices are very reasonable—25 cents for a glass all the way up to $20 for a set of everyday dishes. Our department is located in the library of the manse so we use the bookshelves to display our drinking glasses, we put our eye catching items on the mantle, our colored glass on a shelf unit in front of the window so the light enhances the color, and we have a long table in the middle of the room with a tablecloth and place settings from the dishes we receive and other special items. On the day of the sale someone from the department will bring flowers from her garden and put them in one of the vases we sell. We try to make the room pretty and the experience fun for our customers.

Q: What makes China and Glass unique for and attractive to KUC sale shoppers?

A: The China and Glass department appeals to a wide clientele. Everyone from young people who are buying things for their first apartment to seniors who are looking to replace something that might have broken during the year and everyone in between who might just be looking for a special mug, vase or plate shop in our department. Some shop each year for items grandchildren can use at college—plates, glasses, soup bowls, etc.   Also we have a free miscellaneous mug collection. One might find their college represented there and bring the mug home.

Q: What particular kinds of donations do you wish you had more of to sell and why?

A: I’d love to see more sets of glasses and sets of dishes. Other big sellers are Pyrex baking pans, canning jars and sets of mugs.

Q: In the years you’ve been managing China and Glass , can you think of the most outstanding item that’s been donated and sold?

A: One year a few years ago we had a very interesting item donated. None of us could figure out what it was used for and we called it “the thing”. It was a ceramic bean with a black tassel by Elsa Peretti and it came in a Tiffany pouch. We displayed it on our center table and priced it at $10. On sale day quite a few people picked it up and looked at it but no one bought it. We all knew that it was worth more than $10 so our chair took it home and put it on eBay where it sold for $100. When she gave the money to the rummage chair we all had a good laugh. It just shows that there is a buyer out there for just about anything.

Q: Do you have a favorite sale day memory?

A: I have a couple favorite sale day memories. The first is an annual ritual that Sallie Smith told me about and that is when you first arrive very early at the Church on the day of sale take a quick look at the people quietly waiting in line. Another favorite memory happened a few years ago when I was walking back from lunch on the day of sale. I was in the backyard of the manse near the bikes and saw a little girl maybe 4 years old holding on to a tricycle with both hands. Her mother was saying that they didn’t have money for the bike. Very quietly one of the volunteers asked the mother if she could buy the tricycle for her daughter. I hope that you will all come and stop by the China and Glass department this summer—who knows we just might have that wine glass that matches your set!