Monday, August 13, 2007

'Hand Me Downs' review.

It has been a goal of mine for some time now to make the lengthy trip out to The Basin and check out the shop called ‘Hand Me Downs’. After reading about it on the Internet, I had been keen to see if it their range was as extensive as their website had promoted.

Arriving just after 4pm on a Saturday afternoon, it was easy to find a car park right out the front of the shop and it looked as though there were more parks available behind the shop too. I don’t think it was a particularly busy time to visit the shop as there was maybe only one other person shopping at the same time as I was there. I had a pram and a toddler and there was ample room for the pram to be wheeled through the shop however, as I mentioned, it was definitely not the most hectic time to be there either.

Directly inside the door of the shop are the larger items for sale: prams, high chairs, cots, change tables etc. The prices seemed varied on these items. Some prices I considered to be relatively cheap and others seemed on the costly side considering they were second hand. For example there was a Steelcraft pram there in great condition for $80, which I thought, was reasonable but then beside it was an older style Graco double stroller (front and back style) for $120 like one I had seen at the Glen Waverley Salvation Army Op Shop for $20 a few months ago. I can only imagine that this price reflected the amount of money that the owner wanted to get for the pram as all the items in the shop are sold on consignment.

I thought that it was useful having an enclosed children’s play area. It was bigger than some of the ones I have seen in shops. My toddler was happy enough to play in there while he could see me looking at the racks of clothing that were opposite but I did not choose to leave him in there when I explored the rest of the shop as I would not be able to see him and vice versa.

The clothing was organised according to gender and size. This made it quick and easy to look through the appropriate sections for my children and find some items I was in need of. The things I bought (girls size 1 shirt, top and Pumpkin Patch jacket) ranged in price between $6 to $8 as well as a boy’s size 2 knitted jumper for $6.

To the left, as you enter the shop, is an area enclosed with a gate full of videos, dvds, toys and games. In my opinion it was a thoughtful decision to have this section out of bounds for children unless supervised by an adult. I carried my almost two year old into this area in my arms and I can tell you it was a hard job not letting him touch anything. He was practically leaping out of my grip to get to his hands on the bulging shelves filled with colouful objects. My sister, who came with me, bought a Fisher Price activity table for her almost one year old for $4, which I thought, was an absolute steal. It’s in satisfactory condition and will suit her daughter’s stage of development perfectly. I also noticed a baby bike seat (to attach to an adult bike) for $60, a swing for $20 and lots of other reasonably priced items for sale that all looked in pretty good shape.

In conclusion, I would have to say that it was worth the forty-minute drive to see Hand Me Downs. I liked both the web site and the store and did not leave feeling disappointed. I buy find a lot of bargains in op shops which prevented me buying more than what I did. It is too far for me personally to visit on a regular basis but great if you lived close by and I believe the turn over of stock would mean that if you were there at the right time, you would get some great purchases. I thought the staff seemed friendly and most importantly there was a toilet! This is imperative after a long drive with a toilet-training toddler.
Overall I would give Hand Me Downs a three out of five rating.

383 Forest Rd, The Basin
Victoria 3154

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