Everyone dreams of that deal of a lifetime, when they go shopping at a thrift store. Fueled by the hopes of a big score, prospectors will wade through countless items in search of one that has been undervalued.
Many commit the bulk of their waking hours to this pursuit with no major success. Others fall backwards into it, then shrug it off like it were no big deal.
Loretta Simms loves a bargain just as much as the next person. When she found a box of Q-tips on sale at the Cowichan Hospital Auxillary Thrift Store in British Columbia, she considered it a score.
She spent 50 cents on the small box which she’d picked of the shelf on a whim earlier this January. When she got home and opened it, her knees buckled and she almost dropped the box completely.
When Loretta Simms opened the box of Q-tips she bought at the thrift store, she found eight rings and a string of pearls inside.
The rings all contained authentic precious stones, including diamonds and rubies. The string of pearls were the genuine article as well.
“Oh my God,” Simms said to CHEK News. “Like I couldn’t believe it when I found it right.”
Simms says she nearly dropped the box on the floor. Paying only 50 cents for a box of Q-tips she intended to use to clean her windows, she now held over $1800 of jewelry in her hand.
“I just took it for granted that they were Q-tips and put them out on the shelf,” shop director Arlene Cristofoli said to CHEK News.
Simms felt it was wrong to keep the jewelry she unknowingly purchased at the thrift store and immediately returned them.
The employees at the store are all volunteers, and the proceeds go directly to helping fund the attached hospital. Rather than bask in the glory of her prospecting triumph, Simms hopped back in her car and drove to the thrift store.
“It’s just astounding. But wonderful of the lady to return them, you know,” a volunteer employee at the store told CHEK News.
Simms said she wanted the jewelry put to better use. The store, and consequently the patients in the hospital, would benefit from their sale more than she would.
It didn’t take long to discover the origins of the tiny treasure box. A man from overseas donated them while he was clearing out his recently deceased sister’s house.
Because of Simms’ kindness, the thrift store now stands to make a much needed profit from the sale of the jewelry.
The number of people who would have forfeited their second-hand store successes is small. Fortunately, Simms is one of the few who was willing to look beyond herself, at the bigger picture.
“I just felt it wasn’t for me,” she said. “Meant for me to find and bring back, but not for me.”
The thrill of having found the rings at such a cheap price is a thrill in its own way. It’s a story she’ll look forward to telling for years to come.
“They say you can’t find good finds at a thrift shop,” Simms said as she giggled. “I said ‘hey I did!”