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Old Greenwich's Rummage Room Pranks Passersby With April Fool's Display

Betsy Shopovick of Old Greenwich's Rummage Room poses in the window Friday afternoon. She had taken her turn pretending to be part of the display earlier in the day.
Betsy Shopovick of Old Greenwich's Rummage Room poses in the window Friday afternoon. She had taken her turn pretending to be part of the display earlier in the day. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

GREENWICH, Conn. — If you drove down Sound Beach Avenue in Greenwich on April Fools’ Day and thought the figures in the window display of a local shop looked a little too real, they were real.

Every April Fools’ Day — for longer than those in the shop can recall — a volunteer or staff member from The Rummage Room sits in the window as part of a practical joke. The store regularly has displays, so passersby assume the figure in the display is not an actual person.

But sometimes on April 1, they are. And that surprises some people walking on the sidewalk or waiting in a line of cars at the traffic light.

“They jump when they walk by,” Betty Shopovick, who had posed in the window earlier in the day told the Daily Voice. She said the annual tradition is well-received.

“It’s fun,” Shopovick said. “When they walk by and they see you…they smile and wave to you.”

On Friday afternoon, an actual suit-clad mannequin sat in the display after the store’s employees and volunteers had taken their turn. He had a newspaper in his hand and an Upper Crust Bagel Co. coffee cup in his hand.

Earlier in the day, women wore interesting costumes in the display. (In some years, men have participated, too). One woman dressed up as a tourist with a camera and a purposely mismatched Hawaiian clothing.

Liz Gustavson, who was working in the back room Friday, said that the annual tradition brings to mind a show from the past in which things are not what they seem.

“It’s kind of like a 'Twilight Zone' episode, right?” she said as volunteers and employees sorted out items.

The Rummage Room on Sound Beach Avenue began as the First Congregational Church of Greenwich’s annual rummage sale in 1964.

The store, which is staffed by volunteers and a few employees, donates its profits to local, national and international charities.

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