charity shops are no longer your best entertainment value

An Oxfam charity shop in Covent Garden, London...
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i’m dissed with the charity shops round my way, gone are the days of trolling round the locals with a tenner, picking up a t-shirt and a couple of cd’s and vids and still having change for some baccy (yeah yeah, that’s another story), all the chazza’s round here have undergone some kind of terrifying plastic makeover like Oxfam did a few years ago, and the bargains have flown the coup.. British Heart Foundation followed up nicely with a great selection of ex catalogue clothes and not much else..

now i can understand that any organisation is looking to improve it’s profit margins, and these days, charities are businesses like any other but there seems to be a serious lack of understanding of the charity shop/thrift store sector, and my discussions with workers and managers have confirmed my fears..

many more people with money are frequenting charity shops, whether because it’s now more ‘trendy’ or because people are actually realising that we don’t need new things all the time i don’t know, but i do know that this shift is pricing poor people out of the market. To my mind a charity shop served a dual purpose, it generated cash for the charity, but also provided cheap goods to people. These days stock in charity shops is pored over by the workers and all the nice pieces are are put in the shop, and all the cheapo stuff is either ditched (in the case of nick-nacks and ) or bundled up and sold in bulk to rag merchants…

I signed up for GiftAid at my local Mind, so that they are able to claim tax back on my donations, and i got a lovely letter from them saying that my donations had made them over 70 quid, yet I can no longer afford to shop there, boy did i give them some grief when they got rid of the pound rail…

my advice to bargain hunters is to avoid the big names and aim for locally managed shops such as Hospice shops, our local Scouts is pretty good…

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