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snobby charity shops

(110 Posts)
etheltbags1 Sun 01-Mar-15 12:24:51

am I being unreasonable to think that charity shops have gone 'snobby'.
At one time you could root around in a 50p box and unearth a jumper that with a good wash would last for a long time. Books were coppers and so what if they had a bit of 'dog ears' the story wasn't affected.
The volunteers were friendly and would have a little chat but what a change nowadays.
The clothes are all colour co-ordinated (as if we cant see for ourselves what colour we want), the books are all next to new and cost £2 at least.
Everything is fashionable and nothing old is in sight. The staff are the worst, all dressed up smartly and looking down their noses as you go in the door. They pounce on you as soon as entering and ask if they can help, just as in a normal shop. That's not what most charity shoppers want, we can go to a shop selling new items anyday, we want a good root around to seek a bargain.
They will not take anything, no sheets, towels, underwear or socks. My aunt was in tears as she tried to get them to take bedding from her late sisters house, all clean and unstained and very good quality.
They will lose custom with this attitude, anyone agree with me.

petra Sun 01-Mar-15 12:37:32

Totally agree. The worst round our way is The British heart Foundation.
In fact the are so bad with this attitude that I haven't been in one for years.
It's not charity anymore, it's business. Look at some of the wages that the managers are getting.
I only support our local Samaritans shop and our own local Sea Scouts.
The Scout shop is wonderful. They take anything, and nobody is paid.
And don't start me on the prices!!!

etheltbags1 Sun 01-Mar-15 12:41:25

I too find local smaller charity shops are best, after all, we don't have to buy anything if we don't like it. I hate it when a new item has been donated and it still has a price tag on it and the charity shop has put a higher price than the original.

etheltbags1 Sun 01-Mar-15 12:41:54

I too find local smaller charity shops are best, after all, we don't have to buy anything if we don't like it. I hate it when a new item has been donated and it still has a price tag on it and the charity shop has put a higher price than the original.

Grannyknot Sun 01-Mar-15 12:42:31

Lol. There is a very snobbish charity shop in a village near where I live, and the women who work there are all pale gold bob haircut, a mid calf linen straight skirt and cream pumps. grin It ain't cheap in there!

Grannyknot Sun 01-Mar-15 12:43:52

That is terrible grammar but you get the drift. I just saw a man in Tesco with a t-shirt on that read "I am silently correcting your grammar".

etheltbags1 Sun 01-Mar-15 12:52:51

Bring back the scruffy charity shops, as I have often said, thing s will wash. Im not too proud to have bought towels (admittedly they were new looking and had no signs of wear or stains) and ive had second hand sheets given by a friend, stuff that some gnetters would throw up their hands in horror but I was in need at the time, recently widowed and had a small child and I was quite happy to boil everything and add conditioner.
I think that instead of having a 'blanket' ban on such items maybe they should just take them and sell the best stuff, my aunt said they refused to take a new wool blanket that was in its wrapper unopened and Im sure many people would be glad of that. They could recycle the less than perfect stuff and I know that recycling businesses do buy bags from charity shops-another source of income.

tanith Sun 01-Mar-15 12:53:14

I was reading an article this morning about how much money/goods are stolen by the staff in charity stores...

I agree about the snobbishness.. but I also don't want to give my 'stuff' when half the time its being stolen taken by the staff

etheltbags1 Sun 01-Mar-15 12:54:28

tanith, I thought they would have cctv in all their shops.

JessM Sun 01-Mar-15 12:57:12

The "staff" will be volunteers won't they. The quality of customer service inevitably affects the quality of the volunteers. Sometimes they are on "work experience" because they can't get a job.
Don't charity shops exist to raise money for their charitable causes? They will not succeed if their shops are full of junk being sold for next to nothing.
The smaller ones may have better bargains but I would never, ever donate to them - I once had cause to visit one (in the course of work) and they had a huge basement full to the ceiling with damp mouldering donations.
Things like sheets, if not wanted by charities, can be donated to other charities e.g. YMCA, Women's refuge etc

loopylou Sun 01-Mar-15 12:57:29

As petra says it's not charity anymore , it's business, and largely due larger Charities seeing increasing demands for their services as Government pushes for the Third Sector to pick up the fallout from underfunded Health and Social Care services as well as the proliferation of smaller Charities developing to meet local needs.
I too have noticed that their shops are far more choosey about what they'll take as well as hiking prices, effectively changing the traditional image. One local shop says they only take 'designer' or high-end market goods confused which surely is counter effective?
I much prefer to use the small, local groups' shops where I'm more confident that the money will go to the intended recipients.
In the past I've checked on how much money goes to salaries and back-office functions - you might be shocked how much never goes to the intended targeted groups, it can be as much as 80p in every £ in big national charities!

loopylou Sun 01-Mar-15 12:59:38

Jess, definitely not all staff are volunteers and I donate clean bedding etc to the local homeless charities or the Dogs' Home.

Greenfinch Sun 01-Mar-15 13:03:34

Some of the people who work there are totally out of touch with the price of clothes, especially children's, when new. They will sometimes sell a top for £2 that can be bought in Primark for £1

etheltbags1 Sun 01-Mar-15 13:06:02

Jess, I don't agree, they are there to raise money as well as being a shop for those who maybe cant afford to buy new. If everyone went in with just a couple of pounds to spend and find nothing they can afford then they will have raised nothing, if everyone goes in and can afford the high prices well and good but those people can afford to go to shops selling new stuff. I wouldn't go to a charity shop if I could afford new stuff. they will price themselves out of the market.

I agree about the quality of the volunteers though, if they are on work placements and just don't want to be there then they will not be nice to customers.

I like to go to seek something that the ordinary shops don't have, I recently went looking for a pair of laundry tongs as I have a bit of paralysis in my hands due to chemo and tongs help me to get washing out of the machine. No 'new' shops had them.

I think a lot of fun has gone from charity shopping and it is always good fun to get an item that is valuable for a few quid.

tanith Sun 01-Mar-15 13:11:38

ethelbags1 the article was mainly about AGE UK and how many thousands they have lost to staff thefts of money and goods , they found out by putting covert cameras in shops that appeared to be losing money. I think the article says they now intend on putting in CCTV , seems dreadful to steal from a charity.. thats given you a job no matter what your circumstances.

annodomini Sun 01-Mar-15 13:16:36

Our small town has four charity shops within a very small space. I have never been pestered when I've gone in to browse and the volunteers are all retired women who are quite happy to chat. However, it's true to say that some are more expensive than others. A jigsaw in Age UK costs about twice as much as a similar one in the Cerebral Palsy shop.

sunseeker Sun 01-Mar-15 13:21:16

I volunteer in a charity shop (for a local hospice) and can assure you none of the "staff" I work with steal from the shop. We are offered a discount on anything we buy but most of us insist on paying the full amount. There are some things we don't sell but we take anything people want to donate as some of the things we can't sell we will pass on to traders who will pay for them. As for not selling underwear - would you buy used underwear?

Some people do use the charity shop as a dumping ground for their rubbish, someone recently brought in a huge bag of clothes out of which only two pieces were fit to be sold - the rest were old, stretched and had holes. I once sorted through a bag of clothes which contained a childs dirty underwear!

We can't sell things like child car seats as they would have to be tested first and the cost of the test would be more than we could sell it for, but if someone was making a donation and a car seat was included we would dispose of it for them. Electrical goods also have to be tested before they can be sold.

Charleygirl Sun 01-Mar-15 13:22:12

My local charity is very convenient for me and it has an excellent selection of books. Recently I bought 3 almost new books and the lady was apologetic, asking for £1.60 for the 3. I went to the British Heart Foundation another day but the books on sale were marginally below WH Smith's prices so I left.

It is finding the fine line between overcharging and almost giving them away.

loopylou Sun 01-Mar-15 13:22:31

You're 'lucky' anno, our local (small) town has 15, all vying for customers yet the prices are way out of sync- worn and bobbly simple M&S jumpers for £3 - £15!

Nelliemoser Sun 01-Mar-15 13:37:41

This article suggests that to get good effect the admin costs of most big charities should not be restricted to much.

It might just surprise people about what a relatively small proportion of income is spent on admin costs.

daffydil Sun 01-Mar-15 13:50:54

I give all decent household goods to the local Women's Refuge. When I rang to ask what sort of goods they accepted, the person I spoke to said that when the women and children are rehoused they have absolutely nothing apart from personal effects and anything from a tin opener to electrical goods is welcome. They also accept toys (clean and unbroken obviously) I usually put in a few colouring books, coloured pencils - that sort of thing for the children when I take a parcel.

hildajenniJ Sun 01-Mar-15 13:58:39

The charity shop we took my Dad's things to when he went in to the Residential home were very good. They took sheets, blankets and duvet covers. They don' t sell them in the shop, but sell them to a company that buys rags, they are sold by weight at x pence per kilo. I donated crocheted Santa stockings, hats and scarves to my local save the children charity shop. They were very happy to have them.

Greyduster Sun 01-Mar-15 14:14:01

My daughter and her partner were moving house and decided to clear out their wardrobes, so took a lot of their stuff to a local hospice charity which, like their house, is in a very good area. They were, at that time, rather peculiar in their dress sense except in what they wore for work - both professionals. The woman in the shop took one look at them and, without looking at what they had brought, said "we have to be rather selective I'm afraid." My daughter said "Oh, so are we. Most of it is Next, Boden, Lands End and John Lewis, but we won't trouble you to inspect it. We'll take it somewhere else." When they left the shop, the woman and a colleague were apparently having a heated conversation! They have never taken anything there again and considering the quality of what my grandson alone wears, and usually not for very long, the shop has seriously missed a trick. My husband loves charity shops. Not a shopping trip goes by that he doesn't drag me round one or two. I have to agree that some of them are rather more expensive than you would expect, but there's so much competition, it must be difficult for some of them to make anything.

annsixty Sun 01-Mar-15 14:25:57

I have recently been doing a clearing job on DH's wardrobes. In there was a trench coat of lovely quality and hardly worn at all. It had all the requisite tabs and buttons and a nice Burberry type lining. The staff at the shop which I took it to,along with other good stuff fell on the coat with delight. Not many weeks later M&S were advertising a similar coat for £299. This was Age UK.I hope it went on sale!!

rosequartz Sun 01-Mar-15 15:03:43

I took a pile of nice paperbacks to Oxfam a few years ago; the assistant refused them as she said 'he' only wanted the latest paperbacks published in the last few months.
I have not donated there since.