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Do they keep donated stuff?

(150 Posts)
nanasam Sun 03-Jun-18 10:40:11

I may be doing my local charity shop a misjustice here so would like your opinions, ladies.

I recently went into the shop to donate a jigsaw puzzle and a whole, unopened box of Finish dishwasher tablets. "Do you take these tablets?" I asked. "Is the box sealed?" the grumpy lady barked asked. "Yes" said I. "Oh, well, I suppose so" was her response. As I left the counter she picked up the box of Finish and took it into the back room, where I heard her call "Does anyone here have a dishwasher?"
AIBU to suspect that some people take things for themselves before they get sold in the shop? I should add, I've donated hundreds of poundsworth of items in the past and have never had cause to worry before.

What do you think?

Panache Sun 03-Jun-18 10:51:56

I do know that certain people get the "cream of the crop" of donated clothes............a certain Pastor`s wife for instance was beautifully dressed for varying occasions, all the clothes came via a certain Charity shop,where the staff were aware of her size and need, so kept certain clothes so that she had "first refusal".

This has caused me to rethink my own donations as I too used to be a frequent donator.
This is NOT to say ALL Charity shops do like ways, but as far as I am conerced, it has left me with a bitter taste in my mouth.

Welshwife Sun 03-Jun-18 11:11:20

I know of one where that does happen - people working in there saying how great it is getting anything good before it goes on the shelves.

BlueBelle Sun 03-Jun-18 11:15:45

I work (volunteer) in a charity shop and I would like to totally defend them We can BUY things just like the customers can but that’s what we do BUY them and I would say nine times out of ten they are already on the shop floor
There are some things we are not allowed to sell but maybe a member of staff will buy, so often the staff may add money that otherwise the item would not have raised
I can’t comment on your charity shop nanasam or your vicars wife Panache I only know we work very hard doing a job lots of people wouldn’t want to do (handling other people used often not washed clothes and goods) and do it happily,b no one cheats the customer or donator as money is raised for everything that goes out the doors
I can completely turn it on it’s head and say have you every thought about what we get given often large broken items that people don’t have room for in their bin, bags of dirty smelly unwashed clothes often totally unusable items we ve had dirty underwear, used condoms still in the sheets! Last week I had a baby’s bottle complete with yucky milk still in it but we also have many many bags of magnificent donations from fantastic donators
Please don’t stop donating to your local shop because of one grumpy bad apple and also if you feel strongly send an email to the head office they will soon make sure any rules are revisited

Marelli Sun 03-Jun-18 11:21:59

I donate our unwanted clothes to our local Foodbank, now. Items which are not taken by the clients are sold off every few months at the ‘clothing sale’ which is advertised locally. Win-win situation. I bought 4 lovely items at their sale last week. ?
After all, if a person cannot afford to buy food, then they cannot afford to buy a warm jacket or whatever, even at a charity shop.
I donate my books to our local Community Charity Shop.

seacliff Sun 03-Jun-18 11:42:07

A family member used to volunteer in a charity shop too, and it's true, they did have the option to buy items coming in, so often had first pick. They always paid a fair price for them.

She told me that a lot of the work isn't very pleasant, all the sorting of bags etc. I wouldn't fancy doing that myself.

I know they also took in old clothes that are not wearable. These they sold on to by weight to recycling companies.

Greenfinch Sun 03-Jun-18 12:14:45

I think volunteers should have first pick. After all they give so much of their time for no monetary reward.
I think it is appalling how much rubbish is given that the charities have to get rid of. I was at the tip last week and a huge lorry from one of the well known charities was there dumping unusable stuff.
Now that jumble sales have all but disappeared some people feel it is OK to off-load their rubbish onto a charity shop.

janemar Sun 03-Jun-18 13:01:02

I agree with Greenfinch, volunteers should have first pick,sorting through the donations can not be a nice job.It is the same thing when you donate money to a charity, some of it goes on the expenses of running the charity and not all to the cause.

LynneB59 Sun 03-Jun-18 13:10:20

I did some voluntary work for a local charity shop, a few years ago. The 3 women who worked there went through everything that was donated and took what they liked, without any payment. They also said they THREW AWAY anything from George at Asda, as it could be bought new for the price they would get for second-hand. I stayed the day and didn't go back.

lemongrove Sun 03-Jun-18 13:44:29

Yes, they do!
I have volunteered in charity shops and can say that some staff do take items, or put a derisory amount in the till for them, it happens all the time.It’s disgraceful.

glammanana Sun 03-Jun-18 13:49:08

Before I retired 18mths ago I was manager of a Community Charity Shop and the first thing every morning we had to clear the outside front of the shop from bags of donations which had been dumped during the night almost all was rubbish people where to lazy to take to their local tip and knew we would dispose of it.
On the other hand donations that came in during the day where carefully sorted and graded as to if they where reusable if not they where either sent for recycling or put on a 50p rail for a quick sale with a notice stating they where cheaper than "Asda Price" it helped people who had little to spend.
My self and all the volunteers had pick of the donations but I insisted we had only a 20% discount and these purchases where always put in a receipt book with the receipt attached but only if the donations had not sold within a week.
I applaude all the ladies who work in such shops the job is thankless and the surprises you come across are disgusting to say the least.

gmelon Sun 03-Jun-18 14:02:15

I have a close friend who is manager of a Sue Ryder shop. Every item has to go on sale to the public for three days before staff can buy something they like. They do have to buy it.
I have the impression that this is Sue Ryder policy. Not sure though.
Might be just the way my friend runs it.

Oldwoman70 Sun 03-Jun-18 14:10:50

I think it very much depends on the manager of the shop. When I volunteered with a local charity anything in good condition was put on sale (volunteers could buy but were offered a discount which most refused), then a new manager was brought in, anything that came from a supermarket, Primark or the like, was immediately discarded to be sold as "rags". Often these were almost new items and in good condition.

Day6 Sun 03-Jun-18 14:16:41

That sounds like a good system gmelon and I'd like to think staff volunteering for a charity would abide by it.

I expect however it would be very hard to monitor and I know a person who works in the furniture store of a charity and he frequently gets first pick of anything that comes in. Small items he takes, larger items he takes at a discounted price before they go on the shop floor.

I felt very disappointed.

M0nica Sun 03-Jun-18 14:24:39

I think it is a question of what you are giving. Look around any charity shop. You will see clothes, books, shoes, handbags, pottery, glassware.sometimes furniture and electrical goods but you will not see any 'supermarket' goods; unused packs of Kitchen towel or bottles of dishwasher detergent.

There are certain things charity shops do not sell. Your offer of a box of Finish was just not the type of good charity shops sell for all kinds of reason. She just assumed you wanted to get rid of it and rather than look a gift horse in the mouth and tell you to take it away because they couldn't sell it she took it in and rather than just putting it straight into the rubbish sack, she asked the backroom staff if someone could use it. That seems quite reasonable.

As gmelon says charity shops can have all sorts of unsuitable and disgusting things in those bags, unwashed and stained clothing, worn out shoes are among the more obvious.

I do think before you donate items to a charity shop you have to think whether you are donating the kind of items a charity shop is likely to sell.

Greyduster Sun 03-Jun-18 15:32:56

I do think before you donate items to a charity shop you have to think whether you are donating the kind of items a charity shop is likely to sell. What about someone who makes a snap judgement apparently based on the person bringing the stuff in? My SiL, when they were packing up to move house, took two bags of his and DD’s clothes - good labels, Boden, Lands End, a couple of DD’s Hobbs dresses and some of SiL’s work clothes including a suit from John Lewis - to a local hospice shop. He had been cleaning and packing and looked, by his own admission, rather scruffy (he also had long hair and a light beard). When he went into the shop, there was a lady chatting in a friendly manner to a customer. When she saw him her manner changed and she said “I’m sorry, we’re not accepting any donations at the moment”. He said “How do you know until you’ve seen it.” But she just shook her head, said ‘sorry’ so he walked out and took it to another shop who accepted the bags without question. They have never given to that shop again, and have missed out on some good stuff of both theirs and my grandson’s.

M0nica Sun 03-Jun-18 16:39:59

To be fair, I have seen notices in charity shops saying they cannot take more stock and I recently included some children's toys among my donations to a charity shop but, as I went in, saw a notice saying 'We cannot take anymore plastic toys'. As I handed my other donations over I held back the bag with toys in explaining why.

The manager said they had put the sign up because so many people were using them to get rid of broken toys and disposing of them was costing the charity money. She asked me what I had and I explained they were early years toys; stacking beakers and the like and that they had all been put through the dishwasher before I bagged them up so were all scrupulously clean. She had a quick look and accepted them with enthusiasm.

glammanana Sun 03-Jun-18 18:09:25

Its so sad when Charity Shops have to have the "sorry no donations being accepted at present" but sometimes it is necessary as H&S regulations now only items to be stacked so high and so deep in the stock rooms making sure there is plenty of room to move about in just in case of an accident occurs from falling stock.

BlueBelle Sun 03-Jun-18 18:20:48

I would add we sell all Asda George, Primark all sorts if it’s clean and in good condition it’s sold maybe because I don’t live in a very affluent area, we only put torn, dirty or unsuitable clothing for rags which still get a price for the bagful
We often take things home to wash ourselves if they are lovely but grubby and all our baby grows or popper vests are washed by a voluteer ( if needed) and put in plastic bags of 4 of the same size and sold for £1 They are very popular perhaps I m lucky and work at a great shop but I have found that the time and effort put in by all our volunteers is second to none I give 15 hours a week of my time and I would urge you not to judge all the shops by some that aren’t as good

Jalima1108 Sun 03-Jun-18 19:09:38

They are not supposed to, a friend worked in the Cancer Research shop and they were not allowed to buy anything before it had been properly priced and put out on the shop floor, then, if not gone after a day, they could buy the item at the price quoted.

bikergran Sun 03-Jun-18 19:09:49

Have worked in charity shop for almosy 3 yrs now RSPCA very small shop bit scruffy but..never the less.
I have always paid for anything from the shop (we do get 20% off so still a bargain)

I have never been "given" anything, and can copy Bluebells post.

Some of the foul disgusting stuff that has been found in bags when sorting through!!! totally disgusting!!

If I bag does come in smelling rank then Im sure it now goes straight in the bin.

Some clothes that are torn, ripped bits missing ..goes to he rag man, along with tatty books.

All (most ) volunteres work very hard the same as a normal paid worker would do.

When I first went to work in the shop, it shocked me just how hard the volunteers do work, theres no hanging around with idle chit chat, theres
ironing/tagging/cleaning/steaming/pricing/checking/hanging/sorting/shoe polishing/hoovering and general cleaning of merchandise.Plus watching out for all the is an eye opener! shock

BlueBelle Sun 03-Jun-18 19:28:51

Oh yes I forget the thieves amongst the general public bikergran we had a pair of converse kids shoes go and the scruffy ones left behind We now only put one of expensive shoes out. Bags of toys are regularly opened and stuff taken out leaving the empty bag, tickets are ripped off and a made up price given in the hope we don’t realise people change into something and walk out No electronic tags. We have to be on the ball we ve even had a men bend down behind some centrally hanging clothes and stuff his back pack

Jalima1108 Sun 03-Jun-18 23:33:30

They have to sink low to steal from a charity shop!

mrsmopp Sun 03-Jun-18 23:56:40

Some very interesting comments here, as I've often given good quality items and later gone in to see if the things are on display. Mainly to see what they sell for, but there was no sign of my stuff. I did wonder if the staff had been given first refusal.
By the way, it's donors not donators. ?

Nelliemoser Sun 03-Jun-18 23:59:30

I think letting staff have the first pick of the goods donated is plainly wrong and bordering on theft.
The job might have it's unpleasant moments but I assume the items gifted are given to the charity for the benefit of those who need the items. Not the staff.
Certainly the staff should pay the going rate for the item.