The demise of the “real” Charity Shop

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

More and more nowadays we see new “crap”, for lack of a better word, being sold in so-called Charity Shops, to about forty percent and more.

In my area this is very much in evident with the stores from the Queen Elizabeth Foundation and the Cancer Research Fund and the same is also the case in many other places with stores by those, and also some other charities.

It used to be that Charity Shops would sell donated goods, whether second hand or new, but, in general, no stuff that they actually bought in from wholesalers for resale. A loophole, as far as I am concerned, in the law allows them to do that and it is being exploited by many of the charities now.

Those shops that stick with the old way are the Salvation Army, Save the Children (in the main), Oxfam (thought they do sell crafts and some Fairtrade goods), and a good fair few others.

Personally, I must say, that I have begun to boycott those shops that have gone from donated goods to the majority of new purchased products and here especially those where the range is now predominately new brought-in stuff.

Greed at play, once again, as so often.

Charity Shops once were the stores where the poorer folks would shop for clothes, especially for clobber for their kids, and other stuff secondhand cheaply.

Then, however, came the greed to many of the charities running those “goodwill” stores and they marked up good as if they were being sold as antiques and at times new branded but nevertheless donated clothes, for instance, are priced at no more than twenty percent down from priced on the High Street.

This certainly is now how those stores were ever intended and envisaged.

Now, as I have said, many of those shops are now half-full of new bought-in junk for sale.

I wonder how many people donating to those Charity Shops are aware of how their donations are sold and also how much actually gets thrown away because they cannot be sold at high enough prices.

But, as in so many cases, ethics just seem to have gone right out of the window once again.

Everywhere, including many green shops and vendors, the consumer – what an ugly word now – is being taken to the cleaners and being ripped off.

When I can buy quality new cheaper on the High Street then the same secondhand in a Charity Shop then somewhere along the way and line something has gone wrong and seriously awry.

Greed has taken a hold and the general Anglo-Saxon shopkeeper's attitude of wanting to make big bucks on individual items rather than selling more items to make a similar return, as is done by the likes of Primark and such.

The same attitude prevails in business in most of the Anglo-Saxon world as a whole, it would appear.

There are now, I must say, a number of those so-called Charity Shops that I personally no longer frequent and from which I have withdrawn my patronage since they have gone down the road of commercialization of this kind.

Boycott often is the best reply to such practices and, maybe, we all should take a close look at businesses, whether Charity Shops or green ones, and withdraw our custom from them if we are not happy with such practices.

Just some food for thought...

© 2010