When you hear the words ‘charity shop’ what do you instantly imagine? Mothballed naff 80’s clothes, half missing puzzles or games, tea stained cracked spined paperbacks? Or do you think designer goods at a discount, clean and organised space to peruse at your leisure and nabbing brill bargains?
I love a good rummage in other people’s things. I don’t know if I am just a nosy b*itch or just like to sniff out a cheeky bargain. I mentioned in this post that since returning to England checking out my local charity shops are high on my to-do list. They don’t exist in France and I had to explain to my French boyf that it is perfectly normal to buy things second hand even if things may smell or look a bit unsavoury at first.
I believe that spending at charity shops count as guilt free shopping so I made sure I popped into a few local ones whilst I was here staggering out laden with next to perfect books and clothes. If you are on a backpacker budget like I am, then why not help others and treat yourself by going shopping at your local charity shop?
I remember being younger and my mum (who is also a HUGE bargain hunter, gotta be something in our genes ) literally having to drag me, stubbornly refused to be seen inside for fear of losing the little street cred I had as a geeky teen, into a charity shop. Since getting older and realising that there is nothing uncool about giving to charity or helping others as well as saving cash I am now a loud and proud charity shop shopper no matter what neglected state of affairs lie inside.
However, last week I went into a Barnados menswear shop which was like stepping into a swish clothes shop. It got me thinking (Carrie Bradshaw style) is this the future of charity shops? Instead of cluttered racks of tatty clothes needing a good wash, broken kids toys and torn raggedy paperbacks we stepped into a clean, organised and well laid out shop. Where everything looked and smelt like new, you could have easily thought you had walked into an actual mens clothes shop.
The very chatty nice guy who worked there explained how Barnados were the first to introduce niche stores such as children’s, menswear and discount home buys. He said that since redesigning the store, ensuring the clothes and gifts were in perfect or near perfect condition they had seen a huge increase in sales, awareness and contributions. Basically win win all round!
Having charity shops on our local high streets have been a permanent fixture for many years but like everything they need to change with the times. To encourage people to go in and either donate or spend money they need to make this an enjoyable experience as any stand alone store would stride to do. Barnados I salute you and hope others follow!
What are your experiences of going charity shop shopping?