For one thing, these shops are always committed to a certain charity. Each storefront has their cause as the name of the shop: The RSPCA, The National Cancer Association, The British Heart Association, etc. These non-profit organizations are pretty aggressive about soliciting donations. We probably get a large bag pushed through our mail slot once a week, detailing what they would like donated, and when the pick-up will be for our neighborhood. That means that the influx of goods is quite high, so if I stop in once every week or two, I will see a whole new set of merchandise. And here, shopping in a second-hand shop is not stigmatized like it is in the USA. People consider charity shopping a good deed, and the demographic that buys in these stores is very diverse. That also keeps the flow of goods going steadily. The other thing is that these shops are usually staffed by volunteers, so the sales really do go mainly to the organization! I think it’s a really wonderful system. Here in Bury, all the shops I’ve been to are very small– nothing like the massive Goodwills and Salvation Army stores in the States.
The thing I usually like to look for at these stores is wool. It seems to me that it’s getting harder and harder to find natural fibers and well-constructed clothes. Everything in the regular stores is made out of weird synthetics, and shipped over from China. The materials themselves smell bad. Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s like they were made in an automotive factory! It’s not that I never buy cheaply made clothes– I do– but it makes finding the good ones even more rewarding. Anyway, I have found a good tweed jacket and some nice sweaters in these shops, even some cashmere pieces– and of course the prices are really good. I’d rather get used, good quality pieces with lots of life left in them, than brand new, somewhat disposable clothes.
But I really hit the jackpot on Friday. I was half-heartedly looking through the bin of handbags, noting that everything was made of pleather. I’ve been looking for a replacement bag for about a year now, but the well-constructed bags that will last a long time tend to be expensive and I’m frugal. I saw an interesting purse, but it felt so soft, I thought it had to be some sort of synthetic material. When I saw the label and looked more closely, I knew it couldn’t be, though. I had come across a French (Comptoir des Cotonniers) purse worth about £200! It is perfect, and I love it. And it cost £3.50. What’s not to love about that?
|I’m standing on a step stool in front of the mirror. My husband described this picture as “pleasantly awkward.” Enjoy.|
So, I was already sold on the charity shops, but now that I have made a score like this, I will be doing my part to support charities on a regular basis! Sometimes doing the right thing is just so easy. If I had my wish, our local stores would carry furniture. But I don’t want to be too demanding– as long as people keep turning in their good quality wardrobe staples, I am happy!
What do you like to thrift or charity shop for?