What do you think of when somebody mentions the word Charity Shop? Cluttered shops filled with old unwanted clothes that smell a little funky? I think this is what the majority of people first associate with Charity shops – and it was probably mine too before I really started shopping in them.
But there are so many myths surrounding Charity shops and that’s all they are. Myths! I’m going to delve into 5 Myths about Charity Shops you’ve probably gotten wrong.
They don’t pay rent or get discounts on utilities
I really don’t know where this idea originally came from, but as somebody who works in a charity shop, I can assure you there are no discounts.
So many people assume that Charity Shops don’t pay rent, or they get discounted rates. Which as far from the truth as possible, why would a landlord allow a business to run from their premises if they’re not getting paid for it? All charity shops pay the same as any normal shop. They pay rent, gas and electric, water, internet and staff wages!
The clothes are dirty and smelly.
Again, speaking from experience. Charity shops have standards. If they filled the rails with dirty, bobbly and worn out clothes nobody would buy them. So why would they waste their time filling the shop floor with clothing that nobody would buy?
In all the shops I’ve worked in they have a minimum standard of quality that clothes have to meet before reaching the shop floor. All clothes must be in good condition, free from stains and no nasty smells. All clothes are steamed before going onto the shop floor, often sprayed with some Febreeze to freshen them up too.
I have also on occasion have taken pieces home to quickly pop in the washing machine and bring back – this is usually items that are really good brands and apart from a small mark are otherwise perfect. It would be a shame to recycle them when with a quick swirl around the washing machine they’re good as new.
They get everything for free.
I hear this one quite a lot, usually when people are complaining about prices being too expensive. Don’t get me wrong, charity shops get a lot of donations ‘over the door’ as we call it, which are kindly donated for free. But that only covers a small percentage of stock.
Have you ever had one of those charity shop donation bags on your doorstep that you’ve filled with clothes and somebody has come along and collected them for you? They cost money and most charity shops rely on these services in order to stock their shops.
So next time you start moaning that you’re not able to buy a coat for 50p remember that not everything donated to the shop is free stock.
They only sell people’s unwanted junk.
I’m always surprised by the number of people that just assume charity shops are just full of other peoples unwanted junk. Yes some items are donated so technically unwanted – but like they say one mans junk is another mans treasure!
An increasing number of shops also stock ‘new goods’ – items the charity has bought brand new to sell in the shops. This often includes things like greeting cards and gifts. I’ve often bought my shampoo from my local Oxfam shop who stock shampoo, conditioner and laundry products.
All the clothes are old fashioned.
There is a common misconception that all clothes in charity shops are old fashioned, frumpy clothes belonging to people who’ve died. Which I’m not going to lie, it does happen. People regularly donate the clothing of their recently deceased family members. But a lot of donations come from people like me and you, people clearing out their wardrobes and donating clothes they no longer wear.
I’ve managed to get some amazing on trend pieces in charity shops before, I’ve even found things brand new with their tags still on for a fraction of the original price. My best advice is to just go along to your local shop and see what they have, you might be pleasently surprised.
So next time you think you know everything about Charity Shops you might want to think again, as not everything you hear is true.