Monday, 24 September 2007

So long old faithful

(The boys' favourite green chair from the Oxfam shop. I've always meant to paint it cream or off-white but they love it this colour and its sort of grown on me. A £2 bargain.)
What a let down. I've been waiting weeks for the great Oxfam shop close to work to re-open. Its had a refit and has been my most favourite treasure-hunting ground. I've bought everything from our lovely scrubbed pine table, tons of wicker baskets, vintage standard lamps, old books, lovely fabrics there, all for really reasonable prices. I love that my home is furnished with thingsother people have loved too and that may be a bit different to what you might see elsewhere, plus I know that money has gone to a great cause. We don't have much money to spend on the house so I'm quite pleased to have been able to do it this way.
(A messy Easter morning in our Oxfam dining room, table, all the chairs, curtain fabric, jug.
We'd have been sitting on the floor without this shop!)

It looks now though that I can't even afford the Oxfam shop! Oh the shame! I dashed up there on my break from our flooded office (another story - thanks to some sneaky so and sos who've stripped our lovely old stable block/office of its lead flashing so now the rain is pouring in! Cheers.) to discover a special "vintage" section which basically you can substitute for "we've been checking this stuff out on ebay".

I probably sound really uncharitable but I feel so outpriced. It was always the priciest of the local charity shops but honestly I was shocked by how expensive it is now. I saw a sweet little cross-stitch picture which would have been around £5 beforehand that's now £1o! I don't want to see a charity shortchanged of course but I was really struck by how few things they were selling (and I was there for a while) and how many things people were putting back. Surely by going so commercial they're not going to sell as much and raise less money? At least on ebay there's a chance of a bargain too. Even the ordinary furniture, pots and pans etc were a lot pricer. So I'll be moving down the road to BHF and Cancer Research in search of treasure from now on. Shame.

9 comments:

Leanne said...

That happened in the town I used to live in until last year. The Oxfam shop had a refit, and came back with much higher prices. I know they are trying to make money for charity, but how much do these expensive, and often unnecessary refits cost? and have they forgotten that charity shops traditionally cater for the poorer members of the community who cant afford the price od new stuff in other shops. Those charity shops who have kept their prices low sell so much more than those who have gone upmarket with fancy refits and minimal displays. Give me a higgledy piggledy shop where i can have a good rummage anytime!!

French Knots said...

That happened with my local charity shop too. Even before the refit it was pricey but now I don't go in anymore as many things are the same price as ordinary shops. I know they want to raise as much money as possible, but they are given the stock in the first place so there should be room for a profit and a good price.

Ragged Roses said...

There are lots of charity shops here but the ones that do the best business are the ones, understandably, that have the smallest mark up on prices. I don't think the major refits are working! I can understand the need for them to try and raise as much money as poss though.
Kim x
Love that chair!

Cathy said...

I love a good charity shop rummage and I've found that quite a few have gone up in price recently. I am sure it puts people off buying. Far better to sell more for less I would have thought. I like good old fashioned one off charity shops the best - there's a great one in Redruth. Plenty of affordable treasures.
Cathy X

Alchamillamolly said...

I agree with you and the others - I think we pay for the refit. I always find books are so expensive in most of ours in town, when you think the books go in and out - they probably sell them several times over. Some years ago my husband was out of work for 18 months and with 3 little ones and us to clothe they were a lifesaver and really they are for people on low incomes. The best one in our town was the Red Cross and then one day it had gone....its a hearing aid shop now. When are you moving?? Catherine

cd&m said...

Lots of Charity shops are getting far wiser as to the supposed value of things and the prices are higher. I have however noticed that things linger on the shelves for much longer to. What they don't seem to realise is the whole "value for money" thing. Okay so we might be prepared to go into a little antique type shop and pay £10 for the item you were discussing. But we are not just paying for the thing we buy we are also paying for the whole shopping experience. Looking around somewhere attractive, being served by someone who is knowledgable about the product and having it wrapped beautifully. Charity shops don't seem to realise that people don't want to pay top price to them because the shop often smells unpleasant, you've had to wade through lots of total rubbish to find this item and in many cases the volenteer staff have little idea about customer service.
I guess they are considering ebay when it comes to prices as well but again that is a completly different shopping experience that can't really be compared to a charity shop.

Vintage to Victorian said...

We have 2 charity shops and I overheard the 'person in charge' telling the staff recently in one that they were going to have a refit. The staff weren't too happy about it, and I wondered at the time what will happen to their prices once they are refitted.

Quite often the charity shops ask us in the antiques centres what something is worth before they price it and put it out. I think it's a shame that the greedy nation we have become has seemingly lost it's charitable attitude. We all like a bargain, but equally if funds permit, are happy to pay a fair price for something a bit special. However, if an item has been donated in the first place, surely any money received is profit. Admittedly the running costs/rental need to be covered, but a little and often is usually the best way to accumulate funds in my opinion. Charity shops today seem to have become big business although I do tend to find it is the larger, better-known charities who seem to operate in this way. I have to admit that I will rarely go into an Oxfam shop.

Sorry - I'll get off my hobby horse now!

Wild Rose said...

This sounds so familiar. When I lived in Harrogate, all the charity shops that had been renovated suddenly put their prices up when they reopened. It is almost like their customers are expected to pay for their newly updated shops. I did wonder whether the people who give to these charities realized how their money was being spent.

I discovered earlier this year that Oxfam sell lots of their donations on eBay, so I imagine that this is what they are basing their prices on.

I miss being able to wander around the charity shops and being surprised by a bargain...

Marie x

Peg said...

We have quite a few charity shops in our town and most are very helpful and very busy but sadly Oxfam & Arthritis care are the ones here who have had a facelift and now look no different to some of the high street shops and even more sad shoppers are few and most go out without buying. Our flea market is going the same way, no longer can you get a delightful little teacup & saucer for a couple of pounds they're usually aroung the £10+ mark. I did happen to find 2 lovely ladies who just pile the clothes & fabrics on the stalls, I can get a good few fabrics for quilting for just a few pounds. Last week I bought an old white sheet & pillowcase for £1.50 because they'd fallen on the floor and been trodden on by muddy shoes, washed them on boil wash and they came up sparkling white, far better quality than I can buy in the shops nowadays. Oooops I've fallen off the soapbox bumped my head so better go & find the vinegar and brown paper :o) Sad to see you're leaving Derbyshire we're not far from you :o)
Peg