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Charity Shops

When I visit a new town, I can't resist a charity shop. If I go in one, that's it I end up going into all of the others! I think it's the lure of a potential bargain and as we have two children, we can often get a cheap treat for the boys.

The truth is they really aren't like other high street shops, because when you buy from a charity shop, you are actually recycling. In some cases this can go on and on, if you buy from a charity shop and then return that item to another, several people will get the benefit of a single item. Our boys don't care that an item comes from a car boot or a charity shop, they just get enjoyment from receiving something that is new to them.

Toy Shops will always try and sell you the latest item, which is fine if you can afford it. However, if you are like us and can't always afford to buy new, a charity shop is a great alternative.

You will always be in good company at a charity shop. Many rich and famous celebs shop there! Ignore those pompous fashion shows, if you like an item of Clothing and it makes you feel good buy it! Just because you can afford to buy new, doesn't mean you have to. The same applies for your children. I can honestly say that both of my boys have had clothing bought from Charity Shops and no one has ever said they look untidy or scruffy. If you are selective and have a good rummage, you will often find items which have hardly been worn, as children grow so fast.

If we have a few items that we don't want, we give them away to a local charity shop. Our local favourite is Age Concern at the top of Sleaford High Street. Sadly, it is difficult to park near this shop as it is right next to a Pelican Crossing. Therefore, it often misses out for items, as the other shops are further down the High Street, opposite Woolworths, etc. However, there is a way that you can deliver your items to their door! There is a passage to the left of the shop, which will take you to the back door. If you park there and tell them in the store that you are round the back, they will open the back door and gladly take your items.

Age Concern - Sleaford, have an open policy to donations, which brings me to another point. We favour Age Concern, because they have always taken the items we have dropped off. We wouldn't drop any old tat off any way, but it's good to see a sensible approach to running a charity shop. Sadly, many other shops do not share this view. Some say no bric-a-brac, others no car boot stock and so on. This is a bad idea, as I feel they are heading down a slippery slope by being too selective. People make use of the most unusual things and who is to say, what will sell and what will not? Don't a lot of charitable organisations rotate their stock any way?

Which leads to my next point of over or under pricing. Although we favour Age Concern for our items, I honestly feel they could sometimes ask a little more for their items. However, this could be due to a turnover issue. Maybe they prefer a higher volume of turnover, for less revenue per item. Of greater concern are charity shops that charge far too much for items. Infact, sometimes you look at the bric-a-brac and wonder if you are in a charity shop or an antique dealers! It is no wonder that in some shops, you see the same items for weeks or even months.

To summarise, I think charity shops are a great thing and should be supported by all! Give generously and don't forget to take a look for yourself. You really never know what you might find!