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When giving to charity shops... Shop Around!


Obviously when giving to charity it's best to shop around so you get the best value-for-money in terms of how much good you can do; the more good that can be done for the same money, the better!

However, what's less obvious is that when giving consignments of goods to charity shops, those remarkable secondhand shops which are often in the business of doing good to good causes, you should SHOP AROUND! Some of the places will take the stuff you have given them, and then instead of giving it to the needy or putting it on sale and then giving the profit to the needy, they'll just "recycle" the stuff. This is clearly not as good value! (unless of course they are primarily a waste-recycling charity!)

What I'd recommend doing is offering the items to the shops, and only giving them the stuff which can be usefully dealt with. If a shop has a policy of floccinaucinihilipilification, then don't bother with them. Go elsewhere! There are places I won't give to anymore as they are just taking all the stuff and putting it in with the recyclable waste.

If you are in doubts about any particular place, put it to the test. ASK the people. It's sometimes worth taking along a bag of stuff as a TEST and seeing what they do. If they fail to do the right thing, you have the free choice of other places to give to when it comes time to give a large load of stuff away.

Extra note: I would have thought it would be a minimum requirement that staff at charity shops show some gratitude to people who give generously. But curious as it may seem, you can deliver the first part of a consignment to a charity shop and be kindly thanked and appreciated by a helpful considerate person, and deliver the second part of the same consignment within a few minutes and be insulted and humiliated by other staff at the same shop. Although it's difficult to explain this rationally, it may be that as staff at charity shops are often volunteers, they are in effect paid by either the job satisfaction of doing good (in the case of the nice, kind people), or by job satisfaction of having power by some inferred authority (in the case of those who are cruel). It comes as very hard to take when in a state of bereavement, to have the dear departed's precious items slapped back in your face because of bureaucratic matters or thoughtlessness, as if funeral directors were short of staff so they got the dustmen to do a bit of extra work shifting the contents of coffins. Mourners may be justified in feeling upset if the remains were described as "waste" etc.

These ideas are further elaborated on at the site: Intelligent Giving

Special note here: I'm not knocking charity shops at all! In fact I well approve of them! See In Praise of Charity Shops! I'm just saying that when donating stuff to charity shops, SHOP AROUND! Make sure your generous donation of stuff is appreciated!