Wednesday, 22 June 2011

New and not so new

Yesterday was a bumper day for the local hospice - I spent a total of £16. I visited one of their shops in the morning where I found a nice silk blouse which I thought one of my daughters might like and a blouse for myself. In the afternoon I attended a hospice fashion show where a relative was modelling some of the hospice's clothes. I picked up an outfit which I think would be ideal for a wedding, plus a pair of white jeans which will go with the not-completely-white-but-a-little-on-the-cream-side jacket. That means that I can sell my so-white-they're-blue pair on ebay.

I've stopped taking clothes to the local hospice shop because of the way they sort and manage their business. It's interesting to note that they do sometimes run out of clothes and have to make appeals for more and I do wonder if this is because they are just too picky. You can no longer go in their shops and pick out something that looks as if it's been worn. No, they strive for everything to look completely new and appear to be trying to compete with other clothes retailers in terms of quality.

The hospice is not alone. Other charity shops are following the same line now I find. Of course what doesn't get put on the rails goes to a rag merchant and when challenged the charity will point out how much it gets for rag per bag. I just think it's a terrible shame that my garments which I have not been outworn but just out-shrunk have to end up as rag when they could very well be worn for years to come by someone else.

So if I have an item of clothing that I want to donate but which, though not worn out, shows some signs of having been worn, I take it to the nearest animal charity shop. I've found these are far less picky - and consequently you can get better bargains there too. There's something about animal charity shops which is different. They are usually smellier - I guess because there's more worn clothing on the rails - and they are usually cheaper. But if you can wade through the other characteristic which is simply too many clothes on too few rails, you can sometimes find the most amazing bargains, like my leather coat the other week.

We're going to have to start wearing clothes until they fall to bits - we can't carry on with this Primark-led 'wear today, bin tomorrow' lifestyle. It's unsustainable. So perhaps charity shops will eventually all have bargain rails with the lesser-quality-than-we-would-wish items for a pound or so. I hope so.

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