Elder daughter & I volunteer at one of our local charity shops, and we can’t help noticing that things have changed somewhat over the last year. Despite all the news reports to the effect that charity shops are hard-hit by the recession, we’ve been having to turn away donations; sometimes the back of the shop is too full to take any more in safely. And what we’re taking into the till has skyrocketed…

This time last year, we were lucky to take £30 on a Monday afternoon, the day we both volunteer. But yesterday we took £189, and today, when she’s also there but I’m not, another £120. Some of that may be caused by the fact that our shop has  been revamped into half-bookshop, our local secondhand bookshop having folded after refusing to have any truck with online sales. But most of the difference as far as I can see, has been in the type of shoppers; suddenly many of our customers are very well-dressed, and spend time browsing & trying things on, rather than dashing in, picking up the first item in their requested size or style and dashing out again. People are coming in in groups, clearly going round all of the charity shops in town together, laughing, chattering & encouraging each other, rather than slinking in & out, terrified the neighbours will spot them. And they’re happy to spend say £7.99 on something fashionable, vintage or classic in good condition, and often buy more than one item. I’ve just come across the word “Recessionistas” – thank you, Tringle – and that describes them perfectly.

Seems to me that this is a very positive thing. For so many years, it’s been considered very infra dig to be caught wearing or owning anything secondhand; I know at least one member of my own family feels that I’m letting society & the economy down dreadfully by not buying everything brand new, and making everything even worse by cheerily admitting it.  But clearly, whether driven by necessity or not, people are beginning to get over the “everything has to be new” idea and are starting to enjoy creative recycling again.

Come to think of it, that means I have competition!

TTW meeting this Thursday, CLaRC, 7-9 pm, everyone…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s