£2.50 is a lot of money when you’ve got sod all

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Of all of this weekend’s charity shop swag, I am most proud of this

I was in a charity shop at the weekend, nothing new there. While I was on my knees (ditto) rifling through piles of books and records, a woman came in wanting to return a purchase.

Staff behind the counter were perfectly nice to her, but the shop’s policy is to issue credit notes and not cash refunds, and they told her so. This lady became very distressed, saying there was nothing in the shop she wanted and could she have the £2.50 please?

The answer was no, sadly. Shop policy is king.

The lady was vulnerable, I think. It’s not my place to judge, but the I reckon she fell firmly within the remit of the people the charity tries to help. She needed that £2.50 pretty badly. £2.50 is a lot of money when you’ve got sod all.

I “bought” her credit note from her, so she got her cash in the end (I was buying something anyway, I’m not fishing for compliments here) but I do think sometimes charity shops forget what they’re actually there for.

They raise money for their charity, yes – but they provide a service.

It’s all very well for the likes of me indulging in a cultural pick me up of a weekend, so I can smugly post up pictures on Facebook of nice things I’ve bought at pocket money prices, but in many cases charity shops are the only place where some people can afford to buy clothes, and the basics.

I honestly believe that in my community some wouldn’t have cutlery and plates to eat from, if charity shops weren’t around.

So yeah, I thought I’d get that one off my chest.

On a lighter note, I have a personal essay on fan fiction in Glasgow’s Fuck What You Love, out next month. It’s crowdfunded, and has exceeded the amount that editor Claire Biddles asked for by a fat margin, so that means there will be even more copies printed. (wahey to you, Glasgow)

@cathbore

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7 thoughts on “£2.50 is a lot of money when you’ve got sod all

  1. Both sad and happy (seflishly as it corroborates my own experiences lately) to see this – I was thinking today how hard it is for some of my friends and relatives in some affluent places down south to understand that there are people for whom £2.50 could be critical to eating that day. Over 5000 people (including children) helped by alocal foodbank in one year – shame on us. All politicians should have to shop in somewhere normal like Morrisons or Asda for a week every six months and listen to shoppers in the queues in front and behind. Right, back to lighter notes now 😉

  2. I expect the shop keeper thought he/she had no choice because they weren’t allowed but that was a good idea. I’ll remember it 🙂 (and they will too) x

    1. I’ve emailed the charity concerned as politely as I could, and suggested they might show a bit of leniency in some cases. It’s not the staff’s fault, it puts them in a very difficult position.

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