Charity shops were amongst the many victims of covid. Forced to close alongside their more business-focused cousins, they stopped feeding numerous worthy causes, an effect that had consequences we may be yet to fully understand.
Another consequence of the past 18 months, however, has been home clear outs, and once charity shops reopened – and found the capacity to deal with the influx – they have felt like they’re shining. Less tat, more quality has been the order of the day: in recent months I’ve picked up rare football shirts, pricey tomes and quality vinyl all at knockdown prices.
I’m not a natural shopper. In truth, I find most shops boring: they might be necessary, but they’re often uniform and generic and hold little in the way of originality or excitement, broadly speaking. I’m unlikely to stumble across a bargain (let’s face it, ‘sales’ are typically more suggestive of true value than anything else), and I quickly lose interest. Typical man, I hear plenty of readers cry. Yes, fair enough, I’ll own that, but it’s all just so dull.
The new breed of charity shop is a far better offering, though. A treasure trove, complete with a feel-good factor. Not uniform, or often even sure of the value of what they’re selling (if you find a true bargain, do offer to overpay!); they’re run by volunteers, and unquestionably contributing to society.
With the genre of retail shining so prominently at the moment as a consequence of circumstance, now’s the perfect time to get into trawling their shelves for a diamond in the rough. Hits are far more likely now than they’ve often seemed, and you’re doing us all a favour.