Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Not For Profit?

You wouldn't have thought it judging by their proliferation on Central Road, but charity shops have taken quite a knock in recent years as people increasingly turn to eBay to make money out of their unwanted goods rather than dropping them off at their local charity shop.

The rise of eBay is widely seen as a significant factor in charity shops' turnover falling by a third over the last couple of years.

Blog reader Jenny, however, reckons the tables can be turned as there is money to be made from buying goods from charity shops to sell on eBay:

"Here in Worcester Park, I picked up a couple of books for £2-£3 each from the Heart Foundation and sold them on Amazon for £25-£30 each.

More recently, I picked up something stylish for £15 in the Geranium Shop and sold it in an auction for £100, a few days later.

Currently, there's a book for a couple of quid on the shelves in the Fara Charity Shop, which is worth £30+ on Amazon, but it wasn't until later that I realised it.

If somebody else recognises and manages to pick it up before I next take a walk along the high street, next Saturday, good luck to them!"

So who knows - perhaps I am missing a trick in ignoring the hidden treasures in Worcester Park's charity shops.

Now, I must go and check out those books at Fara....

13 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

coffee man said...

I hope Jenny shared her good luck/profit with the charity shops concerned and gave them a generous donation !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hmm. So by reselling the items, you're effectively:

1/ Profiting from the goodwill of others who have donated the items.

2/ Depriving someone local who might actually get some genuine use out of them.

3/ Encouraging people to sell direct on ebay, thereby removing the better items from the charity shops that encourage people to go in, in the first place.

Woooo! Go Capitalism!

Worcester Park said...

Anonymous - I don't think you've really thought through your comment above.

1/ She is not profiting from goodwill of others. She is buying from charity shops the same way as other shoppers do. The charity shop is in the business of selling these items and she buys from them, maintaining their income. People give items to charity shops so the charity shop can sell them to raise funds. This is exactly what is happening, regardless of where the items end up originally.

2/ It is not depricing someone from getting genuine use from them, as presumable the end user via eBay really wants to item. Again, it doesn't matter to the charity shop as they get a sale and get their money regardless.

3/ Surely it is far better that they go from original owner to eBay via a charity shop than going straight onto eBay? This way charity shops could actually benefit.

It would, of course, be better for charity shops if they wise up to the fact that they could sell many items directly on eBay thereby
raising more money for their good cause.

There is a common misconception that charity shops are there to provide charity to their customers by selling items cheaply. They are in effect commercial (capitalist) enterprises (albeit one that puts its profits to charitable use).

Washington Resident said...

I could not help but laugh when I read these above comments! I have repeatedly found that people who angrily lecture others on the merits of generously giving to charity are actually full of excuses, when it comes to themselves.

Without these charity shops, parts of Central Road would look like that deserted eyesore at North Cheam, where the Queen Vic etc used to be. And to continue to exist, the local charity shops need a regular supply of income from us residents to keep their tills ringing.

So, rather than criticise others for doing just that, why don't coffee man & co put their money where their mouths are - go in a few of Worcester Park's charity shops and part with some of their own spare cash? [Clearly they have time on their hands].

coffee man said...

Dear Washington Resident . I think you are missing the point i said i hoped Jenny would share her good fortune with the charity shops concerned. Whats wrong with that . I personally spend at least £30 a month in these shops and if thats not supporting the charity shops in WP i don't know what is. I do hope you also put your money where your mouth is.

BenjyP said...

Coffee Man, does this result in you looking like a ill-fitted tramp and/or alcoholic?

I just prefer to most of salary to local charity for no personal gain, via a voting system in Waitrose

WARcester Park said...

Jenny has it all wrong, what she should be doing is going to the charity shops after they've closed for the day and just simply help herself to the stuff that is left outside by the doners that leave stuff out of hours. She'd make an even bigger profit.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the people that made the donations to the charity shop would feel knowing that someone was buying their donations and reselling them for a profit?

Maybe they should sell the stuff on ebay themselves, so the charity shops will lose out, maybe ending as financially bankrupt as Jenny is morally bankrupt.

coffee man said...

Benjyp,sorry to disappoint you but you have the stereotype all wrong . Many people support National and local charities by purchasing through local shops . Most of the items i buy are books ,which when i have read them are then handed into , believe or not , yes you have it, charity shops.which are then sold on again. Great stuff isn't it. win win for the Charities concerned.I hope Jenny has taken note!!!!!!!!
The voting system as you mentioned in Waitrose is not very representative as most people do not read the information on the charities concerned but tend to put their green disc in the chamber which is the biggest. Next time you are in Waitrose just watch them.

BenjyP said...

Hey Coffee Man,

Was only teasing, I had assumed that you were buying books or vids as all the charity shops in WP are no longer the purveyors of the quality retro clothes they used to be, mostly 2nd hand primark tat for sale for more than it originally cost. You would probably only get a t-shirt, some moon boots and a bum bag for £30 now.

Although rather than watching what people do in Waitrose, I find that I can easily deduce what they are voting for by looking through the perspex bin and seeing how full they are! On that note there is always the possibility that people have been in on previous days in the month and decided that for each subsequent visit for the rest of the month they will vote for the same charity.
If you are right it is a shame that people don't read what the various charity bins are for in Waitrose, especially as often the ones that have received the largest donations are regional branches of national charities.

Rick said...

Whenever we take something in or buy something from the Central Road Hospice charity shop, I like to think that we are doing something worthwhile. Because we’ve signed up to gift aid, we periodically receive a letter from the Hospice HQ, informing us how much they’ve raised from the last batch of our unwanted items. The last letter stated £68, which impressed me no end! (No doubt this was largely due to the efforts of the volunteers). We are happy, the charity is happy and the buyers are happy - end of story. Or at least, we feel it should be.

Why on earth should it matter to us who bought our unwanted possessions and handed over the money to the charity? Or why they bought it? Or for whom they bought it? Or even if they resold it on Ebay? More specifically, what business is it of anybody else what happened to the stuff that we had no further use for? Who are these arrogant writers to comment on whether the buyer is of sufficient enough character to be deserving of it?

There seems to be some very bitter people around, with distorted views about other people’s motives and morality. Out of interest, I looked up the definition of the word ‘charity’ in a dictionary. The first definition was: “a kindly attitude towards other people”. Can anybody else spot the irony of the attitude of these ‘charity uber-champions’?

Worcester Park said...

Well said, Rick!

Anonymous said...

SELL SELL SELL
I want to sell all the furniture and bits in my house in the next six months, how do i do that? I live in Worcester Park. All items were bought from John Lewis and Bentalls. They are about 5 years old but still in A1 condition. Any Ideas anyone ?

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