Today I did my second stint this week at the British Heart Foundation charity shop. It’s fun being out front, behind the counter a lot of the time, checking out customers’ purchases, having a chat, tidying the rails, doing a bit of dusting here and there – I don’t do that much at home – and doing odd jobs like rotation of goods, like I did this morning. Everything we sell has on its label the date it was put out on the shelves, racks, hangers, etc on the shop floor, and after a couple of weeks if not sold, it gets taken off, counted, packed into plastic bags, labelled – ladies jackets, men’s trousers,, etc. – and piled up ready for the delivery man to take on to another BHF shop. We in turn get goods from other shops, and so the rotation goes on.
Customers always tell us how nice the shop looks and we think it does too! It’s really a pleasure working in the light, bright shop with everything as it would be in a High Street fashion outlet, nicely arranged and furnished with size cubes on the clothes hangers - and all of those hung in the same direction of course. It doesn’t really look like a “Second-hand shop” as the clothes are selected for quality. Old and damaged stuff gets recycled.
As well as clothes there are books, CDs, children’s toys, shoes, handbags, household goods like curtains, duvet sets, sheets, etc., all donated by people who have no further need of them, and also new stuff like ornaments, jewellery, hair accessories and key fobs . I think the books are the most popular thing to be sold! Lots of men particularly call in for a browse through the books, and maybe they’ll take a look at the menswear while they’re about it. Sam is the volunteer in charge of books – sorting them out, discarding the ones that are shabby- looking, pricing and labelling them and checking the shelves to see what needs to be replaced.
Here’s Sam at work in the back shop! Pity I didn’t notice the clothes hanger in the foreground! There’s always plenty to do in the back of the shop, sorting, steaming – instead of ironing - crumpled clothes, labelling and pricing, and of course making cups of tea or coffee to keep us all going!
Charley is one of the newer volunteers, working here at labelling clothes and pricing. We have set rules to follow for pricing - all BHF shops are the same, so we don’t just conjure prices from thin air!
Back again in the front shop we have various promotions to try and raise extra funds for heart research, etc.. February is National Heart Month so we are asking for donations in return for the chance to write a heart shaped love note to put in the window! Customers write their own messages, and declare love for family, grandkids, pets, even food! “I love Sushi!” is on one heart! Today I found there’s yet another fundraising event going on in the form of a small sweepstake. The large heart at the bottom of this photo has about 50 labels with well known TV characters’ names printed on. The idea is for the customer to make a donation of £1 to choose a name.. Hidden from view at the foot of the poster is the winning name which will be revealed when all the names are taken. Whoever has chosen the winning name will gain a tenner - £10!
So, all you Brits who are reading this, get yourselves off to your local BHF shop and do some spending. Research into heart disease, funding dedicated heart nurses and equipment is a very worthy cause, especially as heart disease is still one of the top killers in the country. Or why not consider volunteering at your local shop if you have an hour or two to spare each week.
This isn’t meant as an advertising feature, just me telling you about my morning in our shop, but it may inspire you!
Talk again soon.