Up until recently, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of buying things from charity shops to sell on Ebay for a profit. I had two main reasons:
- I used to tell myself that virtually every donation is being bought by people who will use it and love it themselves
- I was worried that if people kept snapping up things they don’t actually want, purely to make a quick buck, there wouldn’t be many treats left for genuine charity shop lovers on the hunt for something special
I never thought these eBayers were doing anything wrong (there’s no laws against making a profit from charity shop finds) but I did feel like such a tactic was taking a little magic away from these secondhand havens.
Since I started helping out at a charity shop, however, my opinion on this has really changed. Here’s why…
Many charity shops get more donations than they know what to do with
Charity shop volunteers are drowning under donations. More often than not, these donations are poor quality and need to go straight in the bin, but every so often an item comes in that is definitely worth selling. There’s just one problem – there’s not always space for it because…
People are more likely to donate to a charity shop than they are to buy from it
Since I started volunteering I’ve learnt that people are far more likely to donate items than they are to actually buy them. Many charity shops are left with more items than they can sell.
As a result, most charity shop volunteers are grateful to anyone who walks through those doors and buys something, no matter what they intend to do with the item. Besides, not only are they paying the asking price and contributing to charity, they’re helping to create valuable space in the charity shop and preventing things from going to waste.
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Charity shops exist to raise money for important causes, not to save people money
Some people argue that charity shops exist to serve the poor, but technically this isn’t the case. A charity shop’s primary purchase is to raise money for worthwhile causes; it doesn’t owe customers anything! So, as long as customers pay the charity shop’s asking price (and don’t haggle!), what they do with their purchase afterwards doesn’t really matter.
The fact we can find great bargains in charity shops at a fraction of their original cost is simply an added perk.
What do you think? Do you think it’s fair for people to buy donations with the intention of making a profit? Or do you think they’re snapping up the best items before others get the chance? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.