Just like I did last week, this morning I went on somewhat of a charity shop spree. After popping in seven charity shops in total, I emerged with three new tops and two new books. But I did what I often do and forgot that just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean that I am going to wear it.
I spotted the green blousey jacket below in Cancer Research UK for £6. A fantastic bargain if you’re going to wear it and love it, not such a bargain if it’s going to be sat on a hanger in your wardrobe unworn and unloved.
When I first spotted it on the rail I thought it’d look fantastic with a black dress, but now that I’m back home, in front of my own mirror, I’ve changed my mind and I’ve come to realise that I don’t even own any black dresses. I know deep down that this is something I’ll probably never have the courage to wear. We’ve all done it.
So I’m left with a bit of a dilemma. What do I do with it? Do I let it sit in my wardrobe for the next year and tell myself I’ll wear it eventually? Do I flog it on a car boot sale? Or do I donate it back to Cancer Research and consider the £6 I spent on it a donation? There is another option of course, while many people don’t know this, the majority of charity shops let you return things and get your money back just as you would with a regular shop on the high street.
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Now, when this first crossed my mind about an hour ago I decided to have a quick Google to find out what people think on the matter. Judging by several comments on this Mumsnet thread, it’s not the done thing, and people who ask for refunds at charity shops are “mean” and “a scrooge”. But do you know what? At least these people are buying from charity shops in the first place! We need more people to buy from charity shops and the more incentives we can give them the better.
I think the fact that places like Cancer Research UK do refunds is fantastic and it’s a great way of improving the misconception that charity shops are just filled with unwanted junk. By allowing people to return things, they’re behaving just like any other shop and, I’d argue, are making it easier for people to purchase things in the first place without worrying about whether they’ll use it or not. Someone who is humming and ahhing over an item is more likely to buy it if they know they can bring it back. I mean, how many times have you reconsidered buying something in a high street store after discovering that their refund policy is a bit stingy and they’ll only do exchanges? I have loads of times.
This top may be considered ‘cheap’ at just £6 compared to brand new clothes, but if I begrudgingly keep it, I’m only going to worry next time I purchase something. I’ll be hesitant, I’ll play it safe and I’ll be reluctant to buy pretty clothes in case I don’t wear them. And that’s not what charity shops should be about. Charity shops are about more than just raising money for fantastic causes, for many they’re about trying new things that you wouldn’t usually go for and re-homing something that would otherwise go to waste.
By returning this green jacket/blouse thingy, I can find something I love so much more.
On a positive note, I did also buy this lovely top below which I definitely will be keeping, wearing, and loving.