People blame the internet for the decline in the UK High Street, which is partly true. Other factors to consider are the change in lifestyle, with more people owning cheap cars and therefore shopping out of town where parking is free.
Then there’s the charity shops racket. Many employees are volunteers, or people serving community service. Charities are largely exempt from rigorous checks on their accounts – the Charity Commission states on its own website that it hopes to check just one in ten each year. Free rent too – my shop pays £1050 a month.
Once charity shops only sold donated used goods. Not now, much of their stock is brand new and they’re selling on ebay too, using the strapline that sopme proceeds go to charity. I could say the same thing, our shop donates to St Roccos hospice charity, by fitting batteries at £1 a go and passing on customer’s donated watch and jewellery boxes.
I’m all for helping people but charities are now businesses, with CEOs on 100K a year and shop managers earning more than I am. It’s time the government levelled the playing field and insisted that detailed turnover accounts are made public every year, trustees are made directors and subject to checks, and prosecution or striking off. At least 50% of all stock sold, b y any means, should be pre-owned, because it isn’t fair that charities are undercutting businesses that are paying taxes for local roads, schools and the NHS.Then there’s rent – it’s time they paid their way.
So next time you feel like donating old watches or jewellery to a charity shop bear two things in mind;
1. I have several charity shop workers coming into my shop every month trying to sell jewellery, or check something is gold/gold plated – where does that stuff come from I wonder?
2. Charity shops will give you nothing but a temporary halo of goodness when you give away your old gold watch. I will give you money. It’s a tough world and we all live by the kindness of strangers, but in the end, your choice – do you want a High Street, or not?