There are just too many charity shops


I would like, I hope, to make a constructive contribution to the debate.

First of all, in my opinion there are far too many charity shops generally. Sometimes wall to wall in the high street and as your paper indicated, in direct competition to neighbouring shops which affects local employment.

In Scarborough, as in other major towns and villages there are the national charities like Oxfam and the Red Cross, which is I suppose, big business and local smaller charities like St Catherine’s Hospice. It would be interesting to know who is responsible for the pricing policy in these charity shops. Does it come from head office or is it the responsibility of local shop managers.

I realise that the charities have a responsibility to make money. I think in the past these same charities had some consideration for local people, unemployed or on low incomes and the prices posted took that into consideration.

Take books for example. In the Oxfam and the Red Cross shops in Scarborough, they have acres of wall space lined with books. I believe the reason these shops have so many books on the shelves, is that the public refuse to buy them because they are priced so high. I for one don’t buy there any more. They don’t seem to have the wit to understand that, if the books are priced reasonably, they would sell and there would be greater turnover. In any case these books would be brought back time and time again to sell yet again, making more money for the charity and serving the community.

I think it’s about time charities took a long hard look at themselves. Should they be in competition with other businesses? Should they have aggressive marketing practices? I believe, that in addition to generating revenue for good causes they should serve the local people who are not so well off these days.

There are thousands of charities in this country, maybe far too many, competing with each other, chasing a limited amount of money. Sometime, some of these charities resort to more aggressive marketing tactics which some people might regard as offensive.

William Miller

Muston Road