A recent article I read claimed that charity shops were beginning to become almost as expensive as high street stores, which obviously sell brand new items rather than previously loved clothing. Call it what you want previously loved or other people’s cast offs I have always believed that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and I am proud to say that some of my greatest finds have been purchased in charity shops.
Some people say that modern day charity shops have abandoned their traditional clientele in a bid to become more appealing to modern society and modern tastes. This new approach however does seem to be working with charity shops now outnumbering shoe shops on the high street and charity shop chains such as Oxfam reporting sales of £90 million in 2011, which is an all-time record.
After reading the article I took to Facebook to see what others thought and a few did agree particularly those living in Belfast where charity shops have become more like exclusive boutiques. As always though Fermanagh is that little bit behind and things haven’t changed much here in terms of charity shops. Although they are trying to reach out to new clientele I have to say that the majority of customer’s in Fermanagh charity shops are older people just looking for a bargain.
The shopping experience in a Belfast or any city based charity shop is completely different to the experience I feel in Enniskillen. I almost feel intimidated sometimes by other shoppers as though they are questioning my motives and why I am invading their territory. For this reason I feel that nothing much has changed in our local charity shops whereas in Belfast and other cities prices have gone up because quite frankly they can afford to charge more due to the calibre of customer. Nowadays a charity shop in Belfast will charge more than the likes of Primark even though the items are second hand.
For now I don’t believe our local charity shops are at all greedy in fact they are quite the opposite, they could probably charge more for many of the items they sell. I don’t think our local charity shops will change any time soon or at least until they modernise, appeal to more fashionable customers and get in a few more exclusive items but then for me the whole fun is in searching until you find that one special item.