As befits my social status, I am a regular non-shopper in charity shops. In fact, I can rarely pass a charity shop without going in and not buying something and yesterday I did – or was it didn’t? – just that. My shop of choice was a ‘Mind’ shop, which raises money, oddly enough, for the ‘Mind’ charity. I am not the world’s most discerning shopper but even I couldn’t find anything I felt worth buying in this one.
First stop, as ever, was books and what a motley selection they were. Of course, they were a motley selection. They’re books people don’t want. Unless your choice of reading is an endless selection of unwanted cookery books written by Mockney King Jamie Oliver. Then I nosed through a small pile of crap CDs which were completely overpriced at £1.50 each. Then it was crockery, a small tray featuring a huge image of Father Christmas and lots of clothes.
I am not actually that bothered at wearing second hand clothes since I spent much of my childhood doing just that, but again beyond a bunch of drab T shirts, some slacks and some work boots, I could find nothing of any interest.
What I really wanted was merchandise. You know, T-shirts with things like ‘You don’t have to be mad to visit Mind, but it helps’, assorted badges and perhaps mugs, each bearing the name of a particularly mental illness. But apart from one small badge with ‘Mind’ on it, there was nothing.
It is entirely possible that no one wants to entertain their visiting friends with mugs of tea which say things like, ‘Paranoid schizophrenic’ or ‘Clinical depressive’ but I’d certainly have a go. At least it might make people think a bit, even if that thought was ‘I’m not visiting that nutter again.’
What I’m trying to say is that I’d like to see charity shops sell more stuff that’s relevant to them. Of course they need the generic stuff to keep the money coming in, but surely some directly relevant stuff wouldn’t go amiss, would it?