Thursday, 10 September 2015

Mary, Queen of (Charity) Shops

A lovely friend of mine, and follower of this blog, lent me Mary Portas’s book on how to shop. She thought I’d be interested seeing as I write a blog essentially about shopping. I was. Mary Portas thinks that shopping is an art and in this book gives hints and tips on how to make shopping the best experience possible, so I wondered if these could be applied to charity shop shopping.
Here are her main points –
Don’t stand for shoddy service.
Ingrid has talked about this in her post on customer service and I agree with her Just because it’s a charity shop and run by volunteers doesn’t mean that shopping in them shouldn’t be a pleasant experience. In one of our local charity shops the woman who works there is really sullen. I don’t go in there very often.
Never shop on a Saturday.
Not everyone has this privilege. I usually shop in the week because I can but I did charity shop on a Saturday recently and it was a LOT more crowded. But shopping wasn’t impossible. However, I did find myself on the same circuit as a few people and saw the same faces in every shop, can get a little embarrassing.
Dress the part (i.e dress down and wear flats).
I don’t think this is relevant for charity shopping, it’s not like you’d spend a whole day shopping as you might if you were visiting proper shops. Mary does say to go shopping on a good hair day which I thought silly at first then remembered buying a dress to try on at home (no changing room in that charity shop). I wasn’t sure and was thinking of taking it back but tried it again when it just so happened that my hair looked better and I thought the dress was great. Now, the dress hadn’t changed….
Don’t buy in haste.
Mary Portas says to put items back and leave it until the end of the day to decide. You, of course, can’t do this with charity shops as you might miss out all together. If you’re uncertain you should check the shops returns policy. Most charity shops are happy to take things back, especially the ones without changing rooms.
So, mainly, I think High Street shopping rules can apply to charity shops and that Mary Portas has got it right. She also mentions the different type of shopper and asked if we could identify ourselves from the “tribes” she describes. I’m definitely an “Originator” I thought – ‘never in tailored clothes but not tracksuit bottoms either, always looks effortlessly stylish with a hint of bohemian.’ Yeah, right, who am I trying to kid, I’m a “Bargainista” through and through! 

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