There have been many complaints that the excess presence of charity shops are dragging the appearance of the British high streets down. I agree that they don’t look as polished as ‘normal’ retail stores, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t.
When faced with a high street laden with charity shops I get as excited as a cat with a scratching post. I get to stretch my shopping muscles and dig my claws in to some seriously juicy bargains. I can spot a charity shop a mile off, so I was somewhat surprised to be faced with this:
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a charity shop?! I was marching past this shop on George Street, Aberdeen on the way into town hand in hand with my boyfriend to go and buy his dad a birthday present. My head whipped round as we were almost all the way past. “Excuse me!? Is this is charity shop I see before me?” I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure. It all happened in slow motion! I suddenly felt my arm being jerked forward and I was rudely pulled back to reality. Realising that Eddie had continued striding forwards where as I had eased to a slow motion walk trying to make some sort of assessment of the situation. “Does that look like a charity shop to you?” I squeaked excitedly at him, he glanced left with only the barest passing interest, “Um, yeah?”
I just had to investigate on the way back on my own. The window displays were un-cluttered and classy. A mixture of furniture and clothing in perfect proportion to each other.
The displays inside the shop are equally as well presented. All of the clothes in here look like they will be amazing quality. There may be many Primark and Tesco items in here but you would never be able to tell. Some charity shops over crowd their rails, making it hard for people to find what they are looking for, putting people off properly perusing the rails. This store definitely employs a less is more policy to merchandising and I think it really works.
The shoe display looks exactly like my bedroom, my shoes are displayed pride of place on a shelving unit and the way that they have them arranged makes every shoe look so appealing.
The other thing about the Bethany Store that I haven’t ever really properly experienced before is the apparent dedication to the cause of their volunteers. This is not intended as any sort of disrespect to any other volunteers in charity shops, and it may be because I have not had the chance to speak with volunteers of all the charity shops (something that I hope to rectify at a later date) but the volunteers here really under stood the principles of the charity, they believed in them, and they were so enthusiastic about every aspect of both the store and the Charity. They educated me and enlightened me. I am going to do some further research into this charity (as I must admit that it was one I hadn’t heard of before and have since found out that there are 10 stores in the UK) and I should also like to interview the volunteers here, as well as interviewing volunteers of other charities.
But in general my praise for this charity shop is incredibly high. It is impeccably presented, a shining example to other charity shops in terms of window displays and merchandising. I will be donating a pair of boxed Office tomato red platforms in a size 6 over the next few days when I eventually haul my slightly less crippled ass down George Street.
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