Fundraising Magazine's Most Influential Fundraisers list is back!

The online poll is open to nominations for anyone working in the sector, whether at charities, umbrella bodies, regulators, agencies, consultancies or independently. We are looking for diverse, talented and accomplished individuals whom you feel are making a real difference to their organisations and the wider sector.

Nominate today!

Sale and return

01 Oct 2010 News

Debbie Attwood bemoans the lack of a returns policy in charity shops - and poses a compromise idea.

Debbie Attwood bemoans the lack of a returns policy in charity shops - and poses a compromise idea.

Charity shop buying, however rewarding, comes with a big downfall... the returns policy! The fact is, there isn’t one. Of course this is right and there shouldn’t be... if you want to take an item back then you should donate it, like the person before you did. However I’m convinced that this puts some people off charity shopping.

I, and I'm sure I am not alone, have a distinct dislike of getting changed in shop changing rooms. I don’t know whether it is the terrible lighting or the fact that the curtains never stretch all the way across and you can just imagine some pervert taking pictures of you in your most awkward position only to plaster them all over the internet! This phobia leads me to buy clothes without trying them on first, which brings in another problem: sizing. I look at clothes and guess that they fit me. This was fine when I looked the same in the mirror as I do in my head, but now everything comes up small when I get it home. And of course, despite being glad I made the donation, I now have a piece of clothing I can’t wear and will end up donating back to the shop without getting any use out of it.

If I were a businesswoman I would say this is genius – no one would dare ask for a refund and no one likes using the changing rooms, especially the ones in charity shops, as they are the size of a telephone box.  So the likelihood is that the clothes won’t fit and we’ll get them back in no time!

This would of course be a good thing – I am all for charity shops making more money – if the clothes always went back to the charity shops. But shoppers are not necessarily donaters and then clothes can end up in the bin.

How about this for an idea.  A charity should launch a scheme whereby if people donate non-fitting clothes back to them, they get say an email when something unique or designer comes in.  That would be amazing – I know I would subscribe!