Shopping at charity shops.

Stifler's - posted on 01/23/2011 ( 48 moms have responded )

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I was thinking the other day that I always go to Lifeline for a look and cheap clothes for Logan and myself and books and stuff. But I have the money to buy clothes from the shops. I should be buying new stuff and then giving it all to Lifeline so when I'm done with it someone else can buy it for $1 instead of buying $20 pants their kid wears 5 times. Is it really fair for wealthier or better off people to shop there when there are other people who are less fortunate that might benefit more than I do from cheaper items? How do you feel? Do you feel like you're giving to charity anyway since the money you pay goes to the people who those places help? Or do not that many people shop there anyway so it doesn't really matter? Does this even make any sense LOL.

Discuss.

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Tara - posted on 01/24/2011

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I can afford to shop retail, but I prefer to shop second hand, charity stores, thrift stores, and consignment stores. I do so because of environment reasons.
Anything I buy retail had to be shipped here from some over seas location (almost always anyways) and that means that I have to contribute to the global supply chain more than I like to.
The act of shipping is wasteful, the pollution that is created by a ocean liner puffing across the ocean, the amount of water that went into making my new clothes, the amount of resources of hydro and time etc. that went into making those new clothes etc. etc. etc.
So.... I shop used whenever we can, because it is the environmental choice to make.
I always donate all our clothes back to the Salvation Army here in town, as well as old furniture, electronics and toys etc.
I also love the fact that clothes from these stores are already broken in and soft to the touch.
:)

Mrs. - posted on 01/23/2011

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My father has been the president of various big city Goodwills. I know a lot about this particular subject, as my mother also works in the non profit industry.

Here's the deal, at least at Goodwill (and other organizations like Goodwill), they use the money you spend there to help train the displaced and handicapped. That is Goodwill's main mission. There are other thrift stores that have similar types of programs. The Salvation Army, is an old catholic charity who uses that money to help run programs within their mandate as well. These places want and needs everyone to shop. You are encouraged no matter how wealthy you are to contribute by purchasing.

Now, not all of them are like this. For example, here in North American, Value Village is a for profit business. I think they might give a percentage to some charities but so does McDonald's. Myself, I don't like shopping there because they seem to pose as one of these non profit organizations when other companies that really need donations and shoppers to continue giving to their communities suffer the loss.

The best thing to do is look up your local store, most the bigger non profits like Goodwill (or Oxfam in the UK) have websites. There you can see their mission statement and see what you shopping there does. That way, you know before you shop or donate what is the best thing for you and your family.

I just bought an amazing little sweater from for my daughter at Goodwill last week, a dress, a sweatshirt and some pants for me....less than 8 bucks! They were having a 50 percent off sale. I love shopping the thrift shops.

Mrs. - posted on 01/23/2011

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Also at the Goodwill, if someone is homeless or needy and they come to the store looking for a donation....they can offer them a job, training and a case handler. That's better than a sweater IMO.

Tracey - posted on 01/25/2011

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Why don't you buy the charity clothes for Logan and donate them when he has outgrown them? Then the charity benefits twice.

Amy - posted on 01/23/2011

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I don't donate my clothes to those stores. I donate them to companies that give clothes to people for free. But....I do shop there. We had to buy a jacket for a funeral this weekend for my husband. I do NOT have money to buy a new one. I buy kids clothes there because...they're just going to stain them anyway. why pay so much money for them to ruin them day one? I shop there. I only buy new shoes, though.

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Jenn - posted on 01/26/2011

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Sorry to hear your area is lacking like that Liz - I don't live in a city, but a very small rural area of southern Ontario Canada, and there are 3 stores like that in Simcoe: Salvation Army, Helping Hands Thrift Store, and People's Ministry Thrift Store. They all benefit the community greatly, and always have TONS of stuff there - like I said sometimes too much that they can't accept donations for a few days. I guess if there was a serious lack of items at the store, I might think twice about shopping there. I myself take most of the kids clothes there, some of my old clothes, and household items that we no longer need/use. I even took a Peg Perego high chair there a few months ago. I'd much rather donate it or give it to someone I know who needs it, than to try and sell it. I've been quite blessed to receive a lot of hand-me-downs from friends/family, so I like to return the favour to others.

[deleted account]

I think its fair the money goes to the community anyway. I opp shop all the time i bought a pack of 6 bibs for my son for $2 and three singlets for 50 cents each! I'm so excited that the salvos has an online store now can't wait to get some money together so i can browse online

Jane - posted on 01/25/2011

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When my kids were little, I always shopped at consignment or thrift stores but I could totally afford not to. I did because it was more economical....they grow out of stuff so fast. I bought new stuff too and when they grew out of it, I donated it to charity. It all balances out. Plus, places like the Arc employ handicapped people so me shopping there helped these folks keep jobs. Its a win-win for all.

Nichole - posted on 01/25/2011

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I shop at consignment shops, and I buy things new. I also donate our gently used items to local consignment shops. So I give back to the places I shop. :)

Veronica - posted on 01/25/2011

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Whether Im a bazillionaire, or pennyless - I would still shop second hand - it just makes the most sense for me. Just because you are rich and can afford Saks or Bloomingdales, etcetcetc. doesnt mean you have to spend your money expensively -- that sounds actually quite arrogant if you ask me -- rich people are allowed to save too - and rich people would be able to buy a lot more at a charity/thrift/consignment shop, benefitting more people anyways.
With six kids - i love these kinds of shops - first an foremost, kids grow in leaps and bounds, that it would be a waste to buy a $12 pair of jeans from a retail store, which they will wear out, rip, and grow out of in less than a few months -- some of my kids get hand me downs from each other - but it doesnt work for all of them, and i still have to shop -- shoes, socks, and underwear are the only thing i buy new - for obvious reasons. I don't feel a rich person would be taking from the poor - there are sooooo many stores like these, which are overwhelmed with stuff already - that a few shirts and pants isn't going to leave someone naked.
We donate back what isnt destroyed by the kids (@ Sharon) Some clothes are ripped up, stained up, items are broken or trashed out, and furniture has all gone to the trash because of all the spillage, potty training days, etc. -- so, if its in decent condition, i will donate it, too.

Stifler's - posted on 01/25/2011

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Yeah I was going to go op shop shopping but I'm like nah maybe flood victims need it more than me. Then Tamara came around to tell me she said the same thing to Kayla who went so St. Vinnies to shop when everything was really cheap and she was like I felt so rude but it just came out.

[deleted account]

There is a shortage here. In the cities its a lot better and there is always more then enough to go around but in small towns it seems to be a different story.

Jenn - posted on 01/25/2011

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@Liz - how exactly is it taking away from people who NEED it? Is there a shortage of stuff there? Because the Salvation Army in my small town has so much stuff that sometimes that have no room for more donations. And supply and demand would do the opposite of what you said - the MORE people to shop there would LOWER the prices, not raise them.

Lady Heather - posted on 01/24/2011

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I like to buy the things that are brand name - probably still too expensive for less well off folk, but perfectly priced for me and I get a quality item and I get to reuse instead of consume. We donate all our old stuff as well. Everybody wins! Freja is all outfitted in Baby Gap and Mexx and stuff and none of it is new. hehe.

Shauna - posted on 01/24/2011

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I dont shop at charity shops, but i do shop consignment all the time, i donate and buy. Most my kids clothes come from consignment. ------ but i dont see a prob shopping charity. especially if your donating too.

Stifler's - posted on 01/24/2011

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I got a cut glass serving platter thing with a dip hole for $5. You can't even find that sort of thing new to buy in Emerald. If you could I'm better they'd charge you some insane price.

Laura - posted on 01/24/2011

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Katherine we have a Savers and I absolutely LOVE it. I got a lot of maternity clothes there, anytime my boys need anything we go there that's one of my favorite places to shop!! I love to by second hand, 1 because I am on a tight budget and 2 because I usually can't find anything I like in retail stores. I'm also cheap and if I do shop retail I only go to the clearance racks too.

[deleted account]

If I was well off and didn't have to shop at a thrift store I wouldn't. I only donate to certain places because they will GIVE things away when a person or family needs them unlike most places. Goodwill wanted $7 for the same pair of jeans I got for $8 at Walmart, I don't really go there anymore. So I guess I would have to say I don't think someone who is WEALTHY should shop at thrift stores because it does take from people who NEED it but it also drives prices up when it comes to supply and demand. But just because you can afford to buy brand new doesn't mean you always should.

Sharon - posted on 01/23/2011

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By the time my family & animals are done with something - it generally can't be used for anything.

I just replaced our stoneware dinnerset and the kids got the old set, their old plastic sets are being used to serve up cold things or set aside as emergency pet/animal use.

Blankets & sheets - go to the dogs or birds.

Even books go to the animals... yeah they're just that awesome! lmao - actually we give them to the parrots, they turn them into confetti which goes into garden/compost. I do not just give old books to the birds. These books have been dropped in the tub or, once, the toilet (that one actually went in the trash) or a kitten chewed the hell out of it, etc.

I can't think of anything that survives to be passed on... well clothing, but then we give those our neighbors whose kids are of similar ages to ours - right down the birth order - but younger/smaller. Who in turn gift anything they can't wear to even younger cousins.

huh - even our old carpet went to insulate kennels and bird houses, not the dump.

Nicole - posted on 01/23/2011

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In many buildings that I've lived there has been a table set up in a common area where people leave stuff they don't want or need and other people can pick and choose from it.

I leave stuff in these places and if I see something I need, I take it.
I also shop in thrift stores, when I have the time. You really have to search and take the time to find treasures in these place, in my experience. I don't have a lot of free time anymore

[deleted account]

We donate and shop at the thrift/charity stores too. I don't know if it really seems "fair" persee for rich people to shop at them too. However, the more rich a person is the less likely hood that person is to take the time to shop at the charity/thrift stores. IMO

Mrs. - posted on 01/23/2011

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I know, Jenn, that's the problem with VV. It's very, very shady about wording and all that. They have an about us page that says they have a "mission". Now, that's cool to have a mission as a for profit company. However, non profits have to have mission statements and it's obvious that they do this to mirror what non profits do. It kinda makes me feel yucky.

[deleted account]

I shop the thrift stores and second hand stores from time to time. There's always more than enough "stuff" so I don't feel like I'm taking from someone. And I do donate right back to them. I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

Jenn - posted on 01/23/2011

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My bad - you're right. I read something on their page that said about non-profit associates or something like that. I don't shop there anyway because we don't have one here.

Mrs. - posted on 01/23/2011

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Value Village is a for profit-the work with local charities and have arrangements with them for donations.

From their own website:

http://www.valuevillage.com/FAQs.aspx

Someone explaining the difference between places like Goodwill and Value Village (also give you a bit of history)

http://www.angelfire.com/indie/tvi_repor...

Some guy trying to investigate the whole issue

http://chvblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/valu...

I know the wording on the website for VV can be a bit tricky...they do actually disguise themselves very well. As I said, my father has worked at various non profit orgs that have a thrift store aspect to them...I wouldn't really know all this unless I grew up hearing about it. The advent of VV was a big deal to places like SA, GW and Easter Seals...it really cut up their donors who thought all the money was going to charity (when this is not the case with VV). Yes, I know they give a bit to charity, then a big bit to themselves...personally I choose to donate directly to organizations that give back in house and are indeed a non profit.

In our house, we weren't allowed to step foot in the VV.

Jenn - posted on 01/23/2011

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Value Village does donate profits to local charities - it's a non-profit organization. As for the homeless question - as others stated already - they are offered help with shelter, free clothing, free food, free toiletries/diapers etc., whatever they need. They would also be directed to the local Ontario Works office (welfare) - to help them establish themselves again. If they are truly looking to better themselves, Ontario Works can offer them training, education, job placements, etc.

Jenn - posted on 01/23/2011

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I don't see why it matters who shops there. The money goes to a good cause, and it's not like there's a shortage of stuff there that if some "rich" person buys it then the "poor" person will be left with nothing.

Katherine - posted on 01/23/2011

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I had NO idea Value Village was for profit! We used to have an awesome store called Savers. I got a vintage brown leather jacket there for $5. Now I don't buy leather, but at the time it was a steal. I bought wool coats, pea coats, sooo many expensive coats for dirt cheap. I love coats. And then.....they closed :( I was heart broken to say the least.
I got an awesome couch at the salvation army for $40. They steam clean it before they sell it to you, always a plus.
I absolutely love thrift and consignment stores. We have a children's consignment store that buys, sells and donates clothes. I could live there.

Kate CP - posted on 01/23/2011

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I love the GoodWill and Salvation Army. But the Red Cross can kiss my arse. :P

Krista - posted on 01/23/2011

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I do both. I browse the charity shops and if I see something that I really like, then hey, bonus!

However, if I also buy a lot of my stuff new. And then if I outgrow (or tire of) the stuff I bought new, I bring it to the charity shop.

I donate a HELL of a lot more clothes than I buy, so I have absolutely no guilt about shopping there. Besides, the store I go to has SOOOO much stuff that I know I'm not taking anything out of a poor person's hands.

[deleted account]

thats like the old give a man a fish quote :)



I like the salvation armys quote,

"Getting on your feet is much easier when theirs an army behind you." I love them so much, i even went to their church because one of the workers asked me to join her. As soon as i am working again, I'm making them a very large donation for everything they did for me.

Charlie - posted on 01/23/2011

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To the op shop Emma ?

They usually sort them emergency shelter , offer food vouchers and once set up help clothe and feed and furnish them .

[deleted account]

The Salvation Army here, if people desperately need clothing, you can ask and they give you some. I like the way its set up. Dirt poor people get shit for free. They put clothing on sale on the days welfare people get money, baby clothes are always a bag for 5$ and the rest of the time its regular price.

Sal - posted on 01/23/2011

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i think that using op shop is ecconomically, environmentally and ethically a good way to shop, my husband feel that if you can afford it you should shop in "real" shops, but i don;t agree, the charity stores need our money, if a homeless man comes in hungry what good are kids clothes....i also think that as an at home mum i have more time on my hands to have a look so i should take advantage of them..

Charlie - posted on 01/23/2011

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I love the op shops !
I love buying furniture and vintage clothing as well as baby clothes , I need to donate more but I am a complete hoarder .

I absolutely think any one can shop there because not only does money go to charity but it also reduces waste by recycling .

[deleted account]

I love our salvo's. We have brought and donated many things. We started out with second hand furniture but it all fell apart, so now we have what used to be new stuff but none of it was expensive because i know the kids are just rough.

Stifler's - posted on 01/23/2011

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Ohh I know some of the couches in Lifeline and St. Vinnies are better than the fugly one we have. Sometimes I want to do a swapsie and see if Damo notices.

Jodi - posted on 01/23/2011

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Oh, and a lot of our furniture is bought second hand. Not necessarily at the Salvos though, but we do buy second hand because sometimes people DO throw out some really decent furniture. I've found that when you have kids, there is really no point spending a fortune on the furniture - they just wreck it anyway (not deliberately, but just through normal play, it gets a lot of wear and tear).

Jodi - posted on 01/23/2011

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I always donate my things to charity when I am doing a clean out, and if I am in the area, I usually have a good look at what they have there to buy.

We actually bought our sofa bed from the Salvos store. It is in fantastic condition. Not the greatest colour, but that doesn't matter, it is just in Mike's room under his very high loft bed as a spare bed and a place for the kids to hang out and read. But as a bed, it was a real bargain - only $180.

Cassie - posted on 01/23/2011

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I donate to thrift shops all the time. I don't necessarily shop at them but that's because I don't shop period. I'm still wearing clothes I've had for 10 years.

My mom is an amazing thrift store shopper. She is one of the best dressed people I know and buys 95% of her clothes from Goodwill. A lot of clothes I have were given to me from her and her thrift shop adventures. :)

Bonnie - posted on 01/23/2011

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I donate and the odd time I buy so it's like a business circle for me lol.

Isobel - posted on 01/23/2011

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The charity aspect is as much buying from them as donating to them...they use the money you spend to create programs that help the needy much more than providing them with a cheap place to shop.

[deleted account]

I shop at thrift stores,even if i was rich i would do the same, i donate items back to thrift stores too....i love recycling :)

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