Saturday, 18 August 2012

Shop and Change Lives

Charity shop, charity shopping, Hillsborough, Middlewood Road
Charity shopping, cute stuff, bookend, bric-a-brac, gift, recycle
Nothing beats a good dose of retail therapy and I get my fix by hitting the charity shops!

Nowhere else can I leave £10 poorer with a big happy smile on my face, the look of a shopper who has just purchased 5 pieces of branded items that would have cost me ten times more from a high street retail giant. But more than clothes, I get my books from there too, loads of them (some already shipped home while the rest still sits in the shelves waiting to be read). Occasionally I would find some treasures like Miss Piggy Wiggy who grows chunkier with every coin we feed her and Mr Elephant who keeps our books in tact.  

The charity shops are a unique British institution and the public loves them, with half the population having purchased something from among the 5,500 shops across the country since June last year. Like the Filipino 'ukay-ukay', they sell second hand items but the British twist is that the merchandise on offer are donated unwanted clothes and household goods, a perfect example of reuse and recycle. The staff are mainly unpaid volunteers, usually students during the summer period and pensioners with a bit of time to spare. The proceeds are then used to fund charitable works not only in the UK but throughout the world. 

The first charity shop in the UK, Oxfam, has in fact been working in the Philippines since 1987, focusing on increasing opportunities for women dealing with disasters and lobbying for change. It would be very interesting to read about the work they have been doing in the country and the amount of people they have been able to help in developing a sustainable way of making a living. 

So the benefits of charity shopping is quite profound. Not only do I get retail therapy, I am also saving the planet through recycling and reusing items. But most importantly, I have also indirectly been able to help my countrymen in a more sustainable way. 

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