A bogus charity leaflet, used in the Midlands
We live in an area which is inundated with these collection bags, some genuine charities, others acting illegally and others who fit just inside the law but a teeny tiny percentage of the rag value on each bag goes on to the charity advertised.
They drive me crazy, arriving through the post, making us believe we are popular enough to be receiving post, littering my doorway with their multi coloured proclamations promising an end to agoraphobia in gerbils, or a cure for world nits.
When they do arrive from well known and well thought of national charities, some of which have funded excellent research into the causes of cancer, or heart disease, or are regulars in supporting countries in need of aid around the world, then my attitude is different. Instead I think of the people for whom they are raising the money, and the lives it will touch. I also think of the staff working in our local charity shops and have a little reminisce.
I used to manage one of these small local branches of a large national chain of shops for a well respected charity. As much as I was absolutely overcome with people's generosity when the van driver arrived at the shops with one of his twice weekly collections, it was also overwhelming in a physical sense sometimes.
This particular charity used to have a policy which meant that only the management could sort through the stuff donated. In practice this meant that we went through around 250-300 bags a week from the van and another 100 bags donated through the door. Then our tireless army of volunteers tagged, and pressed it before it was put out into the shop.
As well as being a pretty physical job a person needed a good sense of humour. In my 5 years we had across our area of shops, some very bizarre donations in these bags, the following still gives me nightmares:
- A kind gentleman donated a bag full of 'interesting' underwear and even more 'interesting' accessories by accident. He then rang to get them back at which point we had to explain that they really weren't our usual kind of stock and had been disposed of...he was NOT a happy man!
Oh and spare a thought for the 'sorters'. Is it really going to be saleable? No? Freecycle or chuck it out. Sadly some things are beyond repair.