Talk:Charity shop

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older comments[edit]

I own a Thrift store and my family has been in the Thrift store business for about half a century now. Though we are a "for profit" store, we work hand in hand with a charity, and the charity makes the bulk of the profit. To say that the merchandise is free is not only ludicrous - it is a lie! All "for profit" stores that work with a charity must have a contract with that charity and buy the merchandise. It is not free. This business has a great deal of overhead, with around fifty employees in a store and five or six trucks picking up those "free" donations, all with drivers paid well over minimum wage to do so, so tell me again how is that "free"??? There is no such thing as a free lunch including, and perhaps especially in the Thrift Store business.

This entire article is full of misinformation and I would not know where to begin to correct it since someone wants to merge all of the different types of stores under one heading. If someone is thinking about opening a small business like a Thrift store, this certainly is not, at the current time, a reliable source of information. It is full of misleading, and false information, and in fact lies. ~L.P. (talk) 23:56, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Not all thrift stores are charity shops. I have seen privately-run ones, though most others are for charity. Since not all are charitable, the broader term of thrift store should be used for this article.   –radiojon 17:39, 2004 Sep 13 (UTC)

It's only broader if you've heard of it. The term is completely unknown in the UK, Ireland, Australia NZ etc. Plus the article is primarily concerned with charitty shops, perhaps the articles should not have been merged. Mintguy (T) 18:10, 13 Sep 2004 (UTC)

For what it's worth, since I'm the one that merged the content, I have to say that I agreed with the request to merge -- the original thrift store article and charity shop article duplicated a great amount of content on the basics of how these organizations operate. At the time, it wasn't obvious which term would be better to use -- someone pointed out on the duplicate article page that "Charity shops" had only a very small lead in terms of Google hits, and both articles were very well written. So, I flipped a coin, and the new article used the term "Thrift store." The charity shop article seemed to go a bit more into the details of these establishments in the UK, while the thrift store article gave better general information and cultural signifigance, hence the reason why the merged article seemed to focus more on the specifics of charity shops. My thinking at the time was that someone with better knowledge of which US thrift stores are notable or not at a national level, or possibily the history of thrift stores in the US, would come along and hopefully add details as appropriate (I'm only familar with a few local ones).

Also note that, in quotes, Thrift Store gets a lot more hits that Charity Shop. The only thing I particularly object to is the term "Thrift store" has been placed in a parenthetical note in the opening sentence, and I'm changing this back. - RedWordSmith 03:07, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)

? WELL WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT PROMISE MADE BACK IN 2004?? I know the history of Thrift Stores in the U.S. as my family is a centerpiece in that history, but I will wait for the RedWordSmith to make good on a promise over four years old. ~L.P.

Please, please do not use Google hits to try to establish that one particular term is more popular in the world than another when one of the terms is mainly restricted to the US, I have had to say this so many times that it is becomming extremely tiresome to have to keep on pointing this out. All that it proves is that there are more web pages in the United States than in the rest of the world. Wikipedia in not an Internet Encyclopaedia, it s an encyclopaedia that just happens to be on the Internet. The cultural dominance of the United States on the Internet should not be used an excuse to ignore or demerit usage in the rest of the world. Mintguy (T) 11:11, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I do not believe it is appropriate merely shrug off 158,000 vs. 59,800 as bias that way. All of this, however, is entirely academic, as the article is currently more or less fine as it is. - RedWordSmith 18:06, 19 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I agree that thrift store should have its own article, not because it's the more appropriate term (it's not), but because there are many thrift stores in the U.S. that are for-profit businesses run by companies and individuals. "Charity" is not applicable to some of these large multi-store chains and small mom-and-pop shops.
Since the articles are already merged... maybe it would be better simply to have a section in this article detailing the nature of different resale shops / thrift stores. That section can then distinguish the charity-based (Salvation Army-type) stores from the for-profit (Value Village-type) ones. 18:09, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
The title should be changed, because, as has been observed, not all stores that sell used merchandise are charities, so the title is inaccurate. The article should describe in general what a thrift store is (or whatever the article gets renamed) , and then have sections describing the charity and for-profit stores. I'm fine with the title "second-hand store". While "thrift store" is far more common in the US, "Second-hand store" is sufficiently well-known in the US. If the term "second-hand store" is used in the UK, as stated in the article, the should be an accurate title which should be satisfactory.--RLent 14:08, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Against charity shops[edit]

Playing Devil's Advocate here: I know that many small businesses and town/borough/city councils in the UK and beyond are appalled at the increase of numbers of charity shops. I thought that this transcript from evidence before a parliamentary committee (UK) might add some fuel to the article.

Gareth Hughes 20:33, 13 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I agree that this is true, however this isn't the fault of the charity shops who only exist to make money for their cause. Charity shops in the UK pay full rent (very few landlords would give this for free for more than a short period). The UK Government chose to give rent rebates of 80% to charity shops and many would still be extremely profitable if this 'tax rebate' didn't exist. Charity shops that don't make a profit are closed so in a way the views of the small businesses are moot - they are competing against other profitable businesses, the difference being that these shops covenant 100% of their profits to another cause. You may also claim that charity shops have an unfair advantage as they are reliant on volunteers but nobody forces the volunteers to work in them.

The Charity Shops Association have an interesting counter paper to the Joint Committee of the Draft Charities bill but I can't find it! Maybe someone can post it if they happen to have a copy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:36, 12 October 2007 (UTC)

First Oxfam shop date[edit]

I note that an earlier editor changed the date to 1948. I've changed it back, on the basis both of Oxfam's own PDF (mentioned in the edit summary) and of a photo I took the other day, which can be found here and shows a plaque with the following text:

"The first permanent OXFAM shop began trading here in December 1947"

Loganberry (Talk) 02:17, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm probably the "earlier editor" you're refering to. The reason that I changed it to 1948 is that (History of Oxfam) says "1947: Office acquired in Broad Street, Oxford, used as a collection point for donations. A gift shop opens on the ground floor in February 1948. The first permanent charity shop, it is still open today." I've no idea how to reconcile this with the statements you mention. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 02:41, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
I've had a go at editing that part of the article slightly - it is a little bit unwieldy like that, but does at least manage to reconcile the two dates. Loganberry (Talk) 15:56, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

"Resale shop"[edit]

I'm from the U.S., and I was under the impression that the term "resale shop" was used for for-profit shops. People who run them usually go around to garage sales and even cheaper thrift shops and buy the nicer stuff to sell in their stores. Oh, actually, this is already mentioned in the thrifting article, with the same usage as I've detailed here. Anyone object to my removing the term from the intro? --Galaxiaad 14:21, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

I am also from the U.S. and your impression is incorrect. "Resale Shop" means JUST THAT - it is being resold, for the seller who has a stake in the profit. "Resale shops" and "Consignment shops" are the same thing. Licensed Poet 09:17, 9 November 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by LP-LicensedPoet (talkcontribs)

Christianity? etc[edit]

By no means all charity shops have any connection with Christianity. Not in the UK anyway - some have religious affiliations (YMCA, Salvation Army), but they are probably a minority. Check the list here: I'm not at all sure that categroy belongs here. Any other views? ProfDEH (talk) 14:13, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

The Salvation Army started Thrift Stores in the United States. The people who started them were Christians. Many of the people that own thrift stores in America today (the mass of the profitable ones) are, in fact, Christians. Helping the community and the charity is as much a part of their faith and moral fiber as it is their job. And that is in the "for profit" off-shoots of the Salvation Army. There are also many "Judas" types owning thrift stores, that stole company secrets, knowledge, and even more to start up their own store. Those thrift store owners almost without fail, end up going bottom up.~L.P. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:05, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

Any evidence for these interesting assertions? ProfDEH (talk) 20:56, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Evidence is easily obtained by talking to Bill Ellison, owner of most Savers and Value Village stores all over the United States. His son Tom Ellison was featured by Fortune Magazine and his entire family and their partners are the Christians I was referring to above.

Also, there is an important edit the opening statement about "for profit" stores getting everything "for free" because as an owner of a "for profit store" I can emphatically state that is a FALSE statement and needs to be removed. There truly is "no such thing as a free lunch" and while customers in "for profit" stores believe that the merchandise was free, they have NO IDEA the cost, and that a charity is always paid first, and upfront, and then the store is "for profit" after that, and after the overhead of usually 40 plus employees, five or so trucks, fuel expenses, maintenance, building, payroll taxes, insurance costs, and the list of costs could go on and on. For profit thrift stores pay MORE for their merchandise than most other stores because they have very generous contracts with their charities, for the most part, and if not they do not last. I can speak with authority on the stores that have contracts with the VVA in the Western U.S.. The Vietnam Veterans of America make more money than do the stores owners off of the merchandise in the store. Just because the store is "for profit" does not mean that it gets things for free. The stores that operate that way are the ones that are here today and gone tomorrow. If a store has been around more than five years (and in the case of my Thrift Store, I have owned and operated since 1990, the charity is always who makes the greatest profit. The same is in the case of all stores operated by "Greg and David" company and many others that are offshoots. Licensed Poet 09:34, 8 November 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by LP-LicensedPoet (talkcontribs)

It's good to get an inside view on this. I read that new section carefully and then edited the page a bit, because the opening paragraph was way too long. The article as a whole needs a balanced neutral viewpoint and I guess I might try to distill the contributions. It needs a more concise description of the different business models - yes, including whether charity shops really get goods for free. Some questions:
  • More likely the costs on donated goods are low because the goods would not sell for a higher price?
  • I'm still not sure if operating a "for profit" store is a regular business option, or people basically do it for charitable reasons?
  • Is there a generic term for the kind of store run by volunteers?
  • Are they individually run, or set up by large charities?
  • Goodwill Industries - professionally run and officially non profit making, but I'm not sure if you would put them in the "for profit" category?

ProfDEH (talk) 22:24, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

"second-hand shop"[edit]

I don't think many people associate "second-hand shop" with a charity shop. Second-hand shops are more like "junk" or pawn shops in my opinion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:08, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

A charity shop is just one type of second-hand shops. Just like any other second-hand shop, a charity shop can have good quality merchandise or can have junk.--RLent (talk) 20:41, 10 September 2008 (UTC)


This whole article is mostly awful, a lot of it reads like extracts from a 'which is best, for profit or not for profit' thread - like "um, yeah, and you'd think for-profit stores would smell better, but they don't, they smell worse!" or vice versa et cetera. Scatterkeir (talk) 09:40, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Boy is that the truth. And it should be called "thrift store", not charity shop despite the stupidity written above. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:11, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

For profit thrift stores[edit]

unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:50, 16 November 2008 (UTC) This violates Wikipedia T.O.S. amongst other things, and comment should be deleted. There are no references cited, this is an obviously disgruntled ex-employee, or worker for the competition (which is great in the U.S. amongst Thrift Stores) and is full of lies. It is anonymous because it is unverifiable, misleading, biased, unauthorative, and a the author is liable for false accusations. I find it offensive, misleading, and biased, as is most of this entire article, being very pro-"charity shop" and anti capitalist. One can be a capatalist with good intentions, and make money while helping a charity and community, which is exactly what Thrift Stores like those run by Greg and David Co. do. LicensedPoet (talk) 00:55, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Secondhand shop[edit]

I kind of think this article would be better incorporated into a more substantial second-hand shop article - that would enable the differences between charity shops, thrift shops and secondhand shops to be explored more clearly, and also the differences between countries. All the articles linked to from the second-hand shop page are pretty minimal. An outline might be:

  • Intro
  • Types of secondhand shop
    • Junk shop
    • Antiques shop
    • Thrift store
      • Not for profit
      • For profit
    • Charity shop
  • International Variations
    • Australia
    • UK
    • USA

Any opinions? ohsimone (talk) 08:33, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

sounds good. (talk) 16:39, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

The article certainly needs a major revamp, but I think it would be a mistake to merge it with second-hand shop, which deals with many shops which are not charity shops. The defining characteristic of a charity shop is that it raises funds for charity. (Some in the UK do this by selling new goods as well as used goods.) I suspect that much of the difficulty arises from differences in tax legislation, not just differences in terminology. In the UK, charity shops are almost always structured as a for-profit business, owned by a charity, which donates all its profits to the charity. I do not think such a structure is possible under US tax laws.
It might be better to give up the idea of an article which attempts to give a global view of the topic, i.e. have an article on thrift stores as operated in the US, and a separate article on charity shops as operated in the UK. The Second-hand shop article deals only with the UK at present (I don't think the term is much used in the US), and not with US near-equivalents such as consignment stores or thrift stores. If you want to globalise the topic of second-hand goods or reuse, you would need to refer to freecycling, antiques, used cars and used bookstores, all of which have and merit their own articles. --Mhockey (talk) 03:15, 26 November 2011 (UTC)