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Is this unethical?

(70 Posts)

Buying stuff from an outlet shop and then selling on ebay?

confused

MorrisZapp Fri 09-Nov-12 09:55:41

No way is it unethical, although when the Guardian money section addressed the issue you could smell the burning lentils on their feedback page. Meanwhile, here in the real world:

People in need can buy goods from primark etc, brand new.

They can also buy them from charity shops, the ones round here are very well stocked.

They can resell stuff too.

I sometimes buy stuff for myself in charity shops, without trying on. I think, if it doesn't fit, it'll go well on eBay. I've yet to make a tidy profit though. Usually the item 'wipes it's face', as they say on Bargain Hunt. So it's more just covering my costs.

Mirage Fri 09-Nov-12 09:57:07

Yes,a dealer has to make a profit.So if there is a 99p Boden t shirt in a charity shop,a 'poor' person might want to buy it,and also,so may the 'dealer',however,the dealer has to make a profit,she will have to pay listing fees,FVF,Paypal fees,package it up and take it to the PO.Unless it is a super fabulous item in perfect condition and a designer name to boot,there is no money in doing this,and if anyone can turn a profit doing this,I say good luck to them.

Trills Fri 09-Nov-12 09:57:08

Nope.

If you buy an item from someone for the amount they ask for it.

Then sell it to someone for an amount they are prepared to pay for it.

And there is no deception involved in these transactions (e.g. "that's just an old chair" to the first then "it's an antique chippendale" to the second)

Then what's unethical there?

MorrisZapp Fri 09-Nov-12 10:04:31

Maybe twice in my life I've felt guilty at getting ridiculous bargain when it has clearly been underpriced by charity shop staff. I've vocalised it, only for embarrassment and awkwardness to ensue.

Conversely, charity shops still labour under the myth of Next. They think its an aspirational brand, and overprice it wildly. Should we berate them for this, as they are stopping those in need from purchasing?

PostBellumBugsy Fri 09-Nov-12 10:14:05

Morris, it breaks my heart that charities lose so much money running charity shops. For many of them, the only reason they do it, is to ensure a "presence" on the high street to raise their profile. More often than not, unless they can get rates & rental covered by donors, they make a thumping loss on shops. Also most charity shops are run by volunteers, many of whom are not particularly savvy about the price of 2nd hand items on online retailers like ebay. So, they don't know that Fenn Wright Manson clothes should be priced higher than Matalan. Most charities would be far better off ebaying, as they wouldn't have to cover the shop overheads.

MorrisZapp Fri 09-Nov-12 10:44:23

Almost all the charity shops round here are run like chain stores, ie cancer research etc which price clothes very high. The stuff comes in priced already, and the people doing the pricing know the value of most brands.

If the charity shops didn't exist then the stuff would be sold on somehow, in a modern version of the rag and bone man.

I didn't know that charity shops lost money. Why do they need a high street presence? The most popular charities in wills etc are often animal charities, and I don't see many of them with high street presence.

I'm sure my mum told me once that guide dogs for the blind had vastly more money than it could possibly spend on guide dogs. This may be total guff of course.

ontheedgeofwhatever Fri 09-Nov-12 10:53:14

I got something for DD on the clearance rail of TK Maxx. It was £3 and thought she'd like it for dressing up

She took against it and refused to even put it in her dressing up box (ice skating dress). I put it on ebay and it went for £23.

Does that make me unethical? Should I have taken it back so someone else could buy it?

pantaloons Fri 09-Nov-12 11:00:47

A mum at school sells Lego on ebay and Amazon. She buys it on 3 for 2 or gets sets on sale and even buys it at full price, she then waits for Christmas and sells it at upto 4 times the rrp to desperate parents when everyone else sells out.

She makes enough profit to be vat registered. Some might say what she does is greedy or wrong, but on the other hand if someone is willing to pay there will always be someone willing to sell!

MorrisZapp Fri 09-Nov-12 11:02:22

Or buying two items from Clinique and ebaying the bonus set.

To me, that's resourceful.

OddBoots Fri 09-Nov-12 11:07:40

I don't see it as a problem at all from an outlet as long as you pay the correct taxes on it. It's only like buying from a wholesalers.

I also think it is fine from freecycle provided you have made your intention clear when you email to say you would like the item. Likewise if it was a free pass-on from a friend or family you should ask first.

I don't think you should from a charity shop for the reasons already given on here.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Fri 09-Nov-12 11:14:07

Pantaloons - I think that what she is doing is wrong. She is creating an artificial 'shortage' then increasing the price & releasing the supply. She is stopping others from benefitting from the 'sale' price or even the regular retail price - it is selfish. Very selfish.

OnTheEdge - IMO there's nothing wrong with that. TK Max (retail outlet) sold it for the price they were happy with, you bought it in good faith for your DD, when it turned out not to be suitable you sold it on to recoup the money you spent on it, it went for far more than you expected, but it wasn't 'profit by design'. I would probably have given it to a friend or a charity shop, but there's NOTHING wrong with attempting to get back the money you spent on it.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 09-Nov-12 12:40:33

Morris, your Mum is right Guide Dogs for The Blind have huge reserves.

Chipping - how can one woman be creating an artificial shortage of Lego? Seriously? Lego is a global distributer. Unless this woman is hugely wealthy & can afford to stockpile vast quantities of lego in a warehouse somewhere, how can she possibly be creating a shortage? She is just seeing a selling opportunity for last minute shoppers. It has nothing to do with selfishness, it is being a smart business woman (if she manages to sell it all at a profit).

Also, why is it ok to sell something on that you bought "in good faith"? What does that mean? It is great that you are in a position to just give away your unwanted stuff to a friend or charity shop - but not everyone shares that good fortune. Surely you can see that it is perfectly valid to sell your own property (as long as you came by it legally)!

pantaloons Fri 09-Nov-12 12:48:57

Chipping - I have to admit I'm slightly torn between good on you for getting up and supporting your family and then Christ what a bloody cheek, how wrong!

She makes a massive outlay money wise and takes a gamble on what might be popular and I suppose this takes a certain amount of nerve (and sheer luck!) However, retailers are getting wiser to this sort of buying and have started putting buying limits in place more often on offers. Not just per shop online, but going back in time to previous orders (according to her).

ChippingInLovesAutumn Fri 09-Nov-12 12:56:33

PBB - of course she's not creating a global shortage of lego <eye roll> but she is making enough from it to need to be registered for VAT, so it's not the odd set. She is clearly emptying out all of the local shops when they have a sale on & thus stopping other local parents from buying things at a reduced price. She is ripping off last minute shoppers. It is selfish - there is nothing 'smart' about being selfish.

I'm not sure if you are deliberately taking everything I say and twisting it, or if you just have issues with comprehension. 'In good faith' - you really need that explaining? Something she bought believing it to be of use to her (or her family) and not with the intention of re-selling. Did you miss this entirely?? there's NOTHING wrong with attempting to get back the money you spent on it.

Charity shops priority has to be selling donated goods to make a profit for their charity.

The charity aspect is not selling cheap clothes to people in need.

Chipping should people who are wealthy or even not 'in need' not be able to by clothes from charity shops then? Surely charity shops would fail completely if that were the case?

Buying a designer shirt from a charity shop and selling for a profit on ebay creates a great source of income for charity shops - regular trade, increasing the shops turnover and profits - fulfilling their purpose.

Also someone really in need will more likely be just as well served with the 2nd hand M&S Shirt for £3 as the £9 designer shirt. Unless they really WANT a designer shirt at x 3 the price of the excellent M&S shirt, and then, are they REALLY in need to the extend that others should be prevented from shopping there?

I think the argument against people buying from charity shops and selling on fails at every level. Ethically, the charity shop wants a high turnover to make the biggest profit for their charity. Their goal is not primarily to clothe the poor (certainly not in West London where charity shops are rather pricey) and IF it was, then I think they would fail in all their goals.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Fri 09-Nov-12 13:00:23

Pantaloons I can see why you are a bit torn, but to be honest, there's no need to be. She could get products from a wholesaler and do it without taking it from others who would like to benefit from the sales as well. I'm pleased that they are at least trying to clamp down on this kind of selfish behaviour, but it wont be easy as people will just get others to buy it for them.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 09-Nov-12 13:10:30

Chipping, I'm not trying to twist what you say, I just find your logic flawed.

I think if a person has a possesion that they have come to own legally, then it is up to them what they do with that. They can give it to friends, freecycle it, take it to the tip or they can sell it. I don't see how you can start to apply a moral code to the disposal of possessions.

To register for VAT, a business has to be turning over £77k. I'm amazed that one woman can be doing this just on BOGOF lego - as that is a turnover of over £6k of lego a month! But hey, good on her if she can. She is buying stock that other retailers are prepared to discount & finding a market to sell it on at a higher price. At the end of the day, the buyer determines what she will get for it.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Fri 09-Nov-12 13:11:48

HipHop

Charity shops priority has to be selling donated goods to make a profit for their charity - I never disputed this.

The charity aspect is not selling cheap clothes to people in need I disagree, there are plenty of people who rely on charity shops to get better quality clothing than they can't afford to pay full price for. Not everyone wants to waste money on primark crap.

Chipping should people who are wealthy or even not 'in need' not be able to by clothes from charity shops then? Surely charity shops would fail completely if that were the case? Where did I say that? I didn't.

Buying a designer shirt from a charity shop and selling for a profit on ebay creates a great source of income for charity shops - regular trade, increasing the shops turnover and profits - fulfilling their purpose - Draining the shops of quality clothing, taking it from people who need it (you know, those people who need smart clothes for work but can't afford full price) to make a profit. Nice. Not.

Also someone really in need will more likely be just as well served with the 2nd hand M&S Shirt for £3 as the £9 designer shirt. Unless they really WANT a designer shirt at x 3 the price of the excellent M&S shirt, and then, are they REALLY in need to the extend that others should be prevented from shopping there? Not from 'shopping' there no, but from stripping it to make a profit, yes.

I think the argument against people buying from charity shops and selling on fails at every level. Ethically, the charity shop wants a high turnover to make the biggest profit for their charity. Their goal is not primarily to clothe the poor (certainly not in West London where charity shops are rather pricey) and IF it was, then I think they would fail in all their goals maybe they do fail in their goal and maybe that's due to people skimming.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Fri 09-Nov-12 13:16:16

PBB - It is not about 'selling your own property', it's about aquiring things to sell in a selfish manner.

autumnfrost Fri 09-Nov-12 13:23:41

From experience working in charity shops I would say the people most in need would never go near a charity shop and it is in fact more well heeled people who keep them going

PostBellumBugsy Fri 09-Nov-12 13:26:30

Everything I buy is bought for selfish reasons!!!!! I buy stuff for me, my family or as gifts to give to other people. So everything I buy is purchased from a selfish perspective.

Who the hell buys altruistically?

Also who sells altruistically? The only disposal of purchase that is altruistic is to give it away for free.

Also, what does it matter what your motivation for purchase was? Once you own the item, you can do what you want with it.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Fri 09-Nov-12 13:57:24

PBB - I think you need to buy some Rescue Remedy. Then perhaphs try reading what I wrote, not what you imagine I wrote. You don't have to agree with me, but it's most frustrating when you keep ranting about things I didn't say.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 09-Nov-12 14:01:38

Chipping, I am not ranting & I don't need Rescue Remedy.

I am simply bewildered by your arguments. They don't make sense to me. I asked some questions - but you haven't answered.

I'm not going to insult you by making recommendations for what medicine you should take, or make a personal comment about your posting style either - but perhaps you might like to answer my questions:

1. Who buys altruistically?
2. Who sells alturistically?

Maybe then I will gain more understanding as to how you can differentiate between those who buy things & those who buy things to sell in a selfish manner.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Fri 09-Nov-12 14:16:46

PBB - Alturistically buying or selling has nothing to do with this. There is nothing to answer.

Buying things to use (to use yourself, for your family or for a gift) is one thing, buying things to sell on is quite another. Buying things from charity shops, when on a 2 for 1 offer or when in any other sale, with the sole purpose of selling it on, to me is selfish and is depriving others of benefitting from the sale price.

I don't see how that is at all complicated to understand, even if you don't agree with it.

Chipping I just can't see how "wealthy" people shopping in charity stores is any different from people buying from charity stores and selling on ebay, if you believe the purpose of charity stores is to be providing cheap clothes for people in need.

By your logic, both these "non-worthy of charity" customers will be depriving the needy of the potential opportunity to buy an item. (which I think is total rubbish BTW)

Why is one of these OK with you, but the other isn't?

What about the recycling aspect - surely as long as the clothes are being reused, regardless of who is reusing them, the planet will be a happier place?

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