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To be horrified that people steal from charity shops?

(27 Posts)
namechangetocover Thu 11-Jul-13 18:48:16

I shouldn't be surprised, a neighbour used to steal from clothing banks but I am.

I started volunteering at a charity shop this morning - one that's got outlets nationally. Started talking with one of the more senior staff as I was sorting out clothing. She was talking about how they needed to get some menswear out on the front and I asked if people tend to donate less of that - I'd noticed endless ladies stuff but hardly anything for men, if at all.

She said they generally get less but when they do, it's all designer. "It flies out the door," she said. I remarked on how good that was - and then she said that it's only good when the stuff's been paid for..

She added that a few CDs had been taken the day before, only to be found dumped a few yards away - they were obviously a tad peeved to realise that the CD cases were empty!

I also had to read a wee guide to working in the shop - a section of which detailed how to cope with irate customers and how to deal with shoplifters, how to spot them.

I understand desperation to an extent, I grew up in a house where my father wouldn't allow us to buy clothing and we got access to "clothes grabs" from the social work, they'd tip out black bags on the floor in the social work dept. and encourage mums to take what they needed.

I can also understand people shoplifting food, drinks, etc.

But in this case - as my colleague told me - we are not talking about cheap stuff, food or baby clothes or anything like that. Rather, she said, the nice designer stuff and the video games go first.

What makes people do such a thing? I'm trying to imagine that people nick out of desperation and are taking the best thing that they can sell on but I think that's "wishful" thinking..

Am I daft/unreasonable to be horrified that people would take stuff from a charity shop?! I'm not even going to mention the fact that people were willingly donating soiled, stained, ripped and holey clothes...

MalcolmTuckersMum Thu 11-Jul-13 18:50:18

I think, to be honest, that if someone is prepared to steal then it's hardly going to matter to them where they steal from is it? Unless you're thinking back to the days of the 'gentleman thief' grin - a thief with a moral code sort of thing?

HeySoulSister Thu 11-Jul-13 18:50:20

well you don't have security tags do you? or security anywhere. doesn't matter where its from....stealing is stealing,charity or otherwise

Bluestocking Thu 11-Jul-13 18:53:04

Horrified? Really? Horrified is for war crimes or brutal murders, not a bit of petty theft. I think a sense of mild disappointment would be about proportionate.

LynetteScavo Thu 11-Jul-13 18:53:42

I think if you are going to steal something, you are hardly going to care if it's a multi-national company, an independently owned shop, or a charity shop.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 11-Jul-13 18:54:38

YANBU, but you are being a bit naive, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Stealing from charity shops is no worse morally than stealing from any other shop. Both are equally wrong and illegal.

lollilou Thu 11-Jul-13 18:58:14

I think many addicts steal to fund a habit. Not that it makes it right stealing is a nasty crime. Also I would think thieving from a charity shop is easier, less security.

namechangetocover Thu 11-Jul-13 19:00:34

Hm maybe horrified is a strong word to use, couldn't think of a better one, and saying I was mildly pissed off wouldn't be true or have constituted a good AIBU lol..

I know, I think it's just something I've never come across much before, the neighbour I referred to was pretty much destitute and stole stuff that was pretty much fit for the bin so I kind of understood it and didn't see as being as wrong ..

It just seems more wrong stealing designer stuff and playstation games for some reason, especially considering that's what will make the charity the most money..

I suppose you're all quite right, that if you're willing to steal you're not really going to care where you're stealing from.

Maybe I've lived a bit of a sheltered lifestyle at times - I'm from rural northern Scotland and a lot of things that others see as day to day leave me a bit shocked, if that makes sense!!

cakebar Thu 11-Jul-13 19:10:46

I donate stained, ripped and holey clothes (but they are all clean and nicely folded). I was under the impression that the charity sold the stuff they couldn't sell in the shop to recycling companies by weight? If not, I will stop doing it and save it as there is one doorstep collection we have that say they will take anything and the bags to school does too. I sort the stuff into probably sale-able and recycling. Can anyone clarify?

As for stealing stuff, well stealing stuff is 'bad' but I think people stealing stuff don't much care where they steal stuff from. Maybe they think they are only taking something somebody else has chucked out so don't see it as bad?

aldiwhore Thu 11-Jul-13 19:13:03

If you're going to steal, you're going to steal from the easiest source.

Not saying it's right, and I won't completely judge the thieves either, but it certainly is not surprising.

Chopchopbusybusy Thu 11-Jul-13 19:16:28

It is disappointing but I'm sure a charity shop is viewed as easy to steal from.
I am surprised that you say they don't accept torn or badly worn clothes as, like cakebar, I thought they sold rags for recycling.

Madlizzy Thu 11-Jul-13 19:17:23

Charity shops give clothes they can't sell to the rag man and get money that way still. One of the best defences against shoplifters is to give excellent customer service. They really don't like you clocking that they're there, and especially don't like being asked if they need any help. Shrinkage from theft can be reduced massively this way.

namechangetocover Thu 11-Jul-13 19:17:58

Aah maybe they do make money from the recycling then, as she did say that a few of the bags were for recycling. I think minor stains or tiny rips are OK - depending on the shop, I can PM to say which shop I do - but the stuff we had was stuff that was just fit to bin.. Clean and nicely folded is good :D because the stuff I'm meaning wasn't either of them!! (sorting it is good too)

To be honest I'm not 100% sure how they decide things as they were recycling books as well, depending on (I presume) whether they'd sell. I'm going to ask more questions when I'm next in, was nervous today and watched a lot whilst wondering "why's that? what's that done for?" whilst remaining silent!

It's maybe something like that. They had a lot of things that were still shop tagged etc as well so maybe people see it as they would stealing those clothes from a bigger shop, if that makes sense, don't know..

namechangetocover Thu 11-Jul-13 19:20:10

Oh God I don't want to put you all off donating because that's not what I'm intending lol, I don't mean to sound horrible or anything sad! I think there's a bit between what we were seeing and what's acceptable for selling/donating and somewhere in that some stuff's bound to be slightly damaged and still OK for selling..

breatheslowly Thu 11-Jul-13 19:30:35

I imagine that people feel that they can justify stealing from a charity shop as it got the goods free in the first place so "haven't really lost anything". I don't agree with this, but it does make some sense.

Buswanker Thu 11-Jul-13 19:46:32

I think it's worse than stealing from a shop like Waitrose, I know that's wrong. Is is worse as it's stealing from people who really need it.

A lot of people I know don't have enough money to donate any to charity so donate clothes and other goods instead (They could sell for them for money they need but don't). It seems like stealing from them too.

I can't imagine seeing a top in a childrens hospice and thinking ' nice, I will steal that I need it more than terminally ill children need the money for medicine'

Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 11-Jul-13 19:54:25

My mum works for a charity shop and has things stolen. What's worse are the people that try and return clothes that they didn't buy from the shop (I.e just random clothes) with a tag on and insist they bought it there!

My mum isn't daft, she knows exactly what's in her shop and exactly where the tags sit. People also ask for money off stuff. It's a charity FFS!

Things that can't be sold goes for rags.

mypussyiscalledCaramel Thu 11-Jul-13 19:58:00

yesterday I saw 2 people riffling through boxes of stuff that had been left in the recessed doorway of a charity shop. It was about 6 in the evening. I was shock

I also live above a charity shop and if some twonk ignores the sign on the door and leaves stuff there anyway, I take it home and give it to them when they are open. They know I do this as I okayed it with the head honcho.

Turniptwirl Thu 11-Jul-13 19:58:50

When I worked in a shop we had a collection tub to fund the search for a local lad who had been lost trying to rescue his mates from the sea. Initially for him, then for his body. Several staff had gone to school with him and he was well liked locally. people were hiving notes, not kust change, even some 20s and a 50.

One family knackers came in and asked for something from behind the till so we had to turn away and get it, then just stole notes out of the tub.

Some people have no morals.

frustratedashell Thu 11-Jul-13 20:08:20

I am an ex charity shop manager. Unsaleable clothes etc are sold as rags. But soiled stuff is grim! Yes people do steal from charity shops. It's a sad fact of life. And yes we don't pay for the stock but it's so wrong. I've had a bloke steal a leather jacket from my shop and get caught. He then offered a donation to me if I didn't call the police. I then launched into a speech telling him he was the lowest of the low, and called the police. He got an on the spot fine. Would have been cheaper for him to buy the jacket. I was furious!

Solari Thu 11-Jul-13 20:40:13

Unfortunately, I'm not surprised at all by this. Just think of all the scams around at the moment that deliberately target elderly, disabled, and/or otherwise vulnerable people for the sole purpose of getting their money off them (regardless of how little they have or how much they need it).

To be able to look your victim in the face (or talk to them on the phone) whilst essentially robbing them must make stealing from a charity shop seem easy in comparison (if there is any conscience at work).

RubyThePirate Thu 11-Jul-13 23:30:10

It upset me to learn that the parent of an apparently well-off acquaintance, who works in a charity shop, takes (buys, one would hope) the best stuff that comes in for the GC.

Not on, IMO.

alltoomuchrightnow Fri 12-Jul-13 00:22:57

ex manager here too. Did get money for rags. As long as it wasn't wet/ went to rags if unsaleable. Didn't matter about stains and holes...rags still want them.
My shop was in a 'bad' area. About 10-20% of the saleable stuff got stolen. As for things left outside..well there wasn't ever much left outside, and what was left had always been rifled through.... and strewn all up the street. It was my job to pick it all up (illegal to leave it up the street..some blew into road etc)... which could lead to unattended shop as i gathered it up for rags....and therefore..more shoplifting!
I would drive to work and see bags/ boxes left outside. I would be on the other side of the road. By the time it took me to go round the roundabout and get onto the shop's side...the stuff would be gone. Sometimes people would still openly be taking it as I went to unlock the door. They would say it wasn't my property as wasn't inside the shop.
I really, really do not miss that job!
And the aggression i got from customers (i did a thread about it before)
I couldn't do a paid job in a charity shop again. Exhausting and stressful... threats and aggression every single day. Sorting clothes with dried (or fresh) poo, urine, vomit etc...
Oh and once a letter came for the flat upstairs. One of my volunteers took it up for the resident. Their window sills were filled, completely crammed, with stuff stolen from our shop! And still had the price stickers on! She mentioned it to the resident and the only response was a shoulder shrug!

Titi15 Fri 18-Nov-16 23:31:16

A few months ago I donated by accident with other items my husband’s pilot chart maps worth around £100 to British Hart Foundation in Walthamstow. Next morning I went to ask for the maps back, as they were donated by accident. Since then the item was not found, it “disappeared” overnight. The manager was very vague from the beginning. A few days later I contacted the British Hart Foundation head office. They were willing to check CCTV only a few weeks later, but the video was already deleted.

The maps have my husband’s handwriting, so I could easily identify them. Since then I prefer to throwaway my unwanted items than give them to charity shop, where staff steals. They should be ashamed of themselves.

BratFarrarsPony Fri 18-Nov-16 23:37:13

oh gosh yes i volunteer and lots of stuff goes walkies.
We are told not to challenge anyone if we dont feel up to it.
I did once, when a guy had blatantly stuffed a load of DVDs down his trousers...
I just said 'Mate, do you want to put that back?' and he just did as he was told!


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