Updated date:

What Charity Shops Don't Want You to Know About Your Donated Goods


Nell has worked in a number of Charity Shops and is familiar with the 'Behind the scenes' occurrences. She is now a full time writer.

Charity shops scam

Charity shops scam

Charity Does Begin at Home by Donating

Most of us give to charity at some time in our lives. Whether it be a few dollars in a can on the counter of a shop or joining a charity where you donate each month.

It makes us feel better about ourselves and we know that the money is going to a good home or disaster fund.

The other kind of charity is when we donate clothes, books and anything else we no longer need to a charity shop or thrift store. And we do this because we know that those things that have been hidden in the back of our cupboards or drawers are actually going to make a difference to someone.

Sometimes we give goods and toys to charity workers who are going to take them abroad. Maybe those clothes are going to a war-torn country or even a natural disaster.

Whichever way we give to charity we give it in good faith. We believe that those goods are going somewhere worthwhile.

But is it true? Do those donated goods really go to a good home, and does the money that we spend in those shops really get to where they are meant to go?

Nothing Goes to Waste

I have worked in a couple of charity shops over the years as a senior store sales assistant where I worked with a couple of other assistants.

The majority of the time everything went as it should. Donations poured in, and we all had to sort out the bags, decide where the clothes, toys and other brick a brack would go. Some had to be cleaned, others were ready for the shelf.

All the clothes that came in were automatically steamed cleaned whether they were clean or not. We were not allowed to put them straight on the shelves, so a lot of the time we spent out the back of the shop cleaning and sorting, making sure that everything was perfect.

Of course, there would always be a garment that was not suitable for the shop, maybe it had a tear in it or a stain that we couldn't remove. Most of these were put in the bags by accident, so they would go into the rag bags ready for the rag men to take away.

Even these are not wasted, they are either taken to another charity shop or given as rags for cleaning use.

charity shop lockers

charity shop lockers

Perks of the Job or Theft?

But soon I started to notice a few things that bothered me. For starters, there were a few assistants that believed they were entitled to some of the better goods. Without paying for them!

We all had lockers out the back of the shop, and many a time I would see one of them sneaking a brand new jacket, dress or shoes into the locker.

I actually confronted them one day and said, 'Did you pay for that?' their answer? 'It's one of the perks of the job'!

Yes, I get that, to a certain extent. But only if you pay for it! Okay, if you like something then grab it as soon as it comes in, but the whole point of charity is the fact that these people have brought them in so that the money goes to charity. Not your pocket!

But still, it went on. I would deliberately pick something up I liked, try it on, and in front of all of them walk over to the till or charity box and place the money inside.

Sadly it never rubbed off on the other workers! They thought it was good pickings for them. We probably lost lots of money because of their greed. Or should I say theft!

Don't get me wrong, this was not just in my charity shop, this is world wide. I heard about people taking goods many years ago when my mother's friend worked in a charity shop. I was shocked. But that's not all.

Electrical goods thrown away in charity shops.

Electrical goods thrown away in charity shops.

Never Donate Electrical Goods

Did you know that all charity or thrift stores do not take electrical goods? Or should I say sell electrical goods?


Because they are not allowed to on the basis that if the goods are faulty, they could either electrocute someone or just not work.

But most charity shops do not have this sign in their windows. They don't mention it to the people who are donating the goods, and they take them with a smile.

Why? So they can take it straight back home with them that's why! Sound systems, hairdryers, CD players, Televisions, they have all come through the shop I was working in, and yes straight out the back door into the cars of the people who work in the shop.

The other rather strange and disturbing thing about the electrical goods and also other goods such as ornaments, paintings and even really good quality handbags and shoes, is that they get thrown into the trash bin!

Why? Because nobody wants them. If it's the electrical goods, they go straight in the bin if they are not wanted, but the other goods are thrown away if they haven't sold after a month.

Why are they not sent to another charity shop? Yep, good question!

Expensive electrical goods thrown away in charity shop bin.

Expensive electrical goods thrown away in charity shop bin.

Thrown Away? It's a Disgrace

I actually know someone who goes and takes the goods out of the bin, and sells them. Either for her own money, or most of the time, to give to charity. And she has even told the owner of the shop, which got this reply.

'Well you can do what you want, we don't care, once it's in the rubbish it's nothing to do with us'.

So, once again, why don't they just send the goods to another charity shop? Or maybe a local village hall could sell them for charity.

It doesn't take a lot of common sense now, does it? And I say good for that lady who takes it back out of the bin to sell it. At least it's going to a good home, or another store.

The last thing to mention is how a lot of store workers give 'discounts' to friends and relatives. For example, if one of their friends comes in and wants a jacket that costs approx 20 dollars, they will let them have it for 2 or 3 dollars. This is defeating the object! But hey, it's just another day at the shop, so why not scam it?

This is how a charity shop should be, with a good reputation.

This is how a charity shop should be, with a good reputation.

Track Your Donations.

So now you know all that, do you still want to donate to charity? Yes of course you do, but here are a few tips on how to choose the right store.

  • Take a look around the store. See what's on offer, how long the goods have been there, should have a date on the labels, and then maybe see if they do sell electrical goods.
  • Really check what you are donating. Don't just give what you don't like. If nobody else likes it then it will end up in the trash.
  • If you take in a really expensive coat or goods, make sure you check over the next few days to see if it's been sold, and if it's not in the store, ask who bought it. In fact, put a label on it that says for the store to contact you when it has been sold. You can do this in most charity shops.

Carry on Donating

I just want to add that the last charity shop I worked in did not do any of these things. They were great, well respected and monitored for bad behavior just in case anyone got out of line. The store I am talking about was a few years ago in the next town. They know who they are!

Charity is always a good thing to do. We know that people need clothing, money and medicines to help them. Don't stop donating purely on the basis of this article. Out of all the thousands of donations a day only a small percentage is taken by the charity workers, so even if you lose out on one item through the theft in the store it's still worth giving to charity shops.

Charity donations bring a smile to those in need. And that's what counts.

*All info is based on UK Charity Shops and not USA or Overseas. The US does take in electrical goods, unlike Britain. Always check when taking your goods to the store.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2014 Nell Rose


Nell Rose (author) from England on January 14, 2020:

Thank you joy, it sounds like a great place to work, and yes it is for charity. Shame on those who steal the goods.

joycutsforth@gmail.co on January 13, 2020:

I work in our church Pennine charity shop in North Branshome, Hull . We get a staff discount on clothes and shoes but not on other items and if anyone starts taking without paying they are 'moved' out of the shop, as its not in the spirit of charity, and yes its stealing.People donate towards our different causes in good faith. I can give to the needy shoes, clothes , etc., but will always run it past our Pastor first. Your comments saddened me. But some people are greedy.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 21, 2018:

Thanks Joe, sadly that proves my point. Thanks for reading.

joe on October 20, 2018:

my manager at our sue ryder shop is taking so much stuff on a weekly base along side certain other voleteers who do u report it 2

Nell Rose (author) from England on June 02, 2018:

Thank you for telling me this. It makes me so mad to hear it. The trouble is they get people to work in these charity shops who have no idea of history or care for it, its disgusting and definitely proves my point. I think I would point it out to the local paper if i were you! thanks for reading.

acidiumsix on June 02, 2018:

I live in northern California and our local Hospice Thrift leaves me in a rage...when they have too much on thec SD helves and someone calls them with a house full of goods they sweep the glass ware and pottery off the shelves and break it intentionally...they refuse to sell it at a discount or put it in a free bin..So many times I have watched them destroy vintage glass that I wanted so badly but couldn't afford to purchase at the prices they were asking..they were angry when I offered to buy it for less or at a bulk price but they joyfully gather at the dumpster to smash it before they toss it in and lock the dumpster... I don't get why and it sickens me to see vintage art glass and pottery destroyed when there are so many people who would love to have it but just can't pay for it at the moment...It kills me when I can only afford one or two items and there are ten that I really want...then I am forced to watch them destroy it the next day because I live within sight of their dumpster... I can hardly keep from yelling obscenities when I see them out there laughing and destroying 100 year old art glass that they were unable to find the time to search for a makers mark or couldn't find a similar item on eBay to price it by.. I hate them for this practice..some of this glass and pottery comes from people who collected for 80 years and had nobody to will it to when they died..Its disgusting...

Nell Rose (author) from England on March 22, 2018:

Thanks Pete, glad you have your support. yes I have seen it so many times, specially as I worked in one.

Pete on March 21, 2018:

Very sad but something I have known about for a long time. Theres not much charity in charity these days, in fact its become big business and many of the fat cat charities pay themselves fat cat salaries. Not only ripping off the donors, but also the intended recipients. Wheres the charity in that!!

Regards the village idiot comments about donating rubbish and the other dingdong who thinks its their right to pocket what they want. Its people like you who give charity a bad name and the very reason why articles like this are so important to expose why we need to be more discerning who we give our charity to.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 24, 2017:

Hi Mercury, so sorry to have missed your comment! It went into the spam section for some reason! and I am as shocked as you over what you said! its so terrible! Thanks for reading.

MercuryTown on November 02, 2017:

I've seen charities discard donated goods and I'm horrified every time I see it. In Australia, the worst I've seen is Vinnies, with staff visibly smashing unsold crockery & glass into an otto bin while customers were in the store. These are still items that were freely donated, so rather than give them away or have a "sale" table, they prefer to bin them. If you're going to do something like that why not wait until after hours. I'm sure customers would rather not have to think that their donations are just binned because they're unsold for a time.

Another of their stores have their rear dumpster bin full of unsold shoes, many of them brand new, but as they have been in store for a couple of months unsold, they aren't bothered in what they termed as "wasting their time" in sending them to another store, it was easier and less paperwork I guess to just dump them. They didn't bat an eyelid when I happen to notice and salvaged as many pairs as I could. I travel to Africa frequently and on seeing so many people there without even the basics, this type of wastage is criminal. I'm often take extra bags as luggage, full of goods to hand out to kids and women who literally have nothing. I find it hard to turn away from this kind of waste. We certainly live in a throwaway society and can sending these things to a warehouse or another store be so time consuming or costly?

Here we have many charities that will take electrical goods as most stores will have an electrician come in and do testing to see if they work and are safe. Obviously there are no guarantees given and from experience the only stipulation is that battery covers have to be in place otherwise they won't take them at all.

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 23, 2017:

Thanks Brinafr3sh :)

Brinafr3sh from West Coast, United States on January 23, 2017:

Hi Nell,

Thrift store workers dipping into the donated items is strange. I thought they got the job to help those less fortunate to get the items. One benefit is that the person whom donates can still get a receipt for tax right offs. It's either throw items from home in the trash or donate to thrift stores, hoping their workers aren't the ones weeding through the items.

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 21, 2017:

I AM A VOLUNTEER! if you read it right you would know! and that was not the point. thank you for reading!

A Volunteer on January 20, 2017:

well while your at it why not tell everyone that a charity shop is not a dumping ground for people who are just too lazy to go to the dump and that includes their household rubbish mixed with their unwanted items ,,,,,and also customers who love to pull items off shelves and hangers and leave them wherever they like and parents who will let their children run amuck through toys and everything else (no respect) and throw them on the floor ,,,just a few things unpaid volunteers have to put up with besides doing other work so yea dig the dirt out on the thrift shops but while your doing that,,,,,, tell it all please .....................

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 18, 2016:

Thanks so much Laurie, I didn't know that. Where I worked it was 'thanks very much' till they got out the door and then straight in the bin! I would take it out, test it, and if I wanted it I wouldn't put the money through the Till it would go into the charity box, each to our own on I suppose, and its great that your volunteers pay for unsalable items. and thanks for reading.

Laurie on December 18, 2016:

Just to add to what one of your other commenters said, there is no legal reason for charity shops not to sell electricals in the UK. They just have to be 'inspected by a competent person' and most businesses choose to PAT test to show that they have kept within the law. The training/equipment/admin that goes with this is probably the reason why most shops don't bother. I manage a charity shop in a town where we are the only one which can do this and it works well for us, but I suspect that if everyone started doing it then electrical donations would be spread so thin between all the shops that it wouldn't be worth it.

As for the stealing (or quasi-stealing with 99% discounts etc.) I've no doubt its a problem in the sector but take heart that it doesn't happen everywhere. My volunteers even insist on paying for rag (unsalable) items that I would have to throw away but that they want to take home to repair.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 11, 2016:

Forgot to say. If its okay to dip your hand into the charity pot just because you have given your time for 40 hours a week, its okay then for me to collect money for charity and say, take 20 or 30 pound out each day then? think about it.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 09, 2016:

We all have our opinions, and I know what I know. And I have worked in charity shops for years too. I appreciate your opinion, but swearing? yeah that's classy!!

Kevin James on December 09, 2016:

Total Bollocks! I volunteer in a charity shop and have done for the last 8 - 10 years. I once volunteered 40 hrs a week and hold down a full time job. Seriously when you give 40 hours for nothing that is classed as a perk like any job! Anyone here worked in an office and taken a few pens home or even borrowed the works internet on the weekends for googling crap? If so then tut tut tut that's stealing as well! Oh but wait it's your perk isn't it?

Whoever you are that wrote this shit peehaps you should learn about the people that volunteer and why they do before you judge! In my defence I actually ask customers if they would allow me to have that toy or that item. They normall say yes so trust me don't judge what you don't fucking know!!!

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 05, 2016:

Hi Charlotte, that's terrible! and my point exactly! I don't know why these people do it. I would prefer them taking it home, at least it gets used! A lot of these workers forget that charity starts at home! sometimes if an employee really needs something and can't afford it, and its going to be thrown away, well why not take it? charity is charity. to steal something as a worker when someone can buy it is one thing, but to break it so nobody can have it is appalling! thanks so much for reading, nell

Charlotte on December 05, 2016:

Hi Nell ..can i say that i once worked in a charity shop , on my days off from School , i would help with the sorting of donated clothing, on this particular day i remember there been a black bin bag full of skirts and Tights ..they were all Black or Navy Lycra bodycon skirts and Thick Black opaque Tights ..teen agers clothing [school wear]..they were all washed/clean so i put the Tights in a box out for sale at 50 pence a pair , my manageress saw them ,told me these are not for sale ,and put all of them in the Rag Bag !! i thought well if they are not good enough to sell , they will do for me as school Tights , i saved them and put them aside till the end of my shift , only to find she [my manager] had cut them all up to prevent me from saving them..one of the skirts had just a slight tear , would have taken just 5 minutes to sew up ..but she just tore the skirt even more to make it unwearable and threw it in the ragbag !

Nell Rose (author) from England on September 09, 2015:

Thanks Colleen, sorry for the delay, long story! and yes I totally agree, its better to pass it on if its worth something, either clothes or goods, thanks nell

Colleen Diemer from Florida on September 07, 2015:

Hi Nell, Great article! I am sad to say that this does not surprise me. It would have a few years ago but I have seen too much now to trust people. I just give my things directly to families,my friends,my relatives or hand them to homeless people or children at the orphanage. It feels good to know exactly where something is going. Some things have never been worn. Instead of getting a few dollars to sell something I paid a lot of money for I would rather pay it forward. Take care my friend. Colleen

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 26, 2015:

Hi John, thanks for your added info, maybe its just the ones in my town then? I will have to find out, thanks for reading, nell

John Holden on May 26, 2015:

Nell, quick comment before i go to help in my local charity shop.

Not all shops either refuse or dump donated electrical goods.

We test them for electrical safety and to make sure they work and then sell them on.

Goods that are not saleable are recycled.

Nell Rose (author) from England on May 09, 2015:

Hi Peggy, yes its pretty dire to think people do this, and in fact its still happening, I asked a friend who worked there the other day about it, she said there was a volunteer who constantly took stuff, but they couldn't quite prove it! so I said, get rid of her, but they haven't so far, not sure why, thanks so much as always, nell

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2015:

I worked as a volunteer counselor for about 15 years in a local assistance ministry that also ran a thrift shop and food pantry. I think that most of the volunteers there were honest and would pay for their purchases. It is very sad that there are people anywhere who would take advantage of the situation as you related in your story. Many charities rely upon the sales in thrift shops to augment their income to help the particular charity in other ways.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 07, 2015:

Great tips, Nell, about thrift shops, whether you're buying or donating goods. I go to the Salvation Army and a local store to donate some of my mother's clothes (and mine too) that weren't needed anymore. Very helpful! Voted up!

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 31, 2015:

Hi Laurie, it does seem that many people can't keep their hands in their pockets these days! lol! thanks so much, nell

Rayne123 on January 31, 2015:

Hi Nell, another very very well written and informative hub.

Funny I just now came across this hub. I had a hub written on charities but then removed it. I wanted to do more research and looking around. Soon I hope to have more ideas and hubs posted.

Anyway there are so many charities I do want to help and have helped (maybe not in a big way that I want to, but even in small ways as you pointed out), but I myself wondered about some charities.

I watched a documentary with my mom about a month ago, (not quite on charities, but something I would like to add to my research), it was about these so called companies that sell the best of best and how the clothes were made including walmart and and Joe Fresh, these labels look appealing to our eye however they were made by sweatshops in Bangladesh, under poor conditions and health risks to the workers, some as young as 11, sad as it is. This caused concerned when the building collapsed. It was quite disturbing to see walmart among these companies.

Anyway the point I was making, it all looks so good but with everything going on, we really do not know what goes on behind closed doors.

Sometimes I wonder if some employees actually pocket money when a donation comes in for children or animals. You would hope not, but with all we read and see one has to wonder.

There are also a lot of good people in this world and these people are the ones that lead to the right thing to do.

Very good hub again


Nell Rose (author) from England on January 15, 2015:

lol! Paula! thanks everyone who read this and commented, sorry not been feeling good, I totally appreciate all your comments, thanks

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 15, 2015:

Oh paula that's amazing, good for you! and what a great idea! thanks again, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 15, 2015:

Its unbelievable isn't it Rui? thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 15, 2015:

Thanks Kierstin, I will do that, thanks for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 15, 2015:

Thanks Paula, yes its amazing how much of the stuff disappears! I don't think there are totally honest people anywhere these days to be honest! horrible to say, but if someone places a freebie in front of them what are they going to do? sadly, this is what happens.

Suzie from Carson City on January 14, 2015:

Awwww shucks, what blew my cover? The wings, my brightly shining Halo ...or the miracles I perform everyday by refraining from shooting A$$holes on sight? I need a new image.

The Logician from now on on January 14, 2015:

Paula, I know you! You are one of the real life angels who inspired the series Touched by an Angel.

Anyway, Nell, speaking of electrical items a year ago or so the Goodwills here stopped accepting television sets and CRT monitors because they were too expensive to dispose of...well they tried to stop accepting them but people continued to drop them off after hours so you still see them around.

Suzie from Carson City on January 14, 2015:

Back again Nell, because I want to add something that I have done several times, which resulted in much self-satisfaction in terms of Charity/Giving.

Because we all want to know that our donated items are being put to good use and given to the truly needy...there are simple ways to see to it.

In a community, it is often obvious who the families are that are struggling. Using just a bit of discreet digging, we can locate these families. Then it's just a matter of putting a nice package together, clothing, household items, even canned goods. Enlist the help of a friend to simply make an anonymous delivery. The family is saved any sort of embarrassment and we can know that we helped. I did this a couple of Christmases for families in my community. You have to know how happy I was to pass them in the grocery store and see the little girl in the coat, hat and mittens I had put in the package.

Every little bit helps!

Rui Carreira from Torres Novas on January 14, 2015:

This hub hurts my "Good" gene... I watched a documentary about this that made me sick - People were throwing perfectly good TVs, Bikes and whatnot to the thrash.


Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 14, 2015:

Came back to read again, we never give a thought to whether what we donate is actually going to charity or not. Great hub and a valuable reminder.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on January 14, 2015:

What also surprises many people is that fabric items that are deemed not sales-worthy are often sold by the pound for recycling. That's another way charities can make money... by collecting and reselling fabric scrap.

One of the charity pick up services in our area does collect appliances. Though I can't verify, I'm guessing they might recycle them for scrap revenues, too.

Thanks for sharing the behind-the-scenes insight!

Kierstin Gunsberg from Traverse City, Michigan on January 14, 2015:

Very interesting but to my fellow hubbers from the U.S., some of these points are not true of American thrift shops. I know I've seen electrical items for sale in my local Goodwill.

If you have a Habitat For Humanity nearby, consider donating furniture and electronics to them (they'll even pick them up for you!) I know that they accept/sell them there :)

Nell, maybe you could make a little edit to your Hub to let others know that your knowledge applies to European standards and regulations? It would be a bummer if those reading this confused those regulations and stopped donating those much-needed items in American states.

Suzie from Carson City on January 13, 2015:

Unbelievable....I just had this conversation with a friend.....we exchanged some opinions on this yesterday & again today. It was like I special ordered your hub!

I do definitely frequent many of these places. Salvation Army, Goodwill, Amvets, any sort of Charity establishment, as well as consignment stores, which are a bit different because they are actually a business & their profits aren't earmarked to Charity. Every Church around here has a clothing Bin for donations also. I usually ask where the clothes are destined and in most cases, I'm told it's 3rd world countries.

My personal choice in Charities are those that benefit our Veterans. I must admit, ever since the one major Veteran's Charity was busted for fraud and theft and it was discovered that MILLIONS meant for Vets never went to them at all.....I am very leery.

It just shouldn't have to be an issue for people who truly care and want to give...to be afraid to do so. The big question is always.....WHERE is it going?

Your hub is very very enlightening. More people should speak up and out. Thanks Nell......UP++++pinned & Tweeted.

LT Wright from California on January 13, 2015:

We moved recently, so I donated a ton of stuff that various charities picked up instead of doing a yard sale. So, it's disappointing to read that this happens.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on January 13, 2015:

Since reading this hub a few months back, I've become more selective with whom I donate to. It's a good thing you've shared your experiences with us. I recall how shocked I was the first time I paid a visit to this hub. But now - nothing shocks me! Thanks Nell and votes plus sharing.


Nell Rose (author) from England on January 05, 2015:

Thanks again PS, yes that's a great idea, from now on I am going to do that, Angels back to you Xx

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 05, 2015:

Unfortunately this kind of activity where the goods do not go to those who really are in need is somewhat pervasive.

A way around it is to give directly to someone who is in need or to have a yard sale and donate the money to those who need it.

Thank you for bringing this to light.

Angels are once again on the way to you this morning. ps

Nell Rose (author) from England on January 02, 2015:

Hi Graham, thanks for reading, yes people will take whenever they can! and I hope you have a Happy New Year too, and thanks!

Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on January 02, 2015:

Hi Nell. You have confirmed what I always thought went on. It's life I'm afraid it's the way things are. If something is available it will be taken. On that sad note I wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Nell Rose (author) from England on January 01, 2015:

I agree with you aesta, we can't always keep an eye on others who are stealing, just make sure we are honest when we buy or sell these charity stuff, thanks so much for reading, nell

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on January 01, 2015:

I don't really know what to say. It is wrong for them to take advantage of their position to get the best goods for themselves. Greed is in everyone really and controlling this in ourselves is not easy. Still, this is deplorable.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 29, 2014:

Hi Writer, that sounds amazing! you couldn't get anything free in my greedy town! in fact its like this in most of England! we could learn something from your neck of the woods! thanks so much for reading, nell

Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on December 29, 2014:

This was a real eye-opener. Where I live, things donated to charity are given to people without charge and appliances are always needed (especially washing machines and refrigerators). I think that the management of the places you describe are responsible for the cultures they create. That's true of any business or non-profit company.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 27, 2014:

That is different Tolova, I don't think we will ever really know where the goods go, thanks for reading, nell

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on December 26, 2014:

Thanks for these interesting facts. Some of them were known to me already, but some are totally new and pretty shocking. I think charity shops are never just charity shops, they have very different missions as well. Everybody, who donates, feels good, because he/she likes to believe he/she helped somebody, what is of course good, but it's a bit selfish too. Workers have their own reasons, not just good hearts, and owners are definitely special story themselves.

You actually opened a lot of starting points which may lead into very heated debate and if I may add another kind of charity which is pretty popular in our country - we don't donate used clothes, toys and shoes to shops, we just throw them into special bind, where they were collected by organization from different country, sold somewhere else and money spent for charity in totally different region. This is not only unclear distribution of goods and money, it's very alienated approach too. So we can feel good (we donated something after all), but don't want to know if this actually made any difference to somebody, or somebody just capitalize on our stuff. Not exactly the good will spirit, right?

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 07, 2014:

Hi Polly, sorry it took me so long to answer, yes if they say that then they usually pay, I was just so shocked to see the blatant stealing, made me so mad! thanks for reading, nell

Polly C from UK on December 04, 2014:

I took a few items to the local Sue Ryder shop once. I really like the shop, it does have some good things in. One of the items I donated was a wooden plant stand, which was in good condition but didn't fit anywhere in our house. The assistants in the shop thanked me, and one of them said, "I've got my eye on the plant stand." I think I know where that ended up! Although I'm sure she did pay for it, since she declared it in front of everyone else.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 21, 2014:

HI Deb, yes that's so true, that's what makes me so mad about it, thanks for reading, nell

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on November 21, 2014:

If it wasn't for donations, many people would not eat or even be dressed apropriately in the winter. Thanks for the heads up, Nell.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 16, 2014:

Hi carter, yes that's so true, we usually turn a blind eye to it, but after working there I now know where our hard work goes, and its not worth it, thanks so much for reading, nell

Mary from Cronulla NSW on November 16, 2014:

Good on you Nell for bringing this to light..such a rip off isn't it when people do this..you know it happens but somehow you don't want to believe it right? great hub Nell..Cheers

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 14, 2014:

Hi Eddy, thanks so much, and have a wonderful weekend, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 14, 2014:

Hi dilip, yes its much better to just give to others, but charity shops are great as long as they employ honest people, thanks so much for reading, nell

Eiddwen from Wales on November 14, 2014:

Certainly an eye opener Nell and leaving much food for thought. Voted up and shared. Your obvious hard work has once again paid off. Each and every hub of yours is so interesting. Voted up , shared and wishing you a wonderful day.


Dilip Chandra from India on November 13, 2014:

An eye opening read, one more time in fact. I have gone through a similar article with possible reasons. I donate every year all the old clothes. They all go to other cities, probably i believe, and ends up in a sale rather in some donation. Tips are really useful, perhaps next time, it is wiser to donate things directly to needy may be.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 10, 2014:

Hi Rachael, thanks for reading, yes you are right! greedy people will love to work there!

Rachael O'Halloran from United States on November 10, 2014:

For those inclined toward kleptomania and sheer greed, I can see where working in a thrift shoppe might be enticing. I also had no idea about electrical items and often donate them to area thrift stores. I will now make sure "real people" get them before they go in the thrift box. Thank you for enlightenment.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 03, 2014:

Thanks beth, yes it was shocking to find out all of this, Its a wonder other charity shop workers haven't told, mind you, its because well you can guess! thanks so much for reading, nell

Beth Perry from Tennesee on November 03, 2014:

Nell, you have confirmed something I wondered about - that some charity store workers hold back the "good stuff" for friends and family. I don't mind if they tell needy friends and family about items, but I think keeping items away from the public coming in rather smacks the very concept of charity.

A very enlightening Hub, thank you for posting. Maybe this will compel donation-givers to keep more stringent tabs as you suggested. Not everyone in the world is as selfless as they are, for sure.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 28, 2014:

lol! hiya Jo! you always make me smile! yes Its on the back burner as they say, I may write about it, as for those charity buyers yes if you have the money why not buy something new? talk about tightfisted! lol!

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on October 28, 2014:

LOL @ your reply well i guess so rich people love to hold on to their dollars i don't know what for. Because when you die someone gonna frolic with your hard earn money. Why not spend it on yourself but some people just too cheap!

How are you? I am yet to see the hub with your recent trip lol. "Waiting patiently"

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 25, 2014:

Thanks rebecca, glad you liked it, and thanks for reading, nell

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on October 25, 2014:

Thank you for this Nell Rose. I know people who toss things without a thought. I'll bet this screams loud and clear. A better way~

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 25, 2014:

Hi anginwu, thanks for reading, glad you liked it, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 25, 2014:

Thanks Audrey, thanks so much for reading, I am sure the shops really appreciate it, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 25, 2014:

HI Dianna, maybe in America they do, but not over here, its always worth asking or looking when you take stuff in, just to be on the safe side, thanks so much, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 25, 2014:

Thanks Genna, yes over here most of the shops don't do electricals. But do they tell them? do they heck! I was just so annoyed when I saw it, and I felt shame to take the stuff without paying I think that's why I yelled so loud! lol!

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 25, 2014:

Hiya Jo, you hit the nail on the head there! it is the wealthy that wants stuff for nothing in those shops! maybe that's why they are so darn wealthy! lol! thanks as always, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 25, 2014:

HIya kitty, yes that doesn't surprise me, seems to be the norm in most of them, maybe that's why people volunteer! I was taken on as a paid worker, but many were just volunteers, thanks so much for reading, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 25, 2014:

Thanks Peg, your ideas seem to be much better than the way they do it over here, the crisis shelter sounds wonderful! thanks so much for reading, nell

anglnwu on October 25, 2014:

Good to know the inside scoop of how it works in charity shops. I usually donate my stuff to AmVet. They come and collect them. Nice job.

Audrey Howitt from California on October 25, 2014:

Most of my donations in goods are either clothing or books--and I donate to repurpose the items as much as to help a local charity--so I just hope someone can use them--excellent article Nell!

Dianna Mendez on October 24, 2014:

I didn't know charity shops were not allowed to sell electrical appliances. Guess they must have been sued over some of those items. I have heard of associates sifting through donations to pull the best before distributing the rest. It's a shame!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on October 24, 2014:

Wow…this as an eye opener. Such waste is troubling; and the theft makes me wonder how some of the workers who feel self-entitled to these “perks of the job” can possibly do what they are doing. I am happy there are still people like you, Nell, who know what charity means. I had no idea that electrical items weren’t being used for charity – well, I should say those who actually need the charity. Interesting article, Nell, as always. The next time I donate I will have a few questions beforehand.

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on October 24, 2014:

Yes your right there are people working in these places just looking to fill their pockets or closet. Well dear sounds like something you would do walk up to someone asking if they paid for it? ROTLFLOL ha ha ha. Nell your something else, but my kinda woman i'd do the same. People can be to blatant and bold face about these things.

Make it worst if people who have taken these items are wealthy or middle class "CAN AFFORD" , IT's FOR THE LESS FORTUNATE NOT YOU!!!

Kitty Fields from Summerland on October 24, 2014:

I worked in a charity thrift store for a few years as a teenager, and sadly all of these things were taking place there too. Fortunately the place still made a lot of money for those in need. Thanks for sharing!

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on October 24, 2014:

How interesting, Nell. I'd often suspected that the best items went away to internal workers, but your story tells of blatant disregard for the true meaning of charity. I like to donate to the women's crisis shelter where they let the residents pick from the items for personal use. There's also a private donation place that directly helps the homeless with clothing and items for their needs.

Back in the day, places like Goodwill actually hired the handicapped to restore items and provide valuable work for those in need. Now, they are picky and won't even take items like furniture.

I've furnished many homes with items from thrift stores. This eye-opening exposé lets us know to be selective when donating.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 23, 2014:

Hi Charmain, that's terrible! did she say she would pay for them? even so, she should have taken the clothes, put them on display then bought them, not put you in that position! I don't think she should have done that, someone should have a word with her about how it works! thanks so much for reading, nell

Charmain English on October 23, 2014:

I had a terrible experience with donating clothes. I was dropping off clothes for charity and the cashier asked if she could take them for her granddaughter. I was absolutely mortified, because I felt like she put me in a very awkward place. I told her this was for those in need and I am not sure of her current situation, but did not feel comfortable giving her the clothes. All that to say I did not go back to that location again!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 23, 2014:

@jamagenee, I didn't know that about the mattresses. Years ago I bought a "rebuilt" mattress for my teen-age son at a charity thrift store. They claimed it was rebuilt, but all they had done was put a new cover on it. The nearly bare springs hurt his back so bad that we tossed it after about 4 or 5 months. I'm glad to know they can't sell that junk anymore.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 22, 2014:

Hi Vellur, thanks for reading, yes it was a shock to me too to see them take it, there is always someone on the cadge as we say over here, as for electrical goods, I do think some shops do it, but not many in my town, thanks so much, nell

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 22, 2014:

Stealing from a charity shop is the most despicable thing to do. The workers do not have a right to just take away an item that is donated. Did not know about the electrical items. Great hub and an eye opener. Voted up.

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 22, 2014:

Hi diane, great to see you! lol! yes and they get there before me too! thanks so much, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 22, 2014:

Hi Jo, thanks for reading, yes it certainly opened my eyes too, we did get designer clothes in, and guess where they went? lol!

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 22, 2014:

Hi mothers, thanks so much, yes they should always be taken elsewhere, not thrown away, its beyond belief! thanks so much, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 22, 2014:

Thanks maggs, I really appreciate you reading this, and yes I do believe that the older people do it automatically without thought for themselves, most of the people who work over here in charity shops are doing it for nothing, just volunteers as I was in my first two charity jobs, I have never worked for an animal charity but I do give to animals as they are so worthwhile, thanks so much, nell

Nell Rose (author) from England on October 22, 2014:

Thanks Besarien, I really appreciated your comment, and yes I should have done that! but as you say it would be bad for their families, but oh wouldn't that take the smile of their faces?

G. Diane Nelson Trotter from Fontana on October 22, 2014:

Nell, I shop at those stores. You mean someone is getting to the good stuff before I do???? Shame!

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on October 22, 2014:

Nell, now I know where all the designer labels goes.:) Seriously, I feel really disappointed, but I guess there will always be a few who spoils it for the rest. A real eye-opener.

Mothers of Nations on October 22, 2014:

Very informative article. I agree that unwanted items should be sent to another shop, or even better, donated to shelters but not ever thrown out unless it truly cannot be used. God bless you.

Voted up!

Related Articles