Wow - I just watched my 1st lot of Mary Queen of Charity Shops. I hated her and I loved her. I'm a bit confused really. A bit blown away by it all.
Her concept of upscaling Op/Charity/Thrifts Shops to become boutique and trendy is understandable in the aim to reach new clientele. And I will admit the shop looks fabulous however I also know the shops that have become boutique in Australia such as The Red Cross Op Shops has put me off going as my "to go shop" because the prices are much higher, they have too many duplicated new items and it just doesn't give me the same thrill of the hunt. But when I am looking for that special item for a big event and don't have time to go through piles of ill sorted clothing then The Red Cross is my Fancy Pantsy shop. It's my High End Shop. It's the shop where I will splurge a little extra and live the high life of decadence.
But back to Mary. I felt sad about the whole episodes; Mary's tactless manner in speaking to people was aggravating. I wanted to shout at her as the staff were intimated by her bullish ways. She hurt many people in the process to make changes and increase the profits. And that's what it's all about isn't it - PROFITS - it's no longer a service to allow those on lower incomes to obtain inexpensive clothing or be a place for elderly fulfilling their need for meaningful work and company. It's all about profits to run the charity industry... and let us not all be duped. A huge chunk of charity money goes in the administration of running the charities not the poor or lonely themselves. It goes to real estate for buildings, offices and shops. It goes to administrative costs of consumables and advertising. It goes to pay packets of the non volunteers and executives. All of this is big business that crushes some of the very people it is supposed to be "helping".
So would I shop in one of Mary's shops? I think the answer is highly probably... Yes - because it looks stylish, it's second hand and fits with my eco ethics. I would purchase a few of the most inexpensive items from the discount racks, not armloads to play around with or use as dress ups, slash and punk up. I don't think I would find that bargain piece, that begs cutting to be upcycled into a wonderful new creation. I would consider my purchases very carefully and miss some of those lovely eccentric staff members that have a bit of history behind them. Here in my town The Red Cross Op Shops no longer have elderly staff. I see young vibrant retail assistants who have taken over the reigns in the second hand palaces. The music rocks and tempts us to feel good so that we purchase more items displayed on stunning glass shelves. A bit like everywhere else really - Gloss, Gloss and more Gloss. Me... I still like Old World style, with dusty treasures to discover. A place that still gives me a hunter gather rush.
What have you thought of Mary Queen of Charity? Love her? Hate her? Are you a second hand shopper? Come on spill the beans and share your thoughts.
Stephanie @ Frugal Down Under.