A quick guide to getting the best bargains in the charity chain store, Barnardo’s.
Charity shops have had a lot of negative press lately. People have noticed that the prices in stores have risen recently, some think the stores are getting greedy and it’s no longer possible to get a bargain. I have to admit, I’ve noticed the prices have gone up too, but I think it’s the responsibility of the charity shops to make as much money as they can for their particular causes.
With that said, it is still possible to get a great deal from charity shops, you just have to know what you’re doing. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping with Barnardo’s:
Barnardo’s Standard Shops are graded into three different tiers. The charity sort their donations so that the highest stores in the tier are intended to have all of the best designer label items; the middle tier to have items originating from the top end of the high street; and the bottom level to have items from the lower end of the high street and supermarkets. Barnardo’s also have specialist stores, for example, they have children’s stores, discount stores and stores with exclusively new goods.
Depending on the type of item you want, find out where these different tiers of store are. You can usually tell the difference between the more common Standard Stores’ three tiers by the price point of the items. The stores with the best items will have higher prices. Even though it’s more difficult to get a full-on bargain in these stores, you’ll still get decent items at a small percentage of the original RRP and they’ll be easy to find. Sometimes you’ll still get brands like TU and Atomosphere in these stores at high prices, so watch out!
If you’re bargain-hunting, my tip would be to find out where the nearest lower-tier store is. They are easy to find as many are marked as “Donation Centres”. A lot of the Donation Centres have a set price for all items in store. My local Barnardo’s Donation Centres have a set price of around £2, but this depends on the area.
The Donation Centres are where you’ll find your bargains. These stores get a huge volume of donations every day and some of the volunteers who work in them are not familiar with a lot of the more obscure designers and do not fully understand the merits of good materials, so they end up putting treasures out onto the shop floor along with the lower-end products.
Donation Centres can sometimes resemble jumble sales (especially compared to the immaculate higher-tier stores), but it is totally worth the extra rummaging. In amongst the shelves and racks, I’ve found designer Italian leather shoes for less than £2 and dresses from famous higher-end stores of Europe, which we don’t have in the UK.
Find your local Donation Centre (and other stores) here: http://www.barnardos.org.uk/shop/shop-search.htm and don’t forget to donate some of your unwanted possessions when you visit.
Charity shop and thrift store shopping has to be the most rewarding way of shopping. You’re helping good causes, aiding recycling, and to top it all off, you’ll end up with a wardrobe full of clothing no one else will be wearing, at a fraction of the cost people will expect you to have paid for it. Sometimes thrifting may sound daunting, but the more you do it, the better you’ll become at it.