Don a pair of disposable gloves, pick a bag. Any bag. And get sorting. The gloves are a nod to health and safety and the squeamish, but frankly, if you are squeamish the last place you want to be is the backroom of a charity shop.
In fairness, probably 98% of donations have been dry cleaned or lovingly laundered and then ironed to perfection at the very least, and an astonishing number have never been worn, still sporting their original labels. I sometimes dwell upon all these people who spend fortunes on clothes, then never wear them. Curious.
But to get back to the gloves. They will not help if you inadvertently find yourself rummaging amongst hypodermics and discarded drug paraphernalia, which is always a possibility, although I have never heard of it happening. The gloves certainly didn’t help some little old lady in America recently. Diligently doing her civic duty, the poor soul unearthed a loaded gun, which promptly went off and shot her. Sadly I do not know if she survived – there was no follow up to the story, naturally.
If you are lucky, and, happily, you mostly are – the bag will contain some really good stuff. Designer gear is by no means unknown, and a knowledge of high fashion almost essential.
Then again, there are the other bags. The phone calls come in. “My Great Uncle has died. He has a huge amount of ‘excellent’ clothing. Would you like them?’ It is not good policy to turn donations down. What you really want to say is “No-o-o-o-o! And sometimes you do, telling whoever, that you are inundated (which you always are) and that the opposition shop up the High Street is ‘desperate’ for donations. There are also the other calls, as in ‘My husband died…. Would you like his worldly goods? Of course we would and a load of empathy goes with the response.
‘Men’s wear’. Sorting it requires a good sense of smell. Where I worked before there was a group of three ‘ladies who lunch’ who turned up religiously ever Wednesday morning. They called themselves ‘the crotch sniffers’. With much hilarity and good will they would work their way through a dozen or so bags, especially set aside for them, gossiping as they went, then head off to the Women’s Institute for a lunch, accompanied, I hope, by vats of vino. And then there are the pockets, which is where the gloves do come in handy. Never know what you may encounter. Amazing how many £50 notes turn up, antique watches, dog biscuits etc. It’s an endless treasure hunt, I tell you 🙂