Monday, June 22, 2009

Tulagi Hotel

I now have my new copy of Tulagi Hotel and I am looking forward to reading it again. One of my favourite holiday reads from last year I recommend it to you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mary Queen of nonsense

Okay - so I am probably the most infrequent blogger - note to self, must do better.

But......I have been moved to write! Maybe its just me but am I the only one who thinks Mary Porter "Queen of Charity Shops" has completely missed the point?

Here attempts to re position charity shops as some kind of rival to other high street fashion retailers are misguided and her attitude to the gentle people who volunteer their time to help at the outlets is nothing short of insulting. Charity shops - or Op shops as I knew them in Australia - are glorious institutions that are testament to our better nature. They thrive and rely on the good will and generosity of those who volunteer there, shop there, and offer very low rents to them. All of that is lost if you try to turn them into some kind of fashion emporium full of pushy sales assistants, and lacking in some of the kitsch and tatty bargains that are their stock in trade.

If you put them up against high street retailers you will be abandoning the things that they stand for and by attracting direct competition from those retailers who will win on their own patch - make no mistake.

Denigrating what people donate demonstrates Mary's limited views (take a look at yourself my dear before you criticise other peoples taste) and her demand for a more business like approach from staff is completely undermined when she demonstrates a complete lack of the basics of people management in the way she deals with people in the shop.

Sure they have their problems and maybe some people do use them as a dumping ground, but that is no excuse for such rude and misguided approaches. The idea that the average volunteer in a charity shop needs to recognise a Ferragamo bag and know its retail value is absurd. How many will they get – not many; how many people expect to find one in a charity shop - not many; and fortunately the people that generally underpin the down and dirty charity work are not the shallow brand seduced and obsessed people that Mary clearly is and seems to want to attract.

Sorry Mary you got it wrong wrong wrong, and shame on Save the Children for letting her do it.