Who Screws Over A Charity Shop?!

, , , , , | Working | August 31, 2020

As a student, I lived in a flat above an antique shop and volunteered at a charity shop across the road.  

One day, someone donated some rather beautiful, old-seeming china plates to the shop. Thinking they might be worth something, we asked my landlord, the antique shop owner, if he would mind having a look at them for us and letting us know what they might be worth. He appraised them and told us we’d be lucky to get £20 for the four of them. We laughed at our wishful thinking, put them up for sale at around the price advised, and carried on with our lives.

A few weeks later, I noticed while passing the antique shop that there were four very familiar-looking plates in the window, with their total cost almost ten times more than he’d told us they were worth — certainly more than a normal mark-up. A staff member who hadn’t been there at the appraisal had sold them to him a few days after he had essentially named his price for some slightly valuable plates. Sadly, he had no comeuppance for the sleazy move he pulled, but he never went back to the charity shop after that and we never asked him for any more “help.”

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Behind Every Angry Man, Is A Long-Suffering Wife, Part 2

, , , , | Right | August 13, 2020

The charity shop where I volunteer has a strict policy that only two customers are allowed in at any given time for health reasons. While most have been understanding about this, there are always a few exceptions.

A middle-aged man walks past a queue of people waiting outside the shop and starts to enter the shop.

Me: “Sir, please could you wait outside? We’re only allowing two customers in at a time.”

Clearly seeing this as a personal slight, the man snaps.

Customer: “Where does it say that?”

His wife slapped him on the arm, pointed at the three-foot-tall sign in the window, and dragged him away. If she ever comes in without him, she’s getting my volunteer discount.

Behind Every Angry Man, Is A Long-Suffering Wife

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Mismanaging Employee Mental Health

, , , , , , | Working | July 28, 2020

I used to work for a mental health charity. My first location was amazing, but after moving home, I had to move to a store closer. Unfortunately, the manager there and her way of managing the store made my life h***, along with the customers and the lack of volunteers. Here’s just a few of the choicest things said to me during my almost-year working with her. 

After telling her I needed a Wellness Action Plan with regards to how to deal with my mental health at work, she said, “What’s that?” All managers are trained to know what a WAP is. Then, every time I brought it up, she would brush it off as she was “too busy” and say that we’d do it the next time we worked together. 

I usually wear dark, comfy clothing. When I told her I wasn’t feeling mentally great, she said, “Maybe if you wore brighter colours you’d feel better?”

She also later said something similar: “If you smile, you won’t be so depressed.”

She and her favourite volunteer — who didn’t like me very much — made constant comments about my weight and appearance, and it got so bad I would actually fake being sick on days that I worked with her so I could go home early because I simply couldn’t face working with her. 

However, I mostly worked alone. I would still have panic attacks on my way to work, though. Working alone, with a skeleton crew of volunteers, some of whom couldn’t operate the till, I had to start making the choice to close the shop for lunch or not take my break at all. After a week of this, I decided for my mental and physical wellbeing I simply could not go without my break anymore and would close for exactly one hour. People made complaints about me closing the shop; one customer, referring to my short hair and rather butch attire, called me a “ladyboy”. 

Working alone also meant that I couldn’t follow health and safety procedures as much as we were supposed to. Policy clearly stated that a person must stay on the shop floor at all times. However, when donations kept coming in, I would have to make the choice between working in the back and getting them sorted — risking shoplifters and customers’ ire — or staying on the till and letting the piles of bags get to dangerous standards.

For one day only, I made the executive decision to stop donations coming through the door at around three in the afternoon, after I faced a pile of them almost as tall as myself. It got so bad that I would almost start crying with stress every time the door opened, just in case it was someone with more donations. Of course, we all know what customers are like, and several people complained about refusing donations. Of course, charity shops rely on donations, but when it came to a fire and/or trip hazard, I felt I made the right call. 

That’s when things got even worse if you can believe it.

I was summoned, very unexpectedly, to a hearing. Put against me were accusations of closing the shop and refusing donations. I was so panicked that I didn’t make a very good defense for myself, and I spent almost three months in a state of high-strung anxiety where I was afraid I would be fired. I even contemplated suicide. I would like to remind you that this was a mental health charity shop. 

My manager, who had brought this concerns against me to the regional manager, kept acting in a sickly sweet manner, and one friend who volunteered there on a day I wasn’t in told me she overheard the manager’s favourite volunteer say, “I’d run [My Name] over if I could get her job.” 


Eventually, the second hearing came around, a friend coming with me for support. This time, I had time to prepare, and I explained my side of things: that I was working in unsafe conditions and my mental and physical health suffered when I was unable to take my break. Legally, we’re allowed twenty minutes of uninterrupted break if we work for more than six hours, and by working through my break, not only was there some sort of legal problem involved, but I also wasn’t getting paid for it. I guess they realised they could get in some trouble if they fired me on such a basis? Either way, I was given a final warning. 

However, despite a Wellness Action Plan being devised for me, my manager and her favourite volunteer — who was then hired as a Sunday manager, and was incredibly incompetent, but that’s another story! — kept making remarks about my brush with being fired.

Eventually, in November, I handed in my resignation.

I still get petty glee over leaving that job just before Christmas; my manager had planned to take holiday from mid-December until mid-January. This left the incompetent manager in charge of the shop over Christmas. “You’ve really left us in a bit of trouble here; it’s not really fair,” he said. All I said was, “Yup,” and I got back to work.

The day I left, I headed straight to the pub with friends and, even with the current health crisis making it hard to find a new job, I really, really, really, don’t regret leaving. I made some great friends from my first location and a great friend with the same mental health problem that I have at the second, and it’s also taught me that, in the future, I will not take any s*** anymore!

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Unfiltered Story #200731

, , | Unfiltered | July 16, 2020

(There’s a box of small toys, mostly in semi-see-through plastic bags (as in, I can see that there are small toys inside, but can’t easily see the quality/number/brand without taking them out of the bags), next to the counter that I’ve been sorting and pricing. I have to stop to serve a customer, when a different customer comes up and starts rooting through the box. Fair enough – usually people ask first, but honestly, we don’t mind pricing on the fly. However, in this case…)

Customer: How much is this stuff?

Me: *still counting the purchases of the other customer* It hasn’t been sorted yet, I’m not even sure what’s in there.

Customer: Well, how much is this? *holds up bag*

Me: I’m not sure, what are they?

Customer: Some kind of small toys. I have grandkids, I just want something for them to play with, how much is this stuff?

Me: I’d have to have a look at it before I could give you a price

(Keep in mind that there were quite a lot of different toys in the box, and I knew some would be worth much more than others, so I could hardly make up a price without knowing what was in the bag she was holding!)

Customer: Well, how much for the whole box?

Me: *thinks* I don’t f-ing know, I don’t even know what’s in there!

(At this point, my coworker stepped in and distracted her, so I could finally give my original (very patient and understanding) customer their change. She ended up buying the whole box of toys for £15 – I know my coworker gave that price just to get rid of her, but I wish she hadn’t, I was pretty sure I’d seen toys in there that were a really collectable brand and they might have been worth more than that. I’m sure that rude customer had seen them too, and was trying to rush me into giving her a bargain price – and sadly, it worked.)

Getting A Leg-Up On Cheating Charities

, , , | Right | June 18, 2020

I volunteer at a charity shop that acts as a discount store for the other shops the charity runs. Basically, anything that doesn’t sell eventually comes to our store where we sell them for £1. 

Per UK law, shops do not have to give money back for unwanted items. The law only insists on returns for faulty goods, but many stores have a returns policy for unwanted items. We, however, do not.

Customer: “Hi. I bought these trousers the other day, and they are the wrong size. I’d like to exchange them.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t do exchanges.”

Customer: “What? But they are the wrong size, they are not a thirty-two leg!”

I look at the trousers and check.

Me: “It does say here, and here—” *Points* “—that they are a thirty-two leg. However, they’re three-quarter-length trousers; maybe that’s why you’re having problems with them?”

Customer: “They’re not a  thirty-two leg!”

At this point, I take out a tape measure and check.

Me: “Yes, they’re a thirty-two. I’m sorry, but I can’t return these.”

He glares at me and goes to the men’s section. He returns with another pair of trousers.

Customer: “Can I exchange them for these?”

Me: “I’m sorry, but no. If you’d like those, they are £1.”

Customer: “So, you’re cheating me out of £2?!”

Me: “No, sir, but that is the price. Did you try them on before you bought them? We do have a changing room.”

Customer: “I shouldn’t need to try them on!”

He takes £1 from his pocket and slams it on the counter.

Customer: “I know you’re a charity, but I can’t believe you’re cheating me! I won’t come back here again!”

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