Monday, 1 December 2014

Secret confessions of a charity shop volunteer...

Pssst! It's me! Have you ever tried to photograph yourself wearing a cowl whilst trying not to get your 'just woken up' face in? Well if you have, it probably looks something like the above photo!

I was really pleased with this quick and easy cowl. Pattern in Simply Crochet fairly recently. It was cheap and cheerful too. Less than £4. It's very warm despite being done in v stitch. I used a basic aran weight wool (Boyes own) which has a lovely light and airy feel, with a bit of give, perfect for this project.

It looks nicer when not worn like you want to hold a bank up!

I've drafted several blog entries since I started working at a charity shop. They all end up mentioning unmentionable type things. If I write about any one particular day it will have references to things which would make you question why I'm still there!

I'll give you an example, or two. A cute kid of about eight years old, pushes an overloaded pushchair to the shop door and politely asks if we would like some donations. He's a little grubby and the pushchair is a little grubby. Alarm bells should have been clanging in my head. I thank him as we unload the last of the black sacks and bits and bobs. The donations go straight through to the back of the shop, but hang on, a smell is following me through. It seems to be the smell of human wee. (I make a distinction between human and cat here because we've already been there with the cat variety). Sure enough, upon opening a bag of baby shoes the stench of human p*** hits me full on. Oops. Maybe some little kid was caught short (here's a handy carrier bag full of baby shoes I can pee into!) I try the second bag.... I don some rubber gloves and shoot the entire lot into our mini skip of a bin.

I did a local delivery today. A lovely old man, a regular. He speaks with a very hoarse voice. He helped me unload the car and we lifted the cabinet into his flat (ground floor thank goodness). I'm not sure how he could see where he was going with the grey fug that hung in the air (cigarette smoke). I got back to the car and it took me half an hour to stop coughing.

On the plus side I sold a pink Christmas tree to a young woman who was debating whether to part with five whole pounds for it, when I asked if she would like to see it lit up (it had pre fitted lights). 'Its got lights on it?' She was beside herself with excitement. I got out our demo batteries and fitted them and sure enough it all lit up and she clapped her hands together and said it was the best tree she'd ever seen. Sold.

A small boy of about five or six, with the filthiest face and shirt I've seen since I last saw the film version of Oliver, purchased a 10p matchbox truck. He said something like, 'Ine gunna drive one when Ine bigga!' Yeah and you'll probably be one of those filthy devils who pee into a coke bottle and chuck it out of the window!

A man came in and purchased an electric can opener. He looked around and realised he was the only customer and decided to be chatty. His opening line was, 'I've just got out of prison, yeah, two days ago, actually, yeah, I got fifteen years, yeah, I done ten though, yeah.' Was it wrong of me to wish we had a panic button at this stage of the conversation?


  1. Hi Juanita! Wow, you deserve a medal after each day at work!!! I don't know how you manage!!! Thanks for sharing these insightful episodes. On the other hand, you might be the friendly face who brightens up someone's day. I'm thinking of elderly people who don't get to go out much...
    Your cowl looks great, an easy stitch, but with a very graphic effect. :) Well done! :)
    Have a good week!!!
    Ingrid xx

  2. That is quite some world you have moved into there!

  3. You make it sound so funny. The panic button might be a good idea though. Love the cowl.

  4. Ah, you remind me of my days working in a grocery store on the bad side of town. Such delightful memories... :)