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I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Sweet charity: who`d haggle?

Charity shops.

Some people moan about how many there are these days. But one thing`s for certain; they`re providing vital revenue for people, places and animals in need. And usually, a bargain for buyers.

So I was a bit surprised, and rather sad at a shop in Ludlow today, to hear two men haggling over the price of goods they wanted. One was after a decent suit, priced at £15. Another had been testing some binoculars. His offer got turned down. But the suit man, who asked more than once for a discount, eventually got the requested fiver knocked off his new whistle. He then turned round conspiratorially to me and said: `I never pay full price for anything.`

I was so embarrassed, I paid for the map I`d chosen. And then put the same amount in the collecting tin on the counter to make up for Mr Haggle`s shortfall.

And OK, haggling`s fair game in some places. Moroccan souks, for sure. Forecourts full of shiny new motors, maybe. But in charity shops, every penny counts. So when shelves are already full of low priced items and most staff are volunteers, isn`t haggling just a bit, well....mean?

It certainly surprised Amanda Evans when she started at the Shropshire Cat Rescue shop in Shrewsbury, one of two county shops the charity runs.

`I was amazed to see people asking for money off an item which was being sold for £1.50 or £1,`she said.
`But it happens every week, really and you get used to it. I still roll my eyes a bit sometimes, after the person`s left !`.

Shirley McCann is retail manager for Hope House Children`s Respite Hospice.

`Haggling`s not that common,` she told me.` But it does occur. We price goods according to what we think they`re worth.  If someone asks to pay less, we discuss it, hopefully over a bit of banter, and ultimately it`s down to the manager`s discretion. If the item is already priced low, then staff will stick to their guns.`

`People very kindly donate goods to us, to support the hospice,` she said, ` and we want to get a fair price for those items.`

So where do YOU draw the line? Is haggling just second nature for you, wherever you`re shopping? And if you`re in a charity shop, and you know you`re picking up a bargain--how often do you drop a couple of extra quid in the collecting tin on the counter, as a thankyou? I`d love to hear what you think--whether you`re a charity shop bargain hunter, or one of the army of volunteers behind the counter
Add a comment below, email , or tweet @janemcintyre12 . Thankyou!

Framed, cross stitch sampler (a charity shop gift for me today from my daughter)

ps. Like this? Try this! 

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