The Spine of SCT:The Charity shops

The Spine of SCT: The Charity shops …

You open the door. A shop. But not just any shop, but an SCT charity shop.

I’ve worked here for nine years and I never get bored, I can honestly say I love my job; every day is different. Illeana, SCT Charity Shop Manager.

You look around and you find books, kitchen items and buggies. All of which are found amongst a wide array of other items  ‘swallowed’ by the masses of clothes, enough clothes to dress the population of a sizeable village.

The SCT charity shops are the breadwinner parent of the charity, keeping the family together.

The family consists of the regular customers coming in for the same purchases twice a week - the familiar record playing. Above all they are the hardworking backbone of the charity. The fuel to the SCT engine.

I put myself temporarily in the shoes of the shop workers. This strengthened thoughts I already had.  Retail is not for me. The type of meticulous attention to detail and the repetitive tasks require a particular type of patience. I can honestly say I am awestruck with the amount of passion and commitment in the work done across the shops.

In my visit to the shops I could see there was a structure to the daily routine of the shops. The mornings were busy, a very fast paced atmosphere and lots of donations. The afternoon was a bit quieter but still lots to do.

I am motivated by the charities aims and I like the customer service at this store. Everyone who works here is efficient and attentive. SCT Charity Shop Customer.

There is always one person at the till greeting the customers and taking the sales. But most of the work is actually done behind the scenes, the back of the shop. Here you find two sometimes three people (both staff and volunteer members) sorting through the donations.

I could tell you about the bestsellers or the contents inside the donations bag and how they are sorted through. But instead I’ll mention the regular customer and his adorable dog who runs to the same pile of toys everyday - with the same amount of enthusiasm as two long distance lovers running towards each other after months apart. 

You find the quirky customers, the new customers and the regulars. The customer who donated hundreds of pounds worth of gold and pearl jewellery belonging to his dying Mother because she wanted to give selflessly. All satisfied, all keen to donate.

There was one time a lady came in with her child in a buggy, but I didn’t notice the child and since we sell so many buggies and the shop was particularly busy that day I made a mistake. It’s funny looking back now but I basically almost sold the buggy without noticing the child. Needless to say the mother wasn’t happy but the staff still laughs about it to this day. SCT charity shop worker.

Behind every personality I noticed the same response to the shop workers. A resounding positive one. It’s no surprise that each of the shops have loyal customers. Even if sometimes accidents do occur

One of the regular customers at the shops was saying how lovely our staff are because they give you time and they are so busy, but the fact they still give people time. You don’t get that in other jobs. Katie, SCT Deputy Retail Manager.

Amongst the staff, you can find those who have given back for so long like long-standing Volunteer Michael. This charismatic man drew me in with his love for books and told me all about publishing. Katie says “he is part of the furniture.”

I was left curious about what motivates people to work and volunteer here. I wasn’t surprised to discover the reasons were mostly humble and generous.

You wouldn’t work in an often straining place unless you really believe in the missions behind the charity you’re representing. I work here because knowing that I am helping really adds positivity to my life. SCT Shop Volunteer.

The SCT Charity shops are a world in themselves.

Generosity above everything.

The Spine of SCT.

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Written by Madalena Caldas, SCT Communications Intern.

Thanks to Kim Cunningham for the image.

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