Charity Shops & Over-Priced Records – A Message to you Doreen!

Little old Lady Who?

In recent years every little old lady has come to think that she’s a record dealer; at least that is how it appears when you’re trying to buy something halfway interesting in what the Americans call a ‘thrift store’ and the Brits call a ‘Charity Shop’.

Check your grades Granny!

Some idiot at head office gave them a copy of the Rare Record Collector but forgot to tell them about the grading system with a sliding scale of value against condition to be seen at the rear of the guide.

Why do they think that every record is in perfect condition? I know that sight fails in older age, but scratched to hell and ripped to shit are two grades even Helen Keller could have understood surely! I know I’m not being very generous of spirit, but guess what, it annoys the hell out of me. Once I was able to use this source to fund my own collecting, but no longer.

In the past

Once upon a time you could toddle off to your local town and trawl through countless Jim Reeves, Slim Whitman, My Fair Lady, Demis Roussos, Leo Sayer, Clayderman, and other musical dung heap inhabitants’ Lps to hopefully find something interesting or perhaps something you knew others wanted and you could turn a small collection enhancing profit on. However, that’s all changed.

The worst of it is, they haven’t a clue that:~

1. That Lp hasn’t sold for that sort of price since 1991

2. The Vinyl or the cover or both are not in Mint condition so it won’t ever sell for your asking price of £40; a member of the public will just laugh at the price and someone who wants it and knows it might be worth the asking price but only rarely and only in perfect condition won’t buy it… and the worst of it is the shop will probably send it to landfill when it doesn’t sell.

A Message to you Doreen (and Edith and Ethel)

All the time this prevents me and people like me from turning a slight profit and being able to use those funds to continue buying what we are really interested in elsewhere by funding our obsession with the occasional Charity Shop find and other sources.

To boot you are throwing away some rare music that would sell if only you knew what you were doing; not attempting to flog said lps on the basis of some half arsed notion of what you think it’s worth, based on misinformation in the Rare Record Collector.


The RRC has never been accurate, in fact they allude to this on the front cover, IT SAYS – GUIDE!!!!

Prices are changing every day, those Cliff Richard tunes that it said were worth £5 each in the 2010 edition aren’t worth 10p for twenty today, try selling them and you’ll find that out super quick. 60s pop has not held it’s price and it’s worth has plummeted in the last 5 years; but try telling that to the little old lady who has been told to use the guide and has priced something you might like at £4.98 over what anyone half sane would try to sell it for. And then (sorry to go back to this) when you actually do look at it, it’s not MINT and yet they’ve graded it so, having never been alerted to the rear of the book or read the intro for that matter.

The rarer find

I’ve used and tried using charity shop finds to finance my own collecting for years, but that little source has all but dried up because of the stupidity I refer to above.

Once you could find a rare Don Rendell and Ian Carr Lp for 75p and flog it for £175 to fund your Jamaican music collecting, and occasionally you might find an interesting Caribbean musical item, Amalgamated’s Jackpot of Hits and a set of Blind Blake Higgs ART Records Lps both spring to mind as past surprises, but no longer does this state of bliss exist.

Bought in help the Aged for 75p, sold for £175

Oxfam, Help The Aged, Cancer Research, are you are talking the p..s?

Every time you fall across something you know is of interest, when you check the price, you just have to try and laugh and walk away.

For example, I was in a shop in Lewes East Sussex a while back, found a Rare’ish Josh White 10″ Lp on Brunswick, with a badly ripped cover, no inner sleeve and scuff marks a plenty, expecting it to be 50p I took it to the desk.

‘That’ll be £14.99 please’, the old lady record expert vinyl dealing charity shop assistant said…. I just walked away.

What I wanted to say was ‘Don’t you realise that the market for late 50s Folk and Trad Jazz is dead, all the old geezers who once collected it are dying, all the old geezers who had a few tunes and might have sold them to the dealers and collectors are dying, the market is flooded AND this has got a really fucked up cover. Sell it to me for £1 maximum because I’m probably one of only three people who know who Josh White was in the whole of this town anyway! Josh White isn’t even ‘that’ roots, he was a bit cross-over and this Brunswick Lp is no where near as rare as the stuff he did on Melodisc. AND the RRC is way off the mark, stop reading the fucking thing!

If I had some hair I’d pull it out!

2 thoughts on “Charity Shops & Over-Priced Records – A Message to you Doreen!”

  1. BMD, I know you’re a decent chap, so I’ll go easy on you.

    Charity shops are not put on this earth to provide a cheap source of goodies for china hunters, book and record collectors or vintage clothes horses, they are there to maximise income from the donations they receive for causes which (I humbly suggest) are a little more worthwhile than expanding your record collection or providing funds so to do.

    I would agree that there are some bonkers prices put on records in such establishments, but it is obviously better to sell one record for £20 than thirty-nine for 50p and you would perhaps be surprised to know that some people are prepared to pay these prices for items that they want.

    Your views as to the stste of the record market or the relative merits of the music may be well-informed but are irrelevant when applied to the shop and the people who pass through it.

    Charity shops will store and re-introduce any product they have identified as being of worth, or rotat culled stock to another branch, so I can assure you that very little vinyl that is rare or collectable finds its way to landfill. The overpriced Josh White will probbaly have been sold somewhere – maybe not for the full £15 but in all probability for more than the pound you were prepared to pay.

    I find your comments about dying old geezers a bit tasteless and my name isn’t Ethel, Edith or Doreen either.

    Big picture Mikey…

  2. Hi Matt, nothing is more important than expanding my record collection…. nothing do you hear!!!!

    Points taken, but I still don’t (if we’re getting serious here) totally agree. Charity shops in my lowly opinion have been confusing the brand for some time now. Their core audience is not a monied Mrs or Generous Gent looking to pay full price for that second hand Chanel Jacket or Lonnie Donnegan Lp. The core audience are the poor, and the elderly poor in particular, and I believe people looking for a bargain of some sort. Some, like me.

    My point about totally inaccurate spurious grading still stands I think. If you want to be a shop selling at ‘top dollar’ then behave like one. A Record shop should grade properly and if you are charging record store prices don’t hide behind amateurish and volunteer service when you are charging ‘top whack’. Again the brand is being confused I think. I’ve worked in the charity sector as an employee and I know and appreciate the dificulties inherent.

    I know their remit is to get every last cent they can from donations and I know that stock is rotated, I made the mistake of going through the same stock (over 1000Lps!) in two UFOSA branches here on the South East Coast once. However I don’t think that there is any proof that over-priced items that the general public are unlikely to be interested in are finding happy homes, so where else would they go but landfill.

    Also, I wasn’t reffering to you (or me) as I believe it to be, you and I aren’t fully paid up members of the old geezers (dying or not) club just yet!

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