Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Prime of a Charity Shop Owner

Miss Rhoda Mackensie was a lady who prided herself on the quality of her goods. They had to be neat and clean and if they were particularly old they required the air of an "antique". China was always welcome, but must be truly fine, no chips and no old pieces from the supermarket. The literature had to be good quality too, no trashy novels and she prized old dusty hardbacks. The only things that she liked dusty were the old books but she dusted them thoroughly anyway.

On this particular September morning, she arose early, made tea and surveyed the quantity of bin liners that had arrived yesterday following a family leaving town. She was resigned to sorting through the detritus of people's lives, sifting out the rubbish and the unsellable. There was nothing so unlikeable as the notion that a Charity shop was a dumping ground for the clutter of the masses. However, there was enormous satisfaction in un-earthing a treasure, that could be cleaned and polished if necessary and then displayed to best advantage. Just last week, a lady had left half a dozen bin liners and buried in the depths of one, was a beautiful antique mirror that only required some dusting and polishing. It sold that very day.

Glancing at the display cabinet towards the back of the shop, she sighed. Yesterday the set of Wedgewood had so nearly sold, except for the fact that Mrs Smith, a volunteer in her 70s had dropped the teapot of the set behind the counter smashing it just before the customer paid. The lady had flounced out the shop highly indignant and Mrs Smith had succombed to hysterics, calming down only after multiple cups of tea had been made and consumed. Charity shop volunteers of course were never sacked. Perhaps the set should be separated out, and someone might choose to buy only the plates. Or perhaps I might buy the tea-cups myself, Miss Mackensie thought to herself. She finished her cup of tea taking careful sips.

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