Retail Guru Disses Thrift Shop

June 26, 2009 at 9:48 am | Posted in News | Leave a comment

mary-portasOn last week’s episode of her Mary Queen of Shops TV show, self-proclaimed retail expert Mary Portas (depicted at left) insulted charity shops, the British version of thrift shops. In that episode, Portas visited an Oxfam shop — with over 700 establishments, Oxfam is the UK’s biggest charity-shop chain — and called its merchandise “smelly.” Outraged at this defamation, the manager of another charity shop is now challenging Portas to change her opinion.

Pamela Mandel, who runs the Children’s Trust charity shop in the Thames Riverside town of Chertsey, told the Surrey Herald:

“I was horrified that Mary Queen of Shops could tar all charity shops with the same brush. We spend hours on our window display, colour co-ordinating it and making the shop look good. We also get some really good quality items here which we can sell for much less than they would go for in other shops and some of them are unused. We have staff here aged 15 to 70 and I would challenge Mary Portas to come and see this shop and hopefully we can change her opinion on charity shops and show her they’re not all the same. If she had some constructive criticism for us then I would certainly take on board her advice, but I think we can really prove to her that a lot of charity shops deserve their place on the high street and are just as good as other stores.”

That being said, Portas has helped charity shops in the past. Among other efforts, she played a key role earlier this month in establishing London’s Living and Giving Charity Shop, whose proceeds aid Save the Children.

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