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Shopping for social justice should never go out of fashion

Apologies for failing to blog last week, I was on holiday in Peterborough.

This isn’t me going over the top in terms of budget vacations in 2009 as I was actually supposed to be in Strasbourg, unfortunately three days before i was due to go someone made off with that little red book they like you to have when you’re leaving the country and I was confined to Blightly and a trip to my local passport office.

But I do thank the person who kindly relieved me of my passport last week and neccisitated the trip down the A1 to city famous from being ummm…(thinks)…. Keith from the Progidy’s birthplace.

For whilst Strasbourg has one of the two European Parliament buildings, the European Court of Human Rights and a colourful history in which it’s been transferred (between France and Germany) more times than a naughty school boy, it is undoubtedly lacking one type of builiding that North Cambridgeshire’s biggest city has.

This is of course an Oxfam shop.

Wait sorry wrong blog.

This is of course a Save the Children shop.

Anyway being the super sleuth that I am, I took the opportunity while in Peterborough to check out our own Nottingham’s store retail sister.

Alas I wasn’t alas brave enough to make my mission known to the volunteers because I couldn’t quite imagine the right way of asking them as I figured the conversation may have gone something like this.

Me “Hi”,

Save the Children volunteer Peterborough “Hi, can I help you”

“Not really I’m just comparing your Save the Children shop with mine in Nottingham, oh and by the way, I might write about you in my blog next week”

“I see, look don’t take it personally love, but I think I shoud probably call the police now”

So I did some hardcore browsing and left without revealing my identity.

I did however learn something in the process and have two other rather more important somethings reinforced.

1- That the front of all Save the Children shops are not all blue. I unfortunately now though have slight colour envy and want to make a request for Nottingham’s to be re-painted ‘Peterborough’ orange as soon as funding is available.

2- That no matter where you are in the country, there is no such thing as a typical Save the Children shopper. Indeed if I was to try to describe such an individual I’d probably say they are either male or female, between four foot and eight foot tall, over four and less than hundred and four, wearing everything from suits to scuba diving equipment (well sometimes the Trent does flood really badly).

3- That no matter where you are in country, there is no such things as a typical Save the Children volunteer. I’ve worked with people younger  and older than me, I’ve worked with people who’ve lived in Nottingham their whole lives and those who have only just recently moved to the UK I’ve even worked the most ostracised members of society, Notts County fans.

I’m pleased to see Save the Children doing something about the situation in the UK and would hope that I can find some agreement that our retail outlets have a huge part to play.

In providing cheap options for families feeling the pinch, in reminding people that when times are hard we don’t to swap our values in the drive for frugality and in giving those who have come out of work the chance to get back on their feet by volunteering.

I touched on this with my ode to Omar the other week but there is no doubt to me that charity shops represent a very special space within a shopping centre. Several square feet of social justice, where we can live up to the ideals that most of us commit to and try to live up to.

Even in the hardest of economic times, shopping for social justice should never go out of fashion.

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