I work for the Cats Protection Charity as a retail Shop Manager and a day ago I wrote a piece on one of our main core functions which is the receipt of donations and sorting through each to find preloved treasures; below are my thoughts and feelings on this core process for our Retail newsletter.
One of the most important functions in our Retail Shops is receiving donations and of course sorting through items we have received in the hope we may find preloved items that will help us achieve our weekly budgets. We go through each bag like Magpies looking at the items that Sparkle or Shine hoping to find precious stone or metal. We identify the brands that might help us make the most, sifting through the items to disregard or recycle in the hope that one day something might walk into our shop that could be the treasure of treasures to add those millions to the Cats Protection Bank Balance. However, for me sorting can mean something a little more at times and I find it can also bring a tear to the eye. Let us talk about end of life donations and house clearances as these are one of the most important donations to receive especially when the person who has passed has given explicit instructions to donate to us as a Charity.
I am the type of person who looks a lot deeper into the work that I do coming from a Documentary Degree background. I have always looked beyond and in some circumstances when you are sorting through donations I find you can get a real sense of a person. One particular occasion springs to mind is when I opened a donation which contained a Cancer Patient Record which showed a list of appointments and books on finding hope, searching for answers and seeking god in their path it was heart breaking to say the least. I think it is important to remember in retail we can become less sensitive to our core functions but always remember each item was treasured and loved at one time. I am currently collecting items that signify as a personal treasure from donations we receive and those that are found by others and I wanted to share with you one letter that I have found tucked safely inside a handbag which must have been the donors favourite as such a special letter would never have been far out of her reach. So well loved and now lost forever to the people that it meant so much to has now travelled all the way into my hands in Cardiff from Stockport in 1964 and was written on the eve of her Daughter’s Wedding day…
Just to say Thank You for all you’ve done, not only for this big day but all my life.
No Mother could have done more, especially with the hardship you’ve had.
I only hope that when my children come along I shall be half as good.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
This letter moved me to the core and I wanted to spend a moment to write this little piece and to share in the hope that the next time you do one of the most basic functions you can see what I see and that is ‘a real person’ not just an item of clothing or a piece of Jewellery.
I am in the process of collecting items from finds in Charity Shops which portray little moments of life found hidden within donations to Charity. If anyone might find such items please do not hesitate to get in touch.