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French High Street charity shops?


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It seems a pity that there is an apparent dearth of charity shops in France; not Emmaüs which is rather different, but those run by the big charities etc. This, imnvho is a loss to the country. In smaller towns it would fill up empty shops in the Main Street and provide a space where goods are sold seriously rather than being dumped in piles.

Does France not need these shops, is it a question of pride, taxation or what?

Any thoughts guys?
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Within an hour or so drive of me every single brocante and troc shop has gone to the wall. Every now and then someone tries to open a new one, lasts for a few months and closes. I guess there just isnt a market for piles of manky old plates, incomplete sets of Ricard promotional glasses, massively heavy imposing old furniture that doesnt fit in modern houses, CRT tvs, piles of foosty old books and the occasional filth-encrusted kitchen appliance.

Given the outrageous price of running a business here....rent, utilities, wages and the crazy taxes, I guess its hard to make the books balance for a couple running a brocante out of an industrial unit and having an average turnover of maybe a few quid a day.

On the other hand, glossy Cash Converters type pawn shops seem to be doing well selling obsolete laptops for the price of a new one from Conforama, flatscreen tellys and countless numbers of mobile phones. Probably because they make it their business to buy them for a fraction of their worth from people hard up financially and make then believe its a good deal, then convince people slightly better off financially but maybe not well off enough to buy new stuff that its a good deal to buy used for almost new prices.....its a marketing dream.

I just dont see charity shops being economically feasible in any way at all.
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I think Dave sums it up really. Charity shops are totally unfeasible in France. The depot vente type shops are just ridiculous in terms of what they sell and the prices they sell them at. Their stuff should be given away to people who need it. It has no value.

We buy DVDs from cashconverters. A DVD usually costs around 1 euro at cash converters and to rent the same on Itunes (for example) costs 5 euros. I don't know how that fits into this discussion.

But, their secondhand tech stuff is priced for very stupid people. But very stupid people do buy it. !!!!!
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A charity shop opened a year or so ago near to us and it seems to be doing well. Everything is clean, sorted into various departments and is sold at very low prices. It's only open on two days a week, but there are always lots of people there. https://www.ouest-france.fr/pays-de-la-loire/soullans-85300/soullans-ils-ont-cree-une-ecocyclerie-associative-4588665

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Exactly what Dave says re the depot de ventes around here, always opening and going bust, you would think people would realise that its so last century and have more imagination, dont get me wrong I miss them but each one that opens becomes a personal Financial disaster for the owners and their families who are the guarantors, and thats gets a bit closer to explaining why so many obviously non viable businesses open and then go bust.

 

The banks have one sole aim, to lend money to good risks and by doing so leverage more non existant money to make further loans with, the seed capital for this is the funds of you and I which if we are Lucky might bring in 0.1% but can be lent at 10% and generate further ethereal money to lend.

 

But how could a brocante or another equally unviable business be a safe risk for a lender? It isn't and the banks dont give a 4X in fact they want them to fail so that another muppet can come along and borrow money to commit Financial hari-kari, they have the extended family on the hook as guarantors, the business plan etc is just a hook to lend money which is their raison d'être.

 

Same story for the cash convertor shops be they in the UK or here, they dont give a monkeys for the stuff they have in the window, behind each piece of tat is some unfortunate who has borrowed money against it at an usurious rate.

 

The charity shops that do do well are those supported by massive subventions with a much more altruistic intention of réinsertion, we have one like that here where I buy furniture to give a scabby chick re-looking so that a future generation can strip off all the hideous chalk paint (super cheap in Action) and say "can you believe some [email protected] in the noughties (that would be me) could deface this lovely dark hardwood piece of furniture in such a way

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For a charity shop to do well or even make a small profit to benefit the charity, people have to donate their unwanted goods for nothing. From what I see for sale at brocants and "LebonCoin" giving second-hand things away for free isn't in the French culture. They seem to think that because they have used and abused an article for 20 years it's worth more than they paid for it

In the part of England we live in; charity shops get rates allowances and are overwhelmed with donations.It's possible to find great bargains occasionally.
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Nick said <>

We give English lessons at our local branch of AVF. One week with tge bestter group we based it on the National Trust, having visited Badildon Park and picked up various leaflets.

They were all very iinterested but none of them could understand why anyone should give away their land and/or property, in fact they were almost speechless.

As part of the lesson we discussed French buildings that have been left to rot away as either family members couldn’t be traced or couldn’t agree on what to do with it.

Occasionally somebody still brings the subject up, asks if we’ve visited ‘one of those big houses that owners give away’, as one put it a few weeks ago.
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The Emmaus and the other réinsertion ones around here I make regular donations to but in all that time I have never seen a single other person give a single thing, once I crossed the deputé there and he had his usual press entourage with him, he said "hello boy!" to me in English and we exchanged pleasanteries then the newspaper people wanted to take my photo and have the story of what I was donating and why, I refused saying charitable donations and acts should be private and personal but I could clearly see that someone actually giving them something was a front page event [:(]

 

They both have several vehicles out most of the week doing house clearances, it would appear that people use them to clear out rather than go to the dechetterie which explains why they have so much old tat, the majority of what they collect just goes straight out again as recycling.

 

OTOH when I visit the big Emmaus at Amiens metropole there is a constant Stream of people donating quite good stuff and they have a lot of new old stock probably from bankruptcies etc, once again I get the impression that most stuff does not even make it to their shelves, they have an English (and German/Spanish etc) book section, the same old books stay there for ages but sometimes I find some good reads, not cheap but it is a proper charity so I dont mind, I gave them several boxes of my old English language books, marked up as they instructed me, they never made their way to the shelf so must have just been sold for recycling like most of their stuff.

 

 

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Even in the UK, charity shops do not always work and many close, probably too many on High Streets.

No wonder there are so many empty shops.........what do you want with so many out of town shopping centres and the internet taking the business.

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I reckon that charity shops are an essentially British concept, and there is no reason why one should expect to find them in France.

I confess  I am tired of people thinking that they are living in a suburb of the UK.

If one lived in a more obviously different country from the UK than  France is, somewhere rather more exotic such as Tibet would people be complaining about the fact that things are different?

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Whether charity or otherwise, I can see why so many shops go bust and then stand empty in France.

My French friends are somewhat flabbergasted that I am able, twice a year, to take part in a popup shop in a large shopping centre near me. I've been doing it for about six years now. A collective of around 13 of us were offered the chance by the landlords' managing agents and this has continued even after a change of landlord. There are usually 2-3 popups on the go in the centre over Christmas, giving local makers and craftspeople a chance to sell their goods.

We pay the princely sum of £40 each for the duration of the shop (usually around six weeks) and there's a benefit to the landlord in terms of council tax breaks. Over the time we've been doing this, the £40 has more than covered the rental, electricity and all other overheads: packaging, stationery, shop sign, advertising flyers....and we've got a fair surplus in the kitty for contingencies.

Compare that to a friend of mine in our French village who wanted to try a similar thing in the run-up to Christmas. There's a shop unit in the village centre which has housed about 5 different and equally unsuccessful businesses over the years. It's currently empty, and my friend looked into renting it for a month to sell his handmade wooden items, and potentially to invite a few others to share space and costs. Our village has no through traffic and it's a bit off the beaten track to all but locals. They wanted €500 a month for the rent.

ETA: Clearly, the charity shops such as Emmaus which do exist in France have some attraction. Ours is vast, and on the days it's open (throughout the year) the car park is usually full to bursting. And never go on a rainy day in the summer...the queues stretch back out of the door!
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Two paragraphs describing France Betty. We all know what France is like. It won't change. And people want to move here ???

We have been going every year to Alpe du Huez skiing (and summer) for the last 20 years +++.

The game when you arrive each year is 'spot the new shop'. Every year there will be new shops. I have seen over the years every type of shop you can think of trying to earn a living.

Come April all the 'new' shops will be closed and will have gone out of business and next year their will be new shops occupying the same premises and the game starts again. 99.99999999 % never survive.

I would rather own the 'walls' than run a business in a ski resort. Or elsewhere I guess.

The only businesses that survive are the ones that own the 'walls'. Or the businesses that 'rent' out the walls. Running a business whilst renting will never work.

Go on le bon coin in the summer for shops to 'rent' in a Ski resort. You will be amazed.

Me, I am going to buy a shop in a ski resort and rent it out.

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Ba humbug wrote:

I reckon that charity shops are an essentially British concept, and there is no reason why one should expect to find them in France.

I confess I am tired of people thinking that they are living in a suburb of the UK.

If one lived in a more obviously different country from the UK than France is, somewhere rather more exotic such as Tibet would people be complaining about the fact that things are different?

Nobody has said that they think they are living in a UK suburb. All that has been asked is why doesn't that system work in France. Some people, who aren't constantly trying to be "more French" than anybody else, or are having a constant grumpy attack, have offered comments and thoughts on the subject.
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I have edited a post on this thread.

Will posters please remember not to use personal insults on this forum.

Many years ago I saw a very efficient charity shop in the USA. People could make donations which were tax deductible and the charity employed people with problems to wash , iron and sort things into categories. It all appeared to work very well.
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[quote user="NormanH"]I reckon that charity shops are an essentially British concept, and there is no reason why one should expect to find them in France.
I confess  I am tired of people thinking that they are living in a suburb of the UK.

If one lived in a more obviously different country from the UK than  France is, somewhere rather more exotic such as Tibet would people be complaining about the fact that things are different?
[/quote]

 

One would not want to live in Tibet unless Sky was broadcast there [:D]

 

Emmaus works well in the UK, well Dover actually!

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[quote user="Chancer"]

 Emmaus works well in the UK, well Dover actually![/quote]

Try as I may, I find it impossible to ever pronounce Emmaüs accurately enough for any French person to have any inklin as to what it is I'm saying. 

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Mrs Richards rote:

Quite obvious that this post by NickP is purely a personal attack. Disgusting. Hopefully will be removed. Have reported it. (comment to avoid any speculation).

NickP wrote Ahh bless did that make you feel better
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Do you have an annual Gratifaria in your French region.?We do and I think they're a fantastic idea. Our Gratifaria is organised by local Red Cross and local volunteers who invite people to bring their unwanted items. These can be books, household items, clothing etc. Items are arranged in different sections, usually displayed on the ground. Anyone can deposit items and anyone can take away what they want free of charge.. I've taken loads of unwanted things and found one or two treasures to take home . Most stuff gets taken on the day, any leftovers go to Red Cross shop (yes they have one at the office) or items go to Emmaus.
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