Sunday, 8 April 2012

Three: not the magic number

Before I launch into my grumbles, Happy Easter.

Happy? I'm going to grumble at you anyway.

I like tea sets. I like nice china. I do not like it when people split up perfectly good tea sets that could go to a home with someone who'll painstakingly collect the rest of the set. (I was very pleased at last week's Secret Tea Party to see Missalyz had tracked down some cups and saucers to go with a teapot she already owned, it's fantastic to see things coming together instead of being split.)

There's one charity shop in my home town that gets nice tea sets in. It used to sell them whole, for a reasonable price. Not any more. Now they have a glass case, with trios (cup, saucer, tea plate) for sale. And a trio costs about £12, or more than half of what they used to charge for a whole set. I thought perhaps this was just one chain getting funny ideas, but in Bath I found one in a different chain doing something similar... but charging £20 per trio. TWENTY POUNDS. Splitting up a beautiful set and charging really silly prices. I can get more pieces than that, in a tasteful gift box, complete with sweeties, from Mrs Stokes, for a little more that.)

They seem to be slapping the same prices on everything from any old tea set, but still sell things like pressed glass cake stands for £1.50 so they don't seem to know the market prices for tea ware in general. I bought a cake stand from my local one, and mentioned that I was thinking of doing an afternoon tea for my workmates, and the lady behind the counter said "We have some very nice teacups." I simply said that they were too expensive for me, and from her expression I guess a lot of other people had already expressed their views rather more strongly. It wasn't her fault, the order probably came down from some central organising person who doesn't actually speak to the people who use their shops. I can't help thinking it will have an adverse effect on donations; Trow is a very working class place where people simply aren't prepared to pay Bath/ Frome prices, and either people will believe they can get more for their china if they sell it themselves or, if they're keen to donate, they'll take it to somewhere they feel doesn't overcharge people.

Anyway, I still know somewhere - a dealer, not a charity, ironically enough - that sells whole/part dinner and tea sets at reasonable prices. I think I shall keep looking there for a nice set of tea cups.

(Photo: some of the china used at one of Mrs Stokes' tea parties. See how pretty it is all together. DO YOU SEE HOW PRETTY IT IS ALL TOGETHER, CHARITY SHOPS?)

6 comments :

  1. It is annoying how they have started to do that. I suppose it is all the rage in interiors magazines right now so they have jumped on the bandwagon...

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  2. I find it incredibly frustrating when they try to value things by trend, but get it so wrong. One chazza in Ruislip has been trying to sell an Eternal Beaux (ie 10 year old Argos) set for their standard price- more than it cost new. Mind you, they always sell their Denby and RW sets...because they charge the same fricken price!! Idiotic!

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  3. In a way I don't blame them for trying to make as much as possible however they are just WAY overpriced and in reality are making less as no one is buying. I've seen things on ebay cheaper than at a charity shop, silly!

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  4. I've seen this is some of our local shops too, most frustrating! X

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  5. I still haven't got over Oxfam in Bath trying to sell a faded black (but good label) cardigan I donated for £40!

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  6. Perdita, I've always been tempted by Eternal Beau - when it came out in the 80s I really thought it was the height of sophistication. That or the black octagonal stuff they had in the Argos catalogue. (I think my husbeast still craves a black octagonal set!)

    Straight Talking Mama, I agree that the charity shops do deserve to make their money, rather than people simply buying stuff cheaply off them and putting it on eBay. I wish they'd make it an option to buy the whole set - perhaps put one trio out with a note saying , "Trio £12, whole set - xx pieces - £xx." And I suppose it does stop people buying the poor things and smashing them up for mosaics, which always fills me with horror.

    Rhian: *Speechless*

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