It has already been noted that charities, which provide much-needed support for the indigent and the vulnerable, are facing troubles of their own. Charities, like many other oraganizations and companies, have lost money because of the recent financial crisis. Given the strained financial situation, many people are less willing and less generous in giving money to charities. So in times when charities are needed more than ever, they have to cut their operations.
I am wondering if there will be fewer charity shops on the high street over the next few years. This may seem rather counter-intuitive, since in these harsh times, charity shops should flourish. More people will be wanting to buy things more cheaply. More and more business will go bust, therefore more empty retail units will become available: better a charity shop than remaining shops unoccupied. However, charity shops depend on donations for their stock. In more prosperous times, donating money and things to charities was seen as a virtuous thing to do. Virtue gains you social credit and standing: generosity and caring about others were good. Naturally it was partly a means of assuaging one’s guilt in being comparatively affluent and able to lead a more comfortable life than others in the community. However there seems to be a shift in morals and what actions are considered virtuous. Thriftiness is the new virtue: counting and saving pennies are virtuous things to do now. So instead of donating old clothes and books to charity shops, people may offer them on eBay or sell them in carboot sales. Every penny counts. In short, supply will dry up for the charity shops. And without donated stock, there won’t be much that consumers want in the charity shops.