for sale!" comes the reply. The shop's most expensive teddy is only
£3, so I offer them a tenner for the one I want. "It's not for sale!"
I'm told again. "But can't you use one of the other bears for dis-
play?" I again venture. "No!" I'm told.
all week. In short, over the course of several days, I speak to assistant
managers, managers, supervisors at head office, blah, blah, blah, and ask
why it's so bloody difficult to purchase a teddy from them and swell their
coffers by a tenner - more than three times the amount they're asking
for one of Ted's even bigger-sized pals. This is what I'm told:
believe this cr*p? Not trained to take one ted from a shelf at the back
of the shop and swap it for one near the front? Gimme a break.)
into the shop." (Fine, but what's the point of enticing them in if you're
then going to refuse to sell them the very item that caught their atten-
tion and which they want to buy? Isn't the raison d'etre of the
charity to raise money?)
quests." (I pass this shop practically every day. It's in a remote corner
of the shopping centre and as quiet as the tomb. I don't think I've ever
seen more than two customers in the place since it opened last year,
and the staff sit around looking bored for most of the time.)
to do it for everyone." (Well, then it wouldn't be an exception, would
it? But we'll let that loopy lapse in logic pass.) I thought it was their pol-
icy to raise money for charity, by selling items that people donate for that
very purpose - not to try and win the 'window display of the year' award
and deter folks from spending cash by refusing to take it from them
in exchange for that which they wish to purchase.)
ation. They're turning money away, instead of grabbing it and
saying: "Thanks very much, do call again!" Their mission should be to
sell everything they've got as quickly as possible, and then replenish their
displays from fresh donations - not say "I can't sell you the item you want
because it'll mess up our display and we'll have to start again." No, we
can't have them inconvenienced, can we? That would never do.
Not even when some cold, hard cash is at stake.
Charities are run (so I've
always thought) to benefit
the recipients of said
charities, not the organisers,
and the best way to facilitate
that is to (in the words of the
song) "keep the customer sat-
isfied", not alienate them by
implementing and enforcing
ludicrous dictats. They're
there to make money for the
less fortunate, not refuse it
on the grounds that moving
one soft toy into the position
of another is "against policy'"
or is beyond the abilities (or
inclination) of the staff.
In the end, I got Ted, who now sits proudly in the living room of the
person for whom he was purchased. I also bought the other one (which
likewise went to a good home), thereby adding £13 to the charity's funds.
Cash I had to practically force on them by kicking up a fuss and reminding
them that such places exist to help others less fortunate, not to fulfill the
ambitions of those who want to rule over their own private fiefdoms in
a self-indulgent attempt to satisfy their feelings of self-importance.
(Incidentally, I should perhaps add that I had previously seen items in
the window with 'sold' signs on them, and I subsequently discovered that
display items could be sold, but had to remain in the window display until
it was changed, which was usually every fortnight. The shop still operates
this way today, so why I was never told that I could pay for Ted and
collect him later at the end of his service remains a mystery.)