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8 or so bees in my bonnet

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oxfam book repository [Jun. 3rd, 2005|07:24 pm]
8 or so bees in my bonnet
[music |aimee mann-last remains of the dodo]

> Details of sender.x = 17
> Details of sender.y = 14
> a_Title = mr
> b_Firstname = recrea
> c_Lastname = 33
> e_Address1 =
> f_Postcode =
> f_Telephone =
> g_Message =

Dear Mr Recrea,

Thank you for your message. Firstly, I must point out that you should not
look through bins belonging to Oxfam or indeed any other organisation.
There is a risk that you could injure yourself and any waste left on the
pavement is a hazard to pedestrians.

Oxfam seeks to avoid waste. Most of our shops pay for waste disposal so we
have no incentive to throw away things unnecessarily. On the other hand, we
are not a general recycling facility and we do not want the public to
perceive us as such, so we do our best to inform donors that we need books
that are in good, saleable condition. Many of our shops do set up
arrangements to pass on books, eg to playgroups (we are not supposed to
pass donations to other charities because donors have made Oxfam their
chosen charity) but this is not always possible and we would not want to
pass on books that were dirty or torn, for example. While we are keen to
reduce waste, our volunteers need to give priority to sorting and pricing
books that will make money for Oxfam rather than spending a lot of time
redistributing unsaleable books. If you are aware of an organisation that
could make use of our unsaleable books, we (or your local shop) would
welcome the information.

Best wishes,

Mary Malpas

Oxfam Shop Support Team
0845 3000 311


dear mary,

yes, you're right of course, rooting through skips is not very sensible.

in answer to your points though:

i thought you had a central warehouse where stuff that does not sell (but is definitely sellable) went. all the books that i mentioned in my email were in decent condition and although (in fact probably because) some of them were specialist titles, i do think it is a crying shame to just bin them. maybe it's a sign of the times, people just don't want books anymore, but i also think it has something to do with your new corporate image. none of the books i found were priced below 99p. i appreciate that with your new image the days of the 5 for a £1 bin are probably over. but it is very sad that a scholarly and beautifully illustrated hard back book on aztec civilisation (for instance) is destined for the local landfill site.

surely it would be better to pass on stuff, that is now sub-oxfam standard but still perfectly usable, to affiliated charity shops or charities that do the same thing as oxfam. i remember my manageress, when i questioned her on the amount we threw away saying to me 'we're the end of the line' and while that might have been true 10 years ago i don't think it is true anymore. you are now the beginning of the end of the line. your new policy seems to be 'give'em a month and if they don't sell bin 'em regardless of condition or worth' i looked up the books that i found in you bin on ebay and you could have made over £50 (that's just the ones that were listed!). i really think you are missing a trick here, not to mention, in this increasingly throw away society, the loss of information. (ironically there is a help the aged shop just up the road). an internal circulation system perhaps? you would save on waste disposal.

anyway you generally do a fantasic job (apart from the wristbands. ouch)(cash is the name of the game after all) it just pains me to see good books get destroyed in favour of the latest blockbusters.

best wishes,



Dear Mr Recrea,

Thank you for your response to my message. I do understand why you do not
like seeing books thrown away. If you can tell me which shop you visited, I
will certainly discuss your concerns with the shop manager.

As previously mentioned, most of our shops do have various arrangements for
passing on stock. We don't like throwing books away and it also costs Oxfam
money. However we have to balance our concerns about waste against our need
to use staff and volunteer time as effectively as possible to raise money
for Oxfam, which is the prime purpose of our shops.

You mention a worry about Oxfam white wristbands. I can assure you that all
the white bands sold by Oxfam have been sourced in line with our ethical
purchasing policy. There is further information on our website:

Best wishes,

Mary Malpas

Oxfam Shop Support Team


[User Picture]From: artworkslive
2005-06-04 12:43 am (UTC)
this just hurts. i mean REALLY REALLY hurts. these people have no idea..no concept..no inkling of what they're depriving the world. if i lived there, i would physically show up every single day and load the 'undesirables' in my truck before they bin them. it would be my calling, and though tedious, i just couldn't sleep knowing the alternative. i commend you for following up on it..it's definitely raised some eyebrows and will hopefully tweak their capitalistic/money hungry attitudes.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: recrea33
2005-06-04 04:13 am (UTC)
i'm going to have to start a new sub-charity.
'all the stuff you didn't know you wanted'
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: recrea33
2005-06-04 05:42 am (UTC)

CAUTION: migratory toads crossing

know your roadsigns.

(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)