Monday, July 22, 2013

Letting the Barngains Go

I was growing steadily despondent of charity shops. Online sales had become predictable, junk shops abysmal, car boot sales overpriced. In these tough austerity times, we are all looking for barngains. Charity shops used to be good for cheap items, but not any more, not since they've marketed themselves as boutiques and now regularly charge more than many high street shops such as Poundland or Primark. Indeed, I've actually seen Primark items in Oxfam charging more than Primark. But charity shops are apparently flourishing, whilst many big brand high street shops disappear.

I've taken a leaf out of Poundland and now rarely spend more than £1 on a CD, record or book in a charity shop or car boot sale. Fopp, Morrison's and HMV have all embraced selling secondhand CDs for £2 (still cheaper than Oxfam's £2.99). HMV and Waterstone's have good clearance sales once in a while, with CDs and books 99p or £1.99.

I don't visit charity shops as much as I used to, so my chances of barngains are pretty low. However, about a month ago in a charity shop on a Sunday afternoon, a stack of records for £1 had just been put out. I looked through them and it was a goldmine of Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Blue Oyster Cult and Bob Marley. I looked through them; checked the vinyl. They all seemed slightly worn, but largely good. I looked through them again. I don't know. Something inside said 'let them go; let someone else find them'. I don't know what it was. Maybe the next person would buy them all and sell them for £20-30 on eBay. But maybe it would just be a music fan who would play them over and over. Whatever. I never really liked Led Zeppelin or Bob Marley and had Bowie on CD. I'd play them once then put them amongst my others, gathering dust. I let them go. It felt like a coda of sorts. (I've only regretted not buying them at least twice a day for the past month. Lady luck shone on me again a few weeks ago when I turned up late at a car boot sale. Sometimes it's best to – all the crap has been bought, leaving a few gems. In my case it was The Who's Live at Leeds and Bowie's Hunky Dory on LP, £1 each, mint condition. I got them.)

Previously on Barnflakes:
London Through Its Charity Shops
Recent Barngain LPs
Recent Barngains
Top 10 Greatest Missed Barngains
Weekend Barngains (2)
Weekend Barngains (1)

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