‘I work at a charity shop and people donate sex toys, mouldy food and knives’

‘I work at a charity shop and people donate sex toys, mouldy food and knives’


Charity shops are on most high streets in the UK and they’re a great way to reduce clothing waste and to pick up a bargain.

You can snag designer clothes for slashed prices, almost new books for less than a quid and even children’s toys, jewellery and gadgets if you’re lucky.

Plus, it’s great to know that there’s somewhere you can drop of your old stuff without it going to landfill.

So, it’s easy to see why we Brits like charity shops so much…

But, what about the staff working there? It seems that life on the other side of the charity shop floor might not be as clean and lovely as the shop floor.

A charity shop workers anonymously spoke to the Sun this week to reveal some of the bizarre habits of shoppers and donators in the UK.

Sex toys

Surely it goes without saying that items of a sexual nature should not be donated to charity shops.

That’s a bio-hazard and they will be thrown right in the bin.

The staff member said: “Every few months we get given a bin bag full of donations which contains, without fail, a sex toy.

“The number of used vibrators we’ve been ‘gifted’ is enormous – why? We clearly can’t sell them.

“Meanwhile, we’re also given donations of kinky dress up (binned) and on one occasion even a blow up doll (which we also binned).”

Apparently the donator scarpered before they could give them back.

And, that’s one of the reasons the staff always wear gloves when sorting through donations, among other disgusting occurrences.

Dirty items

The worker noted: “We also get bags of dirty nappies, condoms and sanitary towels hidden among the donations – that’s a weekly occurrence.

“Meanwhile we’ve got people who have bought bags and bags of tatty, stinky clothes – and someone once tried to donate a load of out-of-date food.

“We do what I call the ‘rip and tip’ test over the floor or table of the shop to test for cleanliness and if anything is decent.”

They argued that it might be because shoppers confuse their donation bin bags with their regular bags of rubbish… or because they don’t want to go to the tip.

Unfortunately, it costs shops to get rid of unwanted or unusable items – so you’re taking money from the charity’s pocket in these cases.

Dangerous items

The shop worker said that they often find knives and even broken glassware in the donation bags.

And, once they found a bunch of mouldy toast in a bag. Why? Who knows.

Dumping bags outside

The staff member said: “We don’t have a washing machine on-site so we have to dump anything which is abandoned outside in case they’ve been contaminated, perhaps by an animal.

“There are signs saying not to do this, but these are routinely ignored.

“I sometimes take designer items which have been donated home to be washed, but that is all in my own time.”


While we all want to bag a deal at a charity shop, the worker said that it’s not the done thing to barter them down.

The items have been priced appropriately to make money for the charity and they said: “You wouldn’t do it in M&S".

Theft, crime and violence

The shop worker claimed that people sometimes try and donate their ex-partners stuff.

And, on other occasions they get electrical items or designer stuff, but them find out it’s been stolen.

Finally, they added that charity shops are often understaffed and workers are sometimes attacked in the shops.

So next time you venture in be good to the people working behind the till!

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