Charity shops are the answer to middle class moral agonies about obsessive consumption: I get to indulge myself at minimal cost while kidding you I’m thinking of others. (And kidding myself: when deceiving people it always goes so much better on the conscience if you bamboozle yourself first - in fact, that's the main difference between theologians and politicians.) And of course charities get the money and the high-street, supermarket and internet chains don’t. Then, instead of feeling guilty when I get home I can look down on everyone else. It doesn’t get better than that.
These are just some of my purchases since Christmas:Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse 5’ will cost you £7.99 in Waterstone’s but I parted with just £1 in Age Concern, Chalfont St Peter. OK, less than half a lateral inch on the bookshelf but an eighth of the price in the wild and, being second-hand, it will look to others like you’ve actually read it.
A used set of a rare Marx Brothers 6-DVD boxed collection is £54 plus P&P on Amazon, but I saw just £25 Go West in The Hospice Shop, Gerrards Cross.A Paul Smith shirt that looks like a tube of Refreshers would have cost me an arm and a leg at £125 from the eponymous retail outlet - which, incidentally, rather defeats the point of buying it in the first place - but I secured it for the mere toenail clipping of £5 from Cancer Research in Beaconsfield, and with not a soup stain to be seen.
I wouldn’t be seen dead wearing it, but you know what I mean.