With the third week having come and gone I am now officially half-way through my internship, and what better way to mark the half-way point than with the most eventful week thus far. The beginning of the week saw the creation and refinement of a joint press release between Shopiago and the Charity Retail Association. After a few days of edits, re-edits, and re-re-edits (as well as sending more emails back and forth than I think I could count), we finally had a finished press release everyone was happy with by the end of Wednesday, ready to be sent out the following day. Of course, however, my work didn’t end there as my focus then rapidly turned to promotion of the press release. Honing the skills I had learnt in the second week I whipped up a number of social media graphics to help the push behind the release and, when all was said and done, our work culminated in a number of articles written across a number of publications, including one article published in the Guardian (!!!).
With my weeks work for the CRA complete, my attention soon turned back to St. Elizabeth’s, with Thursday seeing me, for the first time, spend a day volunteering in a charity shop. My experience was certainly eye-opening. The first of the day was spent with me behind the till. Despite some early technical issues, I picked up the system relatively quickly and soon became a dab hand (if I do say so myself). After lunch, however, I moved to the back of the shop and was put to work sorting donations. My first surprise came from seeing the sheer volume of donations. While I certainly was aware of the fact that charity shops regularly accepted many, many donations, actually seeing the scale of items donated (let alone sorting them) was a far different experience.
The sorting itself was, however, relatively straightforward. If the clothing was pristine, it was put in a bag to be kept. If it wasn’t (if it had a hole, a stain, discolouration, etc.) it was to be ragged. This is where my second surprise came in. Not only was I shocked by the volume of donations, I was shocked by how many of the donated goods couldn’t be sold and had to be gotten rid of. It almost seemed to me as though some people were using the charity shop as a dump as I sorted the donations and sieved my way through broken electrical appliances and clothes with more holes than fabric. My third surprise, however, came right at the end of the day as after what felt like only ten minutes, I realised it was nearly time to close up shop. The experience volunteering in a charity shop, while certainly tiring, was a thoroughly enjoyable one and the time certainly flew. Similarly, my internship has flown by and, feeling as though I only started yesterday, it’s hard to believe I’m already half-way through. As we move into the final weeks, I’m already surprised at what has been achieved and can’t wait to see what more will happen.