We went to a new-to-us charity shop this week, Daughter and I. It’s on the outskirts of our holiday town, and I only knew where, because it’s across the road from the designer furniture shop.
I had filed it away as being cheaper premises and easier parking. That was until I looked at who was buying. Apart from a few people looking for trendy second-hand bargains, the customers were immigrants. Recent immigrants, most likely, carefully examining the shoes to see if there was anything they liked, that fit and was reasonably priced [to them].
This made me think again, and I realised that these outskirts next to the motorway are just across a busy road from the town’s ‘ghetto.’ I don’t like calling it that, as the standards of the flats will be good Swedish 1960s, but you can’t get away from the fact that it’s where you expect the latest arrivals from other parts of the world to live.
As Daughter looked at furniture I did a quick recce to see what the shop’s layout was like, and I noticed a man, maybe in his thirties, obviously foreign, looking at necklaces over on the far wall.
I took in the exercise bikes, and the wine glasses and varying vintage furniture. They had lots of books, including a whole set of – seemingly unread – Denise Mina in translation, and a copy of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke in the original.
While we looked at most of what the shop had to offer, the man continued studying the different necklaces. He was still there as we paid and left.
Unlike shoes, I’m fairly certain he didn’t need a necklace. It probably wasn’t for him. I’m guessing he wanted to buy someone a gift, and this was the prettiest and cheapest non-essential item he could manage. I was touched by the care he took in selecting his gift, and I hope he found something pretty and that she likes it.