On my Doorstep

Having popped in very briefly one morning a few weeks ago to grab a few photographs, it was a pleasure to return to “my local” Cornwall Hospice Care shop at St Blazey to spend a whole day with manager Sue and her team of friendly volunteers.  Sue greets me as I arrive laden with a couple of bags of donations of my own, filled with children’s clothes after a recent turn out by my two daughters following yet more growth spurts!

After a quick chat with Sue about the recent disruptions because of the snow, we are joined by Mo, Pauline, Maureen and Sue – Wednesday morning volunteers most of whom I met on my flying visit a week or two before.  Pauline and Sue have been away on holidays, so everyone has a little catch up about where they’ve been and what they’ve seen before the jobs of the day are started in earnest and I am made to feel part of the “family” straight away.

Back to being a Till Girl

Sue says to Mo “Well we’ve got an apprentice with us this morning – let’s train her up on the till!”, so I spend most of my morning getting to know the ins and outs of the Cybertill as its known.  It’s the first time I’ve used the till myself, rather than watching other people, so I’m a bit nervous. I worked at Tesco on the tills as a student but it was a long time ago and tills have changed quite a bit since then!

Our Cybertills were installed new towards the end of 2017 and do so much more than the old system, but it does rely on technology, bar codes and good wi-fi.  Today this combination is all working in harmony – each customer’s item has a bar-code which is scanned and then the touch-screen is used to enter how the customer is paying – simple!   The till has an inbuilt card payment system with a contactless payment option, much needed as so many people pay by card now.

Anything out of the ordinary, like a refund or petty cash for sundries, can be done through the till easily too and there’s a handy instruction booklet for all eventualities. It really is a slick operation here at St Blazey.

Fantastic Finds

After a quick break for lunch, I wave goodbye to the morning shift of volunteers and welcome the afternoon volunteer team and I swop my till duties for taking in, sorting, tagging and pricing the steady stream of donations being brought into the shop.  Sue and her team know so many of the people who come through the doors by name, and there’s a constant stream of donors and shoppers alike, visiting the supermarket next door and the slimming club in the hall just opposite. It’s a great spot to be.

There’s a knock on the back door where another regular has a car boot full of donations for us. As well as some bags of clothes, she hands us what looks like a basket with fruit and veg in it telling us “these are collectables, make sure you get a good price for them”.  They turn out to be made by Penkridge Ceramics and after some help from Google we find that each piece retails new at £44 upwards and can fetch £30-40 each on eBay!  Sue makes the decision that the basket and its contents should be passed on to our eBay Team based behind our warehouse at Daniels Lane, St Austell. It’s really important for us as charity to make sure that when our supporters donate something valuable, that we make sure we don’t undervalue their donations, so specialist items are often handled by our in-house eBay experts.

I see some more great items appear from the donations that keep rolling in. Some are really cute and quirky, like a Camper Van themed canister and a set of 3 Doll Storage Canisters.  I price them up and they go straight out on the shop shelves as they’re bound to sell quickly!

The #TwentyPoundChallenge

The day is flying by, but I can’t miss a chance to have a go at our #TwentyPoundChallenge to see what outfits I can find spending £20 or less. Volunteer Ros is keen to be my personal shopper, suggesting colour combinations and ideas.  I find a full length navy cardigan for £6 that I had my eye on earlier in the day when I saw it being tagged and priced. Ros finds me a bright pink top priced at £3.50 to go with it and heads over to the basket full of hats, gloves and scarves to help me accessorise my look for another £2!  I’m so pleased with the outfit that I’m at the till buying everything straight away.

Before I know it my youngest daughter has arrived in the shop from the school bus drop-off, so it must be time to head for home.  I leave Sue and her team to tidy and cash up for the day, wishing to myself that I had more spare time to volunteer there on a regular basis. They are a great team and a pleasure to work with.

Pictured Below Left: Sue with just a few of the many volunteers that support our St Blazey Shop.

Pictured Below Right: My outfit for £11.50!

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