As mentioned in previous blog entries, I’m a big fan of charity shopping as well as car boot sales, known as ‘rastros’ in Spain. Much of my wardrobe consists of the fruits of this relatively harmless hobby, which sometimes become the ‘victims’ of my various dye and bleach bath experimentations. Occasionally I worry about hoarding but you can always give garments back to the charity shop if they lose their appeal.
The charity shop habit can’t be properly indulged in Spain, however, because the second hand goods sector hasn’t been widely developed in Andalucia. The only outlet of this type I’ve encountered is the “mujeres shop” (women’s rescue charity shop) in Orgiva. Often, Spanish people chuck unwanted and sometimes unworn clothing items into the municipal bin or the skip and yours truly has been known to dish out designer kiddies’ clothing and shoes (this may sound disgusting but the haul and smiling faces of the recipients were well worth it).
While in East Sussex, I enjoy visiting numerous charity shops, especially those in Hove, Lewes or round the corner from my house in Poohaven. Unlike the charity shops in central Brighton, the Poohaven ones often charge £2 for pristine items from good labels. I’m a big fan of one particular local charity shop which has better-than-usual bargains and I enjoy my weekly forage in there.
The other day, I ventured into this shop and headed to the bargain rail. You might imagine this rail would accommodate dodgy holiday-wear resembling the vile, pastel-coloured garments worn by the presenters of kids’ show, ‘Hi 5’. But lo and behold – an immaculate Paul Smith skirt priced at £1 was awaiting my custom. Feeling vaguely pleased, I wandered over to the till.
“You’re back in here again,” said the 50-something woman assistant. I wasn’t sure if she was being ‘witty’ or she actually thought I should stay away to give other shoppers a chance of bagging the best bargains. Raising an eyebrow slightly, I said: “I love it in here. It’s great. You can buy designer labels for £1, like this Paul Smith skirt.” The woman glared at me as if I’d said, “I enjoy indulging in bizarre, public sexual practices” and she snarled “I don’t do designer labels”. I calmly suggested that with some quality labels, such as Paul Smith or Karen Millen, the garments are well made and hang on the body in a flattering way. It was no good: the woman looked as if she wanted to hang yours truly instead of the clothes. You can’t win ‘em all and perhaps she thinks I swan about wearing D&G and Burberry before dressing down to raid the charity shop bargain rail.
For some reason, I keep thinking about the Dire Straights song, ‘Money for Nothing’, which features the lyric “and the chips are free”.
This brings me neatly to the subject of Zynga Poker, another one of those immersive, interactive, community games for Facebook members. If FarmVille wasn’t enough – sheesh – I’ve recently become aware that the online poker game is arguably more addictive than pornography: at least this is the case with the online user I know best. Plus, from what I’ve seen looking over player’s shoulders, the online chat facility seems to attract a fair few stalkery types who have nothing better to do than exchange inane banter for hours on end. Are the chips free or the chicks free? Should the mass poker experiment really be encouraged? Whatever, I’m still of the opinion that Facebook has “a lot to answer for these days” and I believe that penning a more extensive work on this topic could be the way ahead for me in summer 2010. Perhaps it will all change if Facebook is no longer free of charge. There’s always a payback in the end, methinks, whether it’s hours/days/weeks/years of wasted time or a fledgling gambling addiction. Watch this space!