The idea of charity shops (thrift stores or op shops, if you will) is that people will buy donated second hand products and the money is sent to the needy poor.
But here’s the rub, by and large the wealthy don’t shop at op shops, the poor do. I know, I’m poor and I shop at charity stores.
So it is the poor supporting the poor, keeping the poor trapped in a cycle of poverty.
Also, the products sold at charity shops are donated, that is they are acquired at no cost. The workers are, for the most part, volunteers, so no wage costs. And the charities are most often tax exempt, so no tax costs.
But despite this, the cost of clothes at charity shops is rising, equalling the cost of buying the products new in some cases. Also ‘vintage’ or ‘retro’ products are usually sold at a premium price.
If the charity shops were actually there to help the poor, they would either sell clothes for very low cost, to assist the poor who they claim to help, or they would come up with a plan to get more wealthy people through the doors, by encouraging recycling and upcycling in the wealthier set.
But why buy second hand when you can buy new, right?
So if you can afford it, you’ll probably buy new, as opposed to used. And why wouldn’t you? You want to be the first you use the thing, and that’s your right as the consumer.
So, there you go, basically the charity shops are robbing Peter to pay Paul, and one of the ways the poor are kept in a cycle of poverty.