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One girl's rubbish is another girl's gold

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Rosie Rosie | 14:14 UK time, Thursday, 18 March 2010

My name's Rosie, and I'm fairly new to the Learning English team - I've been here since mid-December.

Carrie persuaded me to contribute to the staff blog, so here goes!

I thought I'd tell you about one of my favourite hobbies, which I call 'chazzering', but which is better known as shopping in charity shops.

Charity shops appear alongside normal shops on the British high street, are usually run by volunteers, and make their money out of selling donations from the public. All towns and cities will have a handful, filled with almost anything you can imagine - clothes, books, records, home ware, etc. These items are usually second hand, and also (on the whole) cheap.

To me it's the perfect kind of shopping. In a world of consumerism and unethical mass production, shopping can be both expensive and guilt ridden. But in charity shops it's very difficult to bankrupt your purse, and the things you are buying are effectively recycled. Plus, all the money you do spend goes to charity!

I like to go chazzering at least once a week to check out the latest donations - you never know what will turn up! Before I walk in I always get a real sense of anticipation - what will have appeared for me this week?


I can't describe the feeling when I find something I love in a charity shop. When my eyes meet some barely-worn, vintage shoes in my size, or a fabulous 1950s plate, it's as if they've been put there just for me.

A recent best buy was a roll of designer furnishing fabric from the 1980s - 13 meters for £5! Sadly, when I brought it home, triumphant, my boyfriend took one look at it and said that it was not to his taste, which I have to respect as he also lives in our house. So I can't make any new curtains... Oh well, maybe my mother will want it.


I collect charity shop china and glassware. Here's a selection of my best bits. The black bird you can see is what's known as a 'pie bird' - you put this into the middle of a dish, and build the pie around it. It lets steam out, and keeps your pastry crisp by holding it above the filling.


You can also find amazing furniture in charity shops. Some things you find are in fantastic condition, while others might require a little love. Here you can see some of the furniture I've bought second hand.


I'm going to re-upholster and re-cane the little chair; I added a new shade to the wooden standard lamp, while the sideboard came in pristine condition.

Unfortunately, my house is now so full of second hand furniture that I've completely run out of space, and I have so many plates that I could serve dinner to 100 people, so I'm not allowed to buy any more. But this doesn't stop me from looking - perhaps I need to open my own shop?


  • Comment number 1.

    Dear Rosie,

    I think that it's my lucky day to make the first comment about your blog. I liked your blog very much and agree with you about quite everything you've written. Such a clever idea it is; you pay money for second hand stuff that you can use and the money goes to charity or get donated.
    I'd really encourage you to open your own shop but not to sell these second hand stuff rather, you can serve dinner for 100 people on daily bases AND sell some of what you've got to buy more when you get room.

    Looking forward to your next blog until then ...

    Best wishes

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Dear Rosie,

    Oh, it seemed I broke the house rules by referring to an internet link.

    Well, I just wanted to write that we have these second-hand shops too in Belgium based on the principle of getting it for free and selling it at moderate prices, so, reducing the waste mountain and giving a job to a lot of workers.

    bye bye


  • Comment number 4.

    Hello Rosie!

    Welcome as a new BBC LE team member! Your post is of my interest indeed. Here in Karachi, these shops are run by the name secondhand shops and the most you will see there is furniture. I haven't got the chance to buy anything from there but I like these shops 'cause sometimes you want to buy something classic so a secondhand shops are always there to look for such pieces. I liked your collection of things bought from charity shops. The black pie bird sounds unique to me and to see how it works,I would like to use it too.

    Have a great time at BBC LE!


  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Rosie,

    I'm very interested when reading your blog, it seems the sentence " One girl's rubbish is another girl's gold " quoted from a idiom, and its meaning is very impressive. I often collect old newspapers that I never read before and look through them whenever having time. I find out about them valuable information although the news is old. In my view, helping the poor and the people with special needs is not only humanity but also our obligation to society. In addition to shopping in charity shops, there are a lot of ways that you give to help those who need it such as donating money or something to a charity fund, working for a voluntary agency etc. In your case, if your house is out of space to put anything more, you should encourage your friends and relatives to go for shops more often to contribute their help to the fund. Hopefully reading more your writing on this blog.



  • Comment number 6.

    Hi, Rosie.
    Nice to meet you on the air. My name's Emat. I congratulate you on your rather gripping debut.
    First question, would you mind my asking what does "chazzering" mean exactly, what's the word for "chazzering" in English? It's strange that I couldn't find this word in any dictionaries and on dictionarydotcom also ("Chazzering - no dictionary results").
    And second one, could you explain me a meaning of the idiom on title of your post. Please. Because I'm used to Carrie always making a little bit of the parsing and doing some vocabulary below her posts.
    Thanks, Rosie.
    Best regards,

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Rosie,
    Welcome to the staff blog. I like your entry and I think that what you do is a very good action. However, I think that sometimes you have to think of the size of your flat :-)
    I personally don't like to buy second hand things. I prefer new ones but I respect and admire who does the opposite. On the other hand, the things that you bought seemed to be brand new!
    Thank you for sharing your buy with us.
    See you,
    Cristina from Buenos Aries, Argentina

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Rosie
    how are you , Iam very interested to find new friends and do relation with
    them and I am sory if my English dont good ,iIwish to be good by you

  • Comment number 9.


  • Comment number 10.

    Hello Rosie,

    Welcome to the blog and hope you'll enjoy it with us.
    You're doing good buying from the charity shop, if I would be there I
    I would also do the same thing and infact I love to buy unique ancient
    You could do garage sale for getting extra space, and then you'll be
    able to buy new items of your choice.

    Best regards.

  • Comment number 11.

    oh that's good idea.but in indonesian nothink shop like that.can you open shop like that in indonesia ?

  • Comment number 12.

    Thank you for all your comments and suggestions!

    Emat – "chazzering" is a slang word, which isn't very common yet, so doesn't appear in any dictionaries. But perhaps one day it will!

    "One girl's rubbish is another girl's gold" is a play on the idiom "one man's rubbish is another man's gold". It means that what some people consider to be rubbish is what another person considers valuable. So, the things I find in charity shops are not wanted by their owners, but are very desirable to me.


  • Comment number 13.

    Hi, Rosie.
    Thanks for your explanations.
    As far as secondhands concerned I also like it and even once I had a great stroke of luck that I find in charity shop some antique candelabra and gramophone (mechanical player) with a great number of long-playing records in addition. It was beautiful.
    So long, Rosie! Have a nice day,

  • Comment number 14.

    in my opinion this very very helpful and useful idea. thats good

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi Rosie,
    welcome as a new BBC Learning English member, appreciate this interesting article,the real happiness is to share other people's problems and make them smile,the happiest man in this life who tries to please the others,it doesn't cost a lot while it means too much for such poor people.


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