Scientists map migratory patterns of unsold charity shop tat

British scientists have come one step closer to solving one of nature’s greatest mysteries after mapping the route of unsold rubbish as it migrates from high-end charity shops in affluent areas to smaller, less well-off council estate establishments.

‘Using the latest in state of the art miniature GPS tracking, we were able to follow a box of stuff, ‘box of stuff’ being the collective noun for such items, from the breeding grounds at a well-heeled charity shop in Chelsea,’ explained Professor Mike Shearing of the University of London. ‘Interestingly, the box of stuff split up almost immediately, with last years Louis Vuitton leather clutch handbag and a fully furnished Hamleys dolls house with Mark Wilkinson designer kitchen and au pair annex staying within a three mile radius.

The team also discovered that a number of other items, consisting mainly of Burberry baseball caps, tracksuits and gaudy jewellery, also split off from the main group. ‘These coalesced into two separate boxes of stuff, one of which headed towards Essex, while the other began a long and arduous journey to the north.’

The remaining pieces of unsold stock, still a cohesive entity as it left the environs of the capital, headed in a westward direction, roughly along the A4/M4 corridor. A monsoon silk party dress, circa 2005, broke off from the group at Windsor, swiftly followed by an art nouveau liberty silver and garnet necklace at Reading. ‘We lost sight of the three year old John Lewis curtains somewhere in the Newbury/Thatcham area,’ Shearing continued, ‘and by the time the box of stuff reached Swindon it was looking rather depleted.’

The rate of attrition continued steadily along the route from Bristol to Cardiff, with items such as the Debenhams crimpolene perma-press trousers, the empty M&S wicker hamper basket and the chipped Denby teapot all falling prey to local charity shop patrons. ‘The journey through South Wales was a particularly harrowing time; as item after item was picked off by marauding customers. By the time the box of stuff reached Fishguard, all that was left of the group was a pair of unwashed size 46″ Y-fronts and a used loo brush. Ironically these were sold to a conceptual artist and returned to London – the circle of life continues.’

(Written by me and my chum ‘Sauce’, 27 Oct 2009)

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Published in: on January 14, 2010 at 8:04 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a great article, very fun to read..

  2. Well I guess it really is true that ‘what comes around goes around’ – even in the case of un-washed Y fronts and a used loo brush! Mad, but interesting.


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