I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: Colwyn Bay has a disproportionate amount of charity shops. More charity shops than banks. More charity shops than pubs. More charity shops than newsagents. More charity shops than obese dudes in raggedy T-shirts begging money to buy smack. They are always open, they are always full. Where does all the stock come from? How do they pay their rent? How much is their rent anyway? Are their staff all volunteers? How come even the videogame shops can’t stay open while second hand suit and shoe merchants prosper? What does it say about a town when its high street comprises of charity shops, pawn shops, and Cash 4 Clothes outlets? How’s about I answer none of these questions and just post photos of my 18 month old son sat in in front of a ruin of shopfronts in his airport pushchair?
Hosbis Dewi Sant. 5/10
The first Charity sop you come across if you’re entering Colwyn from Rhos On Sea is this, a posh old ladies’ tea set of a charity shop, overpriced and over reaching, it seems in a perpetual state of Awaiting A Visit From The Queen Mum and the ladies who work in it glare at Hercules, a sure sign of psychopathy if ever I knew one. It does have some great lamp shades though.
Herc’s favourite, and mine. There’s always some new kiddy musical instrument in the window. He’s got a veritable home studio going on right now and most of it came from here. Deceptively windowed, the place looks like some vast paradise of second hand toys from the outside, then you go in and its fucking tiny, like some inverse tardis, and you realise 98% of the toys are in the window. Loses a point for its infuriating slogan, “believe in children.” “Why do I need to be instructed via slogan to believe in children they’re not fucking leprechauns are they they’re fucking everywhere look there’s one stabbing his obese mother in her obese gut with a Gregg’s sausage roll,” goes my internal monologue, speaking in Mitch Hedberg’s voice for no good reason.
North Clwyd Animal Rescue. 4/10
Pretty dry. Pushes its pro-animal agenda by putting stuffed dogs and plates with cats painted on them in the window, but doesn’t have much else animal themed when one enters, kind of a con really. Smells of murderous bed and breakfasts in places you end up because your car broke down.
Runaround Reuse: 9/10
This place is fcuking great, like some sort of carzy Aladins Cave of treasures. Weird old art, micro machines, racist ornaments, drug smoking paraphenalia. I got Herc’s first toy guitar in here, and if we were staying longer I’d have decked out my whole studio from this place alone. Technically not a charity shop, apparently, I noticed a sign on the window saying “WE ARE NOT A CHARITY SHOP”, which might go to explain its superiority, people tend to make more of an effort when its their own business with which they provide for their families.
Help The Aged. 0/10
You must be a pretty shit charity shop to have to shut down in this town, and with so many advantages: famous brand name, nice big windows… the place has some prime real estate too, located right at the top of the high street. Every time I pass its dusty ole windows I think about the wonderful possibilities of a true free market with no interference from government, then I think about bank bailouts and I get angry, so even if this place wasn’t getting NIL FUCKING POIS for being shut down it’d be taking a hit for that. Good riddance idiots.
Cancer Research. 6/10
Weird one this, pretty dry, doesn’t have a particularly high stock turnaround, and seems to sell loads of weird janky handmade shit along with the usual offensively bleak birthdday card packs. Fresh-ass paint job though, and the windows are always shiny clean.
Instant minus points for a lack of capitalisation on the sign, then some more off for debilitating political correctness – scope used to be called the Spastics Society which is a much better name, sounds like some awesome superhero team or something. Stockwise its pretty boring, mostly crappy old clothes and moth-gnawed lady purses. The carpet is a hive of terrors also.
Dan’s Den. 8/10
Not actually a charity shop, in that its a family run business that deals in Loads Of Random Old Shit, but they donate a lot of money to some charities I think cos the woman who set it up’s kid got set on fire or some fucking dreadful tragedy. They’re all really lovely in there and you can get a washing machine for £40, or a wardrobe for a tenner, and they’ll deliver anything for a mere fiver, its amazing and real boon to the local community. High fives all round.
St. Kennington. 3/10
Real talk, I’m scared to go in here, its looks like a doctors surgery or a dentist or something, and its hardly got anything in it anyway.
St Vincent’s. 0/10
This is the fucking worst charity shop in town, maybe the worst one I’ve ever had the misfortune to experience. I don’t know whether its because its located in the indoor shopping centre along with the Morrissons’ and The Works’ discount bookstore and the Holland And Barret that gives it its sense of superiority, or whether the owners are just social climbing assholes, but this place is so above it’s station its orbiting the fucking sun and banging into Russian satellites. It’s got gnarly ole sofas in it that you could cop for a tenner in Dan’s Den down the road on sale for £95, and the shop assistants follow you around click-clacking their teeth and rubbing their lace-gloved hands like your gonna shoplift or something. This place is the charity shop equivalent of old crones on the bus in Smethwick reading The Lady and sneering out the windows at single mum’s dragging the shopping at Lidl. Firebombs are too good for it.
British Heart Foundation. 7/10
Pretty classy and slick as charity shops go. It’s almost like people involved in it get paid and it turns a profit or something crazy. Always clean, well stocked with decent non tatty stuff that they could probably get more for on Ebay, like good-as-new looking Carcasan sets and contemporary celebrity autobiographies in hardback. The place is staffed by trendy young people with throat tattoos and flourecent hair and ear tunnels and I suspect its actually a front for some sort of secret ninja society or something. Must investigate further.
BONUS NOT CHARITY SHOPS SECTION!
All blockbusters should be left like this, closed down and unoccupied for all time, preserved like prehistoric moths in amber as warnings to humans of what can happen if you’re a non adaptive luddite behemoth idiot that can’t see the fucking volcano has erupted until your face is getting melted off with ten tons of hot fucking larva.
The first time I went into Colwyn Bay Spar the man behind the counter informed me I should enjoy it while I could as it was likely to shut soon enough cos since the Bargain Booze up the road opened no one comes in anymore, apart from old people to buy milk and what shop can survive on milk sales alone? Booze > Milk, is the lesson to be learned from that, I suppose.
Cash 4 Clothes
I was pretty stunned when I found this place, like, what, Colwyn Bay can sustain umpteen charity shops that mainly thrive on second hand clothes AND it has some sort of terrifying clothes pawning gaff that pays 60p a kilo for shoes?
Cash 4 Your Clothes
Bearing that in mind you can imagine how stunned I was when I discovered a SECOND shop doing exactly the same thing 5 minutes up the road from the first, differentiated by the number 4 in its name and some fancy window stickers of some chick looking delightedly at a perfect crisp fan of 20s having obviously just sold enough clothes to stock the charity shops of Colwyn Bay for a long cold winter.
I only took a photo of this hairdresser cos I was intrigued by what it was called before the first word was erased from the sing. What could it have been? Gucci Mane Attraction? Dare to dream.
The Outside Caff In The Supermarket Where The Old People All Go For Breakfast Everyday
Because DOPE PERSPECTIVE.