A day in the life of a shop manager

Sean Woodward

This day in the life diary is written by Sean Woodward, our Marston Shop Manager. We hope you enjoy reading about one of Sean’s Saturday shifts, which he spends alongside two of his lovely volunteers.

7:15 I have already hit the snooze button twice and had stern words with my alarm clock, but I know when I am beaten! Time for a ‘traditional’ British breakfast of a peanut butter sandwich and a cup of tea.

7:45 Showered and dressed, I’m ready to join the chaos of the Oxford rush hour traffic. Hold that thought, It’s Saturday, so thankfully no traffic today!

8:05 Arrive at work and unload my car. Once people know you work in a charity shop, you can’t go anywhere without someone saying “I have some donations for your shop, do you have room in your car?”. It starts with family, then friends and neighbours, and I think I’ve now reached my mum’s neighbour’s aunt’s dog sitter!

My start time isn’t until 8:45, so I have plenty of time to sit down and enjoy a coffee while I check my emails.

8:30 I’ve spotted quite a few empty hangers, so I start hanging, tagging and pricing some clothes ready for steaming.

8:45 The shop doesn’t officially open until 9, but as I’m ready I open the doors and hope that I might just catch an early customer or two. Outside, I find four bags of donations, so I move these through to our donations room.

8:55 Make a cup of tea so it’s ready and waiting for Eileen, one of our volunteers, who comes in at 9.

10:00 The hangers are full, customers have been served, and two more lots of donations have been received, so it’s time to start tackling the donations room! We are usually a little behind on sorting donations at this time of the week, as on Thursdays and Fridays we focus on reducing stock, ready for it to be picked up and taken over to our Headington shop. The reason we send stock over to our Headington shop is because most items are sold for £2, so it gives everything a last chance to sell.

11:55 Eileen has just threatened me with a plush stuffed toy due to my excessive use of ‘dad jokes’. I’m pleased to report we have made some headway in sorting the stock out… or at least we have less than we started with.

13:00 More donations have arrived throughout the morning and we’re fairly busy with customers.

It’s time for Eileen to clock off as Jamie, another of our volunteers, arrives for his shift. My volunteers are amazing, they come in, work hard, and give their time for free. They are genuinely some of the nicest, funniest people I have ever met.

14:30 Jamie and I thought we had got to the bottom of the donations pile, but just when we could see a glimpse of the floor, more have arrived. It’s a bit like painting the Severn Bridge, just as you get to the end, it’s time to go back to the start again!

The donations have been the usual mix. We sort through everything from socks to a nice Harrod’s picnic basket containing crockery. The number of donations we receive is fantastic and people can be so generous. It means that unlike high street shops, we can put new items out on the shelves every day.

16:30 Time to close the shop. One customer has had to run home as she didn’t have enough money with her, so I will give it another 10 minutes or so.

16:45 The customer has returned with her money and collected her shopping. The shop is now empty, so I lock the door and we cash up the till.

16:55 It’s been a good day; we’ve served new and regular customers and we sold lots of clothes. We’re comfortably over our daily target and over our weekly target too. I do all the general housekeeping chores – sweeping, mopping, wiping – to keep the shop looking sparkling clean.

17:10 Time to head home – I’m tired but happy. I really enjoy my job; we work hard but have a lot of fun along the way.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my day in the life diary. I wanted to include a thank you to our volunteers and also our fantastic customers. Marston is one of our newer and smaller shops and we appreciate all of the support and donations we receive.

In our first full year since opening and after expenses, the Marston shop made enough money to pay for nearly 50 days of care for an inpatient, which could transform their quality of life in the time they have left. So your donations and custom really do make a difference.