Take Donations From Outside A Charity Shop?

There’s an interesting question over at the Guardian, where a reader ponders the ethics of taking donations from outside a charity shop:

People are always leaving donations outside the charity shop near us. Walking past recently, my son spotted a guitar on a pile and asked if he could have it. I said yes. A friend accused me of stealing and asked whether I would take flowers off a grave. Who’s right?

Naturally, there’s quite a lot of uproar in the comments, many suggesting that this amounts to no more than simple theft, although it’s probably not that clear cut. I wonder how many of us, faced with a similar tempting situation, would actually do the same? Guitars are particularly close to my heart, so had I been faced with this exact same dilemma, I may have done the same thing (or at least, taken it for myself, not let my son have it!). But i do think they should make a fair donation to the charity that should have benefitted from the sale of the guitar.

Of course, normally, there is little of value left outside charity shops, just dodgy frocks, tacky ornaments and Des O’Connor records (and the shops themselves try to discourage donors leaving items outside, precisely because they don’t want the best items stolen).

Anyway, what are your thoughts? Is this simply theft? Should they return the item, or make a donation to clear their consciences? Let us know in the comments below.

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