Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Profits warning. The other day we had a flyer from an outfit called "Lunetex" through the door asking us to leave out bags of old clothes which they would then pass on to the Third World. Near the bottom of the flyer in not particularly small print it said that -

Oh, it's too awful, too shameful. I can hardly bear to say it. It said that Lunetex was a profit making company rather than a charity.

Thank heavens that there are still decent people around who hold fast to the knowledge that the only permitted relationship between Britain and the Third World is that of donor and mendicant.

People like the South Cambridgeshire District Council who advise us thus:


Dear All,

Please be aware that certain companies appear to be trying to "cash-in" on the recent appeals surrounding the Earthquake and Tsunami disaster with illegal Street and House-to-House Collections.

There are presently no legal collections booked in to cover the South Cambridge District in reference to the above so please be wary when donating clothing or other articles requested - such as the current leaflet from LUNETEX, who are not licensed to collect in this District.

All licensed house-to-house collectors have official identification badges (green in colour) certificates issued by HMSO and a licence issued by the Council. If a collector can not provide you with these they are not licenced.

LUNETEX are collecting in Sawston Village Tomorrow (Thursday) - This company are a commercial organisation, not a charity, and they alone profit from any monies made from the sale of goods they collect.

If you require further information on Charity Collections please contact the licensing Section on 08450 450 063.
Here's another one, from the ever-vigilant guardians of the village of Milton who say:
A company called Lunetex has been putting leaflets through doors around the village collecting clothes etc for "the third world". If you have missed this last time SCDC have put out warnings about this sort of thing. We've seen Olonex come and go, and Merico, and Realmday. Now they seem to be born again (again) as Lunetex.

Please don't give them anything, as their own leaflet makes clear they are not a charity. If you have items you want to give away then the scouts hold regular jumble sales and reputable charities such as the Salvation Army collect in the village fairly regularly. So save it for one of them.
(Please tell your friends and neighbours about this one too.)
Actually, following the links, it seems both warnings come ultimately from the same official, Juli Stallabrass.

Now, in case you are wondering, I am not on the board of Lunetex, Olonex, Merico or Realmday. Never heard of any of 'em before I got the flyer. For all I know they are wicked, wicked people. The repeated changes of name do sound a bit dodgy. There is a hint that they were not always as upfront about their profit-making nature as they are now. However, given that the leaflet I saw was perfectly frank on that issue, I am a little at a loss to see what exactly is supposed to be so bad about what they are doing.

South Cambridgeshire District Council itself runs recycling centres. People are urged to pass their old cardboard and bottles on to the council who will, er, sell them to recycling companies. I thought for a moment that that was the distinction: getting a virtuous glow from giving stuff you don't need away to bodies who will then sell it for profit is OK so long as the body concerned is South Cambridgeshire District Council. I suppose the argument would be that it keeps down the Community Charge - only that can't be it, because the same council also advises businesses on how best to donate stuff directly to recycling companies. Really, all I'm left with as an explanation for why Lunetex should arouse such ire is that they make it slightly less likely that people will give old clothes to charities (so do eBay, car boot sales, and the small ads column of any local paper) or that they dare to make a profit out of semi-charitable recycling without the blessing of a priestly caste - i.e. without a licence from the Licensing Department.