A BOLD experiment designed to help people cope with the recession will be trialled in Melksham next week.

From Monday, customers to the Sue Ryder Care charity shop in the High Street will be able to pay whatever they think goods are worth, as staff remove all fixed prices from their donated items.

Helen Reynolds, who is business manager for the Melksham shop as well as other branches in Wiltshire, said she had been inspired to launch the initiative after reading about the band Radiohead, who let people download their new album In Rainbows and pay whatever they thought it was worth.

She said Melksham was the perfect place to pilot the scheme as it was a community-orientated town and many of the shops had faced hard times in recent months.

Miss Reynolds hopes the experiment will not only give something back to the community but will also allow her to see what people think of the pricing system in the shop.

She said: “I hope this will have a knock-on effect in the town too, because if people spend less money in our shop then they might have extra money that they can take and spend in another shop elsewhere in the town.

“Hopefully it will help people who need that extra jumper or coat or cutlery, but can’t afford it.

“We try and price things accordingly, but it will be useful for us to see if maybe we are charging too much for things, or even too little and to see how it effects our profits.

“They might go down and then again they might go up.”

She said the shop, which is run by a team of volunteers, has a strong customer base and she was not worried about people coming in and trying to buy large amounts of goods for less than they may be worth.

She said: “If they think something is worth 2p, then that’s what they can pay. As long as it is sincere and they really believe that is what something is worth, then that is fine.

“We don’t want people to feel embarrassed about the amounts they are suggesting - we want them to let us know.

“If anyone comes in and tries to take advantage then that is something they will have to carry on their conscience.”

Donated goods will be available without prices from Monday until Saturday February 7.