Dog Eat Dog

High street battles

Yesterdays news reported ‘Jessops camera chain in administration‘. Today we hear that ‘Tesco reports growth in Christmas sales‘. It’s indicative of the way much of the high street has fallen, whilst the supermarkets march on. Admittedly I’ve not been their most regular of customers, but it was nice to have a specialist photographic retailer at hand when needed and I always found their staff to be knowledgeable and friendly.

Now I work in the internet, driving sales down ethernet cables and airwaves. I like e-Commerce. I like a bargain. But I also like quaint little shops where someone is genuinely grateful for your custom, somewhere with heritage, history and that personal feel. Somewhere with a face.

My Grandad owned a grocery back in the 60’s, just as the first supermarkets circled their prey and Jack Cohen started to scale activity for his budgeoning Tesco brand. My Grandad was convinced that the personal service he, and other retailers, provided would prevail. Alas, he was wrong.

It’s no accident that Starbucks writes your name on a coffee cup, that Sainsbury’s checkout staff always ask me ‘How I am’ (and never listen to the answer – I don’t blame them though). It’s a token of a bygone era, of the personal touch.

Now we have recession, tightened purse strings, and whilst you can’t blame someone for trying to save a few quid when they have multiple mouths to fill, it’s a real shame that it’s at the expense of a piece of human history.

So my New Years Resolution this year is to support the underdogs where I can. It may be a losing battle, but a wise multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer would have us believe…

Every little helps.


EDIT – 18th January

HMV and Blockbuster are teetering on the edge of administration now too. As a massive film buff, I’m a regular customer of both. Sad times indeed.


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