KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
29th February 2020
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It's not just the sad demise of Bathstore, but everywhere I look I see reports of how much the High Street is suffering against the lure of purchasing online. My local high street is rehashing the area in the hope of attracting more shoppers, but cosmetic enhancements are not going to do it, as far as I can see. Without a wide selection of the sort of shops I want to visit, what's the point of braving traffic queues, potholes and parking costs if at the end of it, I'm unlikely to enjoy my shopping experience?
It's sad, as apart from the loss of jobs and a fear that one day there will be no shops for us to visit, there's the knowledge that some people visit shops regularly because they're lonely and it gives them an opportunity to interact with others, without having to commit to anything such as joining a club. Online shopping is so isolating, isn't it?
Forgive me if I've mentioned it before (it's my age!) but I recall from my teenage years, my father telling me about a conversation he'd had with a colleague, whose daughter ran a shoe shop. A customer had been in the shop for ages, trying one pair of shoes after another and involving several of the staff, to the extent that they became fed up with the time he was taking up and informed the manager who then asked the customer to leave as he clearly wasn't about to make a purchase. The man burst into tears, saying that this was the only way he ever got to talk to anyone and because everyone had been so friendly and helpful, he'd stayed as long as he could.
That tale had a huge impact on me. Since then, I've made a point of talking to anyone I see who's alone. I'll comment on whatever I can, so they see it's more than just good manners. It might be their outfit, a reassurance that the hill they're climbing will shortly flatten out, or that I hope they've not got too far to go with their shopping. I might tell them I've seen a traffic warden looking for cars to ticket, or ask if the market's busy. I figure that if I'm the only person they get to speak to that day, it's been cheerful and heartfelt. From the responses, I know I've brightened a lot of people's days. I only wish I could have a similar effect on our shopping centres!
6th July 2019