Perhaps the nicest thing about being supermarket free is the fact that all of the shops we now use are so much nicer, smaller, individual, friendly, the air is so much fresher and you are not met with rows and rows of products that are so similar but priced in such a way that it is difficult to work out just what the best deal was.
A recent trip to a large DIY store recently brought back flashbacks of the large and often dirty world of the supermarket. It was not a pleasant experience!
Unfortunately our little town no longer has its own DIY store, when we moved here there was a fantastic shop that sold everything, and was generally on a par price wise with chain stores when petrol costs were taken into account, and where they were more expensive we were happy to pay the extra to support them and for the good service. Alas, the owner could no longer make the shop pay and had to close, we now have in its place……… a piano shop. The nice cookware shop also under the same ownership has closed over the last year or so, however this has been replaced with the lovely Hare in the Woods deli :).
Now we used to frequent DIY shops a lot when Ian was renovating the house, never was a weekend complete without the phrase “I could just do with nipping into blah to pick up some blah blah”, much to Becksie’s constant boredom. Nowadays however our forays into such establishments are rare, but our recent trip summed up all that is wrong for us with such large establishments. Not only was it was difficult to park, the store in question was dirty, very noisy (constant tannoy announcements and noise reverberating around the large warehouse-like shell) we were also left confused by the endless aisles and the illogical placing of items.
We did try to ask one of the members of staff to show us where something was and for some plumbing related advice, however the young lad we did get had no idea what any of the products were or what you did with them……..not too helpful!
We guess that this is just one of those things, in fairness to the DIY shop chappie we would not have asked a supermarket worker for advice on how to cook something, yet would think nothing of asking a deli owner or market trader for some cooking tips, just one of the many benefits to local shopping, personal service from people who care about their products.
Now whilst we can appreciate for many the convenience of everything in one store is often better, surely the extra value added by personal service, advice and local convenience is worth a lot. The other day we were looking through a book about Faringdon of yesteryear, which in addition to several grocers, butchers, bakers, a fishmonger and a dairy boasted ironmongers, a haberdashery and bike repair store, a drapers, jewelers confectioners, corn merchants, a saw mill, coal merchants etc. etc. Of course change does happen but it would have been lovely to be able to get everything you could possibly need within your own town, with every shop occupied and masses of employment within the town, still we guess everywhere must give in to ‘progress’!! Nevertheless we think we would have liked our local town a lot back in the olden days!
Oh and by the way, Ian took a punt with the plumbing supplies and got a lucky break, problem solved!!