Wednesday 5 February 2020

One is an anecdote, two is evidence…..

This was said in jest by a scientist – it is of course rubbish. This is my anecdote but the evidence is there already.

The High Street is struggling (evidenced by economic data); retail stores are struggling – even John Lewis is reporting falling sales and possibly even ditching the staff (partner) bonus.  I try to support local shops where possible – mostly buying meat from a butcher, sometimes fish from a fishmonger and fruit and vegetables from a box scheme or from a local shop – NOT packed in plastic. I use the local hardware shop if I can and the “open all hours” corner shop despite the Sainsburys and Waitrose “local” shops that have opened nearby.

It is no surprise that the shops that are thriving are hairdressers, men’s barbers, nail salons and cafes. You can’t order the former online and if you want a coffee and a sandwich you are hardly likely to go the home delivery route. Additionally, because we are in London we also have a wide variety of local food shops – one of which is open 24/7 including Christmas. You can buy almost any food – Polish, Turkish, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern and advice on cooking doesn’t cost extra!

The common thread is service and when service fails there is nothing else.  I needed to buy a small coffee grinder.  It was only a click away on Amazon to be delivered the next day. For 5% more I could buy it at John Lewis. I went to the nearest John Lewis, wandered around until I found the one I wanted. It was on display – there were no boxed ones in view.  With difficulty I found a salesperson, already serving a customer, who told me that someone would “be available soon”.  After eight minutes I left.  

Had someone become available it would have taken a few minutes for them to establish whether there was one in the store-room and then minutes more for it to reach the sales floor or the pick-up location: they could obtain it from another branch or I could order it online from them and go back and collect it on another day. It would therefore be a minimum of fifteen minutes if available.  Dear reader – I opened my phone, clicked on Amazon and it will be here tomorrow.  

To further infuriate me they would have either stuck a piece of tape across the box to show I had paid or asked me to pay for a plastic carrier bag. Paper bags are easily recycled but not available. Why? (I carry my own bags anyway but this still annoys me!) I know that Amazon tends to over-pack but it is usually cardboard which goes in my recycling.