|Section of shopping precinct|
I used to love browsing in shops, even if I didn’t want to buy anything but now we don’t seem to have many shops in which to browse. There are plenty of hairdressers for men as well as women but you can’t really look around those establishments without appearing a bit odd.
|picture courtesy of bbc.co.uk|
Charity shops are rapidly taking over our shopping precincts or High Streets. One retail outlet closes, three charity shops open. Or a hairdressers. Or a sandwich bar. The charity shops do encourage people to look around but when you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all since they all stock other people’s cast-off clothes and shoes. Quite honestly I don’t fancy wearing discarded shoes in case the owner’s feet were malformed, twisted, warped or infected. But each to their own, I guess.
My local shopping area has now been designated an eating place. Gone are the old electrical shops, the chemists, the butchers, the china shops, antique shops, small stores, clothiers, shoe shops and independent marketeers, all to be replaced by restaurants, cafes, Costa and pizza bars, Italian, Indian, French, Chinese, Thai, even English fish and chip and coffee shops. You can’t avoid the smell of cooking unless you happen to be standing outside a charity shop. I imagine they don’t go in for feeding the public, just dressing them.
And woe betides you if you want to purchase something! You can get it on-line, Madam is now a familiar piece of advice. A week ago I saw a top I liked in the colour I wanted. As ever, they didn’t have it in size 16 (UK size). I say as ever because this happens every time. It would be okay if I wanted a 10, 12, 14, 18, or 20 but they never have a 16. The excuse is that the company only sends two garments in each size and because 16 is the most common size they sell out quickly.
Yesterday, since I was back in town, I decided to look again. Still no size 16. Ah well, if I couldn’t have the blue I’d take one of the latest pinks ... guess what ... no 16 in that colour either.
Can I order it?
You can order it on-line, Madam, but you would have to pay for delivery.
The lesser of two evils!
I challenged the assistant about the repeated lack of my size and she stated that in all her three years service it had been ever thus. She continued for a good ten minutes, describing every policy detail adopted by the supplier, at the end of which she offered to go and look in the stockroom. I didn’t decline the offer, although I had been there before, needlessly waiting for the assistant to come back empty handed. Well this time I was wrong, she stepped off the escalator clutching two tops. ‘The last ones,’ she murmured, a trifle sheepishly. One blue and one pink. I took both and resisted the urge to ask why in a whole week she had failed to replace stock, even though her words they only send two garments in each size were ringing loud and clear inside my head.
Next time I want something to wear I might be forced to try the charity shops, followed by lunch and possibly a hair-do.
On a more positive note, whilst surfing the Internet I saw the outfit I wanted for my birthday bash. I went to the same store, different franchise, and talked to the manageress. I had gone armed with photograph (thank goodness for smart phones) so she could see for herself which outfit I wanted. The response was positive, she not only ordered it (by phone) but she got it in store by next day and phoned to tell me. I was there like a flash just after the store opened and there was my outfit, pressed and ready to try on. Now that is what I call service.
The difference between the two incidents is this: the manageress was an older (although to my eyes still young) person whereas the one with three years’ service was nought but a beginner who hadn’t yet learned the trade. How long does it take to learn a job, that’s what I want to know!