Today’s post was supposed to be about shopping local.
Yesterday morning when I went for my motorbike lesson I was going to stop at McDonalds on the way, to get breakfast, then I had another thought. Our village has after many years of nothing, acquired a local shop. This shop which is owned by a local resident, sells breakfast rolls, employs local people and buys products locally. Decision made, I would get my breakfast roll there.
The detour was less out of my way than going to McDonalds would have been and I know I got fresh local produce. Mainly because they got their delivery of rolls from the bakery just as I pulled up at the shop.
Enthused by my shop local start to the day, later that afternoon I thought I would continue to support out local economy and headed to our local butchers to get something for dinner.
I walked in behind a family who asked for some cold meat. Whilst the person serving was doing that I picked up a couple of nice looking ready meals and moved a few paces to the side to look at the counter. It is a rather small shop.
Another customer came in and I said hello as we passed each other in the narrow space.
Initial family were served and as they were getting their change I looked up expectantly to ask for some meatballs and place my two ready meals on the counter. The person serving completely blanked me, spoke to the guy who had come in behind me and went through to the back of the shop. It seems that quarter to three on a Saturday afternoon is too late to expect more than one person to be serving as you could hear someone scrubbing and cleaning in the background. Now there was no one serving.
I am sure you can imagine that I was a tad disgruntled at this. So much so I put my ready meals down and left.
My local town has two independent butchers. I went to the second butcher at the other end of town and headed straight for their prepared meals section. Then as I waited for a member of staff to appear I looked at the rest of the counters to see what I could get for the rest of the week. Whilst I checked out the counter a couple of times over, I could hear movement in the back of the shop.
There was no one else in the shop, just me, standing there, waiting to spend money. Probably looking to spend about £15- £20 all in all.
Then I heard the stirring of the hot drink, whether it was tea or coffee I don’t know, but someone was making themselves a beverage without looking at the shop counter. I was there for at least two minutes as I was perusing various items. On various occasions I was standing right in front of the opening to the back of the shop.
Needless to say, I left that shop as well. It was by then about 3pm on a Saturday afternoon and I had not managed to be served in either of the butchers in my local town. I ended up going to our local Co-Op store where the staff were working hard and being nice to customers.
If local businesses want local people to shop with them, they need to up their game. If people are making the effort to come into a local shop rather than get Tesco to deliver, you need to give them a reason to want to come back.