All the signs are that winter has arrived. We changed to the heavier weight duvet yesterday, I’m a Celebrity is approaching its climax, the shops are packed with panicky gift hunters and Morrisons supermarket has unveiled its Easter egg aisle.
But there has been cheery news amid the cold and damp. Miss P had finally heard that she has been successful with her masters studies at Manchester University. Her family nickname is Bee, but she is now known as BSc MA.
Back to ‘winter’ though, the traffic jams around the town centre, the ‘full’ signs at the car parks and the queues at the checkouts are proof positive that the Christmas shopping madness has begun.
I had to pop into Stockport to buy a scart lead converter, something I expected to take ten minutes or so. What I hadn’t allowed for was the sheer number of shoppers wandering around Currys or the length of the queue at the till. Or having to sit in a traffic jam just to get out of the car park.
And they say there’s a recession on and that we’re all buying our stuff from the internet. It shows that when it comes down to it, people like to see what they’re buying before they buy it.
I mulled this through while I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel and came up with my idea for having the best of both worlds which is to bring online shopping to the high street.
It first came to me when worrying about the bookshops that are dwindling thanks to Amazon. People are browsing their shelves, making a not of the books they fancy, then going home and buying them cheaper on the web or downloading them to their Kindle. I know because I’ve done it myself.
The ultimate outcome will be that high street profits will collapse and the shops will close. And I find that very sad and a little worrying. The thing about bookshops is that when you browse, you come across titles that you might not otherwise have known about. If we start relying on Amazon’s recommendations then we’ll all end up missing them.
So my idea is that turn themselves into a browsing library with just one or two copies of each title and where people can go to the counter to order for next day delivery or for their Kindle.
The shops would be smaller and so cost less in rent and rates and there would be much better central stock control.
You could even extend the idea to have a large store with lots of different online businesses who could showcase their wares on the high street and offer a free there and then order service at internet prices.
Remember who thought of this first!