A couple of years ago I learnt about the concept of Black Friday in the USA. It takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving and is when the USA shops go into the black as people shop till they drop after a day of Thanksgiving the day before. All the shops compete to give the best deals and get the most money out of consumers.
I was very disturbed to learn that Black Friday has also come to the UK in this article link it is about Amazon but all the big brands were in a frenzy to get our cash. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/9696372/UKs-Black-Friday-shopping-frenzy-keeps-Amazon-busy.html. The media seemed to be full of this Black Friday concept.
And it got me thinking. Now I would be lying if I said I don’t buy from big brands I do and although I have managed to avoid shopping in any supermarket other than the co-operative (Good with Food) for nearly two years now. We are far from being brand free and to be honest think this would be pretty much impossible to do. And I realise that big brands create jobs and boost the UK economy and there is a place for them. But a place for them not 100% domination. There is also a place for local shops and it concerns me when the big brands particularly the supermarkets come in that local shops go out of business. Here in the Scottish Borders in my view local shops in Galashiels and Hawick have been decimated due to the arrival of the big four. Every time you visit either town another shop has closed its doors while the supermarket car parks are full.
So can I make a plug this Christmas that you think of shopping locally as much as possible and support the wee guys. Not just because they are there but because in the majority of cases they sell great things that you won’t see everywhere and often made locally by crafts people. But also because they are there and if you don’t support them you might find that next year they are gone.
Finally I would like to also plug the village that I live in St Boswells. Apart from the co-operative (Good with Food) which is staffed with locals with a welcome smile it’s all local shops here. Two particular mentions. Firstly the St Boswells Post Office. I would like to thank them for outstanding service on Sunday. My daughter and I went in to get some card for Christmas cards she is making. The owners daughter was serving. She searched high and low for card for us. She then offered to order some in for us. I was already pretty pleased with this service. But icing on the cake she then appeared at the door with said card which she had found and then as I had no change went off again and came back with my change. Are you impressed? I was and my daughter was delighted.
Yesterday also saw the opening of our new deli and home shop at Mainstreet Trading. Mainstreet Trading opened up a couple of years ago a cafe and bookshop which has transformed our wee village into a destination to visit. As they have I believe the best bookshop ever. I know a huge boast but one that the givers of the many awards they have received agree with so not just my exaggerations. (OK maybe I am biased but honestly its that good and I have visited and bought from many bookshops in my time.) Mainstreet now have added a deli and home shop in the barn giving people even more reasons to visit and stay awhile and while they do visit other shops in the village. And giving us villagers some yummy treats without having to travel too far afield.
So Black Friday? It gave me a feeling of gloom that mass consumerism wins again and yet again the UK follows the USA. But the service in our local post office? And the new developments at our Independent Bookshop? They gave me a reason for hope and a smile on my face. We can keep local if we support it. So this Christmas shop local and support the wee guys too.