While shopping at our local super market, I took up my usual position sitting by the checkouts at the warm end.
Watching the endless procession of customers using the self serve points.
Last year they had just one row with three self service machines and a member of staff to oversee things.
Now they have six rows with a total of eighteen machines still only one staff.
Its not just the supermarkets, large news retail chains. Banks all going the same route.
For several years now I have been able to pay in cash, cheques get information all from a machine at my branch.
With the internet I can do all the above and much, much more sitting at home.
At this point I started to cast my mind back to when I first bought a model kit.
1948 I was ten years old. All our pocket money then we had to earn doing odd jobs for 1 or 2 pence. Old money, if lucky 3 pence but not often.
Those jobs involved a cycle ride five miles each way into town, going ok, it was downhill but coming back uphill a loaded bag balanced on the handlebars a little too much for little legs to manage so it was push it back, and very pleased if the reward was 3 pence.
A model kit costing 2 shillings & 6 pence was a lot of hard work, so a much cherished possession.
Our model shop was the local & only cycle shop called Ricketts, run solely by Mr Rickett.
More cycle repairs than sales, but he saw a potential market in and sold modest fishing items, toys, including model kits. The latter because he was an avid aeromodeller, also chairman of the local club. Mr Rickett had an artificial leg, one of those no knee joint type which meant somewhat restricted his movement. Not the war he had been involved in a very bad motorcycle accident.
Five years later 1953 in pre craft training prior to signing my articles as an engineering apprentice, earning the princely sum of 1 pound, 2 shillings & 4 pence a week.
Able to afford a small 1cc diesel engine, to power my first free flight model.
Mr Rickett very shrewd used to award a kit to a club junior he judged to have shown most promise over the year. Mine was a F/F Sky leader Zipper.
I was awarded it about a month before my birthday.Now the shrewd bit.
The awards were selected from his shop, not the popular everyone wants kit, so rather than gather dust he gave it as an award.
Always given a little before the selected junior’s birthday. This generated further sales in his shop.
That sale in my case it was a diesel engine.
He always gave excellent service to all whatever you bought.
Kits it was advice how to build and get the best out of your model. If he thought it was a little too advanced for you, he told you so, advising an alternative often a much cheaper kit too.
Buy an engine from him, out the front of the shop would come his test bench
He would go through everything with you, safe operation and settings etc, then start it up so you saw it running.
That was good old time service.
To day some retailers employ staff only interested in trying to sell you something far more expensive, than you want or need.
Sales and commission driven rather than. With good service we may have a repeat customer.
That is, if they put down their mobile phone and face you instead of looking the other way totally ignoring you.
Unless it’s a nice big expensive item. Something about £5 or under no chance. (Hell will freeze over first).
So in that instance the internet is the best option.
The wind of change is certainly having it's effect in the High Street.
The Mr Rickett type do still exist! they are the people who own the small local shop or its their own business they are running.
We should appreciate what they do for us, and support them.
The alternative is a Bluetooth Zombie, Vending machines or Internet.
said wake up, put that
box away time to go.