You would have to be very naïve to believe that the high street’s decline is something of a recent   thing, the likes of supermarkets and out of town shopping centres both played their part in changing how we shop. 

However in more recent years we have started to see the likes of what we would call big shop’s coming to an end.  Previously we had been seeing the likes of independent shops closing down.  Such as when I was a teenager there was a great little record shop in town where I would go to buy my CD’s, which eventually got in to a position where it just couldn’t compete with the likes of HMV or Virgin Records.  Like many independent shops went to the great high street in the sky. This was a great shame; as I picked up some great albums that I would never have got in the main stream shops

We resigned ourselves to the fact that high streets and latter shopping centres like Meadowhall and the Trafford Centre would be dominated by the big shops.  Who would meet our consumer needs provide jobs and generally keep us happy till we maxed out our credit cards. 

Though slowly over the past 10-15 years a new menace has been creeping up on the retail industry one that is slowly but surely picking off its victims one by one, like Woolworths, Virgin Records, Blacks and Game.  A menace that can strike from miles away, cruising through the air like an exocet sinking retail outlets one by one. 

I am of course talking about the Internet and shopping online.  The handy convenient super high street that has everything there at a few clicks of a mouse.  Where you can sit in your pyjamas in the warmth of your own home and can order everything from abacuses to stuffed Zebras.  Where you don’t have to deal with the possibility of an inept shop assistant and the huddled masses clambering over the last copy of The Kings Speech special edition in 3D. 

Now some people will argue that the internet is a great thing, and shopping on it is fantastic and you can find anything you can think of and more.  You can go to an online shop and find 1000 different pairs of shoes in hundreds of different colours.  Because the diversity and range is just not on the high street any more. 

Yes, the diversity and the range has been lost from the high street but there is only one person to blame for that, and that is ourselves.  When we had the little independent shops there was more options on the high street, but people wanted cheaper and cheaper items which forced these shops out of business.  If we carry on with the growth of the internet then the shops that remain on the High Street and in the shopping centres will follow suit. We have already seen the likes of HMV, the last proper “record shop” having problems, because of the likes of I-tunes and Amazon.  If our last record shop goes it will be a very sad day for the high street.  We will end up with a generation not knowing what it’s like to go in to a record shop and thumb through all the cd’s to find new and exciting bands.   

While yes the internet can be a force for good, a place to debate with socialists, to find out the weather forecast for Corvo Island but I implore you if not for me but for future generations use the High Street.  Spend your hard earned money in a proper shop, an independent one if you can, because if we continue to spend online we will lose those shops and it may not matter to those of us who can shop online, but it will matter a lot to those people who don’t have that option.  So let’s support that High Street, let’s see a growth in independent shops let’s get back to being able to go out and shop in person and find what we want. 

The more we do it, the more choice we will get which is better for everyone.  As not only will we be able to find those red shoes we were after but jobs will be created the economy will blossom and we will make Britain Great again.   

 





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