A Trip Back In Time
I tend to do most of my shopping online where possible. That's simply because it's more convenient, allowing me to shop from the comfort of my own home.
Price is also vital to me, of course - I want to be sure that I'm getting the best possible prices. I rely heavily on carrying out price comparisons and searching for voucher codes where I can.
But things weren't always this way. There was a time when I did most of my shopping in high street store. I decided to visit one such store the other day. I'll avoid mentioning the name of the store here, but they were a popular retailer of footwear.
What were my experiences?
As I approached the store along the street, I saw a very familiar scene. The shop looked, from the outside, much as it had done for some years. There were some baskets and racks containing "clearance sale" items, placed either side of the main entrance.
A quick look through these revealed some shoes that certainly looked to be pretty good value, although they weren't necessarily suited to my own tastes.
As I entered the shop, I was struck by just how little seemed to have changed since I'd last visited such a store. Although we've lived through a technological revolution, it seems that the world of traditional shoe retailing has not changed much. That's not necessarily a bad thing.
Shoes were displayed on rows of shelves. There were usually multiple shoes of the same style on each shelf - usually one in each size. The fact that there was only one struck me as slightly bizarre - is it to deter shoplifters? It certainly makes it harder for them to steal a pair.
When it comes to trying shoes on, things are also more difficult as a result of this policy. You can either try on one shoe and hop around a bit, or you can try and attract the attention of the shop assistant. I opted for the latter approach.
The assistant disappeared into the store room and returned with the other pair of my chosen shoe style, in the size that I'd indicated. I put on both shoes and had a walk round the shop, stopping occasionally in front of a mirror. They looked pretty good and didn't feel too bad.
Having said that, it appears to me that shoes often don't start to rub until you've worn them for a good hour or two anyway.
I decided to make a purchase and generally felt surprisingly happy with the whole shopping experience but it did occur to me that there was one problem with shopping in this way: I had no idea whether I had got value for money.
That is a clear issue when using stores of this type. It's very difficult to compare prices. The range of shoes on offer was also relatively poor - they certainly didn't have any of my current favourite brand - the very comfortable fly flots.
Yet the shop seemed to still be pretty well used. It's clear that high street shoe shops do still have plenty of customers.