Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Wool-Worth-It?



Pray For Them...


I heard yesterday that Findus have begun administration proceedings. I was mortified. Will I never again experience the gastronomic fascination provided by the Crispy Pancake? The breaded mystery, the crumbed enigma that has baffled since its illustrious birth all that have gazed upon its proud golden form. The mystical question. What actually is that creamy substance, that gelatinous interior essence that has the power to indiscriminately scald all in its path, and melt the digestive systems of entire populations of students? Perhaps we will never know, and more is the pity..


And this, after I am only just recovering my composure at the loss of everyone’s favourite high street train wreck, Woolworths. The sad demise of the store was only transcended by the tear-jerking moment when their woefully misplaced and ineffectual TV advertising characters, the sheep and dog combination of Wooly and Worth, were soothingly led to the loading bay, where in a scene reminiscent to the climax of ‘Of Mice and Men’, they were told to look unto the horizon. ‘Can you see it, Worth?’ asked the administrator. ‘Just over there, can you see it? A lush green field beyond yonder rainbow, where bunnies hop, where the grass grows greener than any sheep could ever dream of and where the horrible PR men can never touch you? Look, do you see it?’ And, as they innocently craned their necks to glimpse this divine oasis, their brains were blown out mercifully from behind by his shotgun…


Aah yes, Woolworths. Oh to recount the days when one could peruse the aisles of a single store and approach the checkout, in one visit, clutching a bounty of bargains including an ironing board, a newspaper, several of last century’s chart CDs, a pair of children’s shoes and a selection of over priced chewy sweets. What will we do without it? Whilst it is no laughing matter to the good people who once worked at their stores up and down the country, it is the nature of the Pick’n’Mix beast. The sad fact is that Woolworths were and are irrelevant in today’s Internet led retail climate. Had it embraced the phenomenon and looked to flog cheap CD players and pillowcase sets online, it might, maybe, have escaped its inevitable doom; one that has caused more than a fair share of its high street competitors to slash prices on their on-sale items, which as a result of the ravenous credit crunching monster, were already on sale anyway.


Tough times indeed for the high street. Which begs the question, what next? Will the onset of a recession and the onslaught of online shopping activity render that once lucrative stretch of buildings between the KFC and Mcdonalds (for they will surely survive) completely barren? Will there come a time when the only jobs that exist in the retail market be computer operatives, processing orders in a dingy office block in Slough, and Royal Mail delivery drivers? Not even Orwell predicted that. A few may survive this holocaust, as cockroaches to a Nuclear winter, but I fear not the majority. Our world is changing so rapidly and dramatically towards an Internet revolution that it is a serious possibility only a selection of the most tangible services such as food and drink, will escape being rendered obsolete by the information deluge. You can bet your ever-diminishing Pound that these will be administered by Tesco and its major competitors that currently ride the corporate ocean; an oligarchy that for a long time has been buoying itself with the drowning of others.


Perhaps not. Maybe everything will recover and we will venture once more on to the streets of our cities and towns once this cloud of recession has rained its worst. I am dubious however whether this confluence, once rescinded, will leave with us anything remotely resembling the high street we knew growing up. The world is changing, and just as Facebook is the primary point of contact for most youngsters, so will the Internet be the first port of call when ordering a product or service.


You may laugh, but there may be a time when we speak of Woolworths to our grandchildren. We will reminisce about how in our day we actually used to have to leave our homes to buy our Christmas decorations and lets be honest, just how shit it really was…

2 comments:

Tom said...

I laugh in the face of your so-called 'internet'. Haven't you heard? Telepathy is rapidly replacing those rusty wires.

jamesg said...

I think it was reagan that when asked what the difference between a recession and a depression was he replied ¨a recession is when your neighbour loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours¨¨. bloody right too