Touched by the won­der of Wool­worths

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

NOT since the death of Princess Diana has there been such an out­pour­ing of emo­tion. We haven’t quite seen flow­ers pil­ing up out­side its doors and a trib­ute song by Sir El­ton but it might not be long. Yes, the demise of Wool­worths – now to be re­ferred to as “the peo­ple’s store” – ap­pears to have struck a chord with shop­pers whose shock at the news that they might be de­prived of the chance to buy a bag of pick and mix (which al­ways comes out much more ex­pen­sive than you thought) rep­re­sents some kind of tragic re­tail tsunami. I must ad­mit the plight of Wool­worths does have a kind of emo­tional tug that frankly I can never see be­ing trig­gered if say, Tesco, got into sim­i­lar prob­lems. I popped into my lo­cal high street branch at the week­end and it was rammed with peo­ple de­ter­mined to get their fix of its idio­syn­cratic mix of cheese graters, wooden coat hang­ers and Spi­der­man out­fits be­fore the ad­min­is­tra­tors swooped and pulled down the shut­ters. The cus­tomers, you fancy, would prob­a­bly not take much per­suad­ing to join a march on West­min­ster to press the coun­try’s leaders that they must do some­thing. Who knows? I might even join them. I con­fined my­self to buy­ing a cou­ple of light bulbs and as usual, when I got home one had bro­ken al­ready. Rather tellingly, I couldn’t bring my­self to re­turn to the store and de­mand a re­place­ment. It would have been like kick­ing a man when he’s down. I can’t ever re­mem­ber for­feit­ing my con­sumer rights in a ges­ture of sol­i­dar­ity for a shop be­fore but the eco­nomic down­turn is in­duc­ing peo­ple to be­have in strange ways. The only co­nun­drum I face is what to do with a bro­ken 60 watt bulb - a soft tone at that, too. I just can’t throw it away. Per­haps I shall keep it as a me­mento and in its way, it would be a rather ap­pro­pri­ate one as the lights go out over one of our favourite shops...

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