Woolies: One fi­nal good buy?

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

AL­MOST every­one has mem­o­ries as­so­ci­ated with Wool­worths. Nos­tal­gi­cally they are usu­ally happy ones. As a very young boy liv­ing in south Lon­don I re­mem­ber go­ing on trips to the lo­cal branch of Wool­worths ev­ery Satur­day morn­ing with my much older brother, who had just started work­ing, and he would buy me a cou­ple of plas­tic toy sol­diers. The col­lec­tion soon built up and our weekly trips to Woolies be­came some­thing for me to ea­gerly look for­ward to. Over the years, hav­ing out­grown sol­diers, I re­mained a fre­quent vis­i­tor to Wool­worths. I re­mem­ber fondly the record booths where you could go and ask to lis­ten to the lat­est hit record without the slight­est in­ten­tion of buy­ing the disc. As time wore on it was a place where foot­ball boots were bought and as I moved into adult­hood a handy place to buy things like screws and the odd ham­mer. More re­cently Woolies could al­ways be re­lied upon for bar­gain Christ­mas cards, al­though not al­ways in the best pos­si­ble taste as Kenny Everett used to say. And then it re­cently emerged that the com­pany was strug­gling and couldn’t find a buyer. So last Thurs­day there was a tinge of sad­ness for me as I walked past the Ash­ford branch of Wool­worths to see clos­ing down sale signs plas­tered right across the win­dows. Some­how the crowds of bar­gain hun­ters gath­ered out­side to make the most of the up to 50 per cent re­duc­tions seemed slightly like a bunch of vul­tures cir­cling a car­cass, al­though of course many were just there to snap up a good deal and oth­ers no doubt just wanted to wal­low in nos­tal­gia of the good old days. It will be im­mensely sad if Woolies even­tu­ally goes to the wall and the name dis­ap­pears from our high streets. Let’s hope for old times sake a buyer is found and at least some of the stores re­main an in­te­gral part of our shop­ping cul­ture as they have been for nearly a cen­tury.

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