Shopping: as the song goes, ‘Things ain’t what they used to be’


Local shops 2I live minutes away from my local shops and rely on the generous opening hours of the small but adequate Sainsbury’s for my ‘through the week fresh produce’ and if I chance upon the right time in the evening, the odd bargain at the end of aisle one. Other than this shop, I tend to ignore the rest of Middleton Circus except for picking prescriptions up from Boots or the occasional emergency item from the ‘out of hours’ pharmacy.

Local shops are just not what they used to be.  Yes, I am of the age to talk about the good old days.  Do you remember the husband and wife team who owned the shop opposite the Middleton Arms – was it called Tallants? Mr Kershaw at Kershaw’s chemist? These people offered true service, yes they had a business to run, but it never seemed like that did it? They appeared to have all the time in the world to get to know their customers and provide a tailored service, they felt like friends and as such encouraged custom. Going back even further, I remember the days when local shops had chairs in them, welcoming people to tarry a while. Local shops were at the heart of the community.

Nowadays a shop can be a newsagent one minute, a pound shop the next and very soon be selling second hand clothes. Nothing is around for long and staff changes happen as often as a move in the wind direction. No wonder local shopping has lost its appeal when service is as faceless as in the big supermarkets and lacks the appeal of choice that they offer.

So, other than for the things I mentioned at the top of this article, I use a Supermarket to do my shopping.  Asda, et al, have created a different, but nonetheless enticing appeal for me. Shopping has become ‘an experience’ a destination where I can spend time perusing the latest novels, trying on clothes, drinking coffee etc, etc. I love shopping and I love supermarkets whilst enjoying the convenience of the local shop for my last minute items. If I had to do without one of the two I would say goodbye to my local shop instantly, no contest. However, bring back the Kershaws and Talents and well …

According to Wikipedia, the jazz standard “Things ain’t what they used to be” was made famous by Duke Ellington. It was written in 1942 by Mercer Ellington (music) and Ted Persons. It was later reprised by Max Bygraves as “Fings ain’t what they used to be”.


This article was written by Jane Haswell using our Community Reporters website

One Reply to “Shopping: as the song goes, ‘Things ain’t what they used to be’”

  1. I ignore most shops on Middleton Circus, Jane. Apart from Jack Fulton &amp gateway chemist.

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