Wednesday, 26 October 2016

What has disappeared from...

...your High Street?

The beginning of October saw the last of our banks withdraw from the High Street in our town and last night saw a lot of frustrated folk getting off the train and finding that only one of the remaining ATMs in the town was actually working. Something that is becoming all too familiar... more & more banks jump on the "let's push digital" band-wagon.

I may be a 'stick in the mud' but I don't want to do everything on-line and I don't want to deal with row upon row of machines - I want to deal with a person.

When we moved to this area, many moons ago, our high street was a wonderful mix. We had a good selection of banking facilities...Barclays, Midland, Lloyds, Nationwide, TSB and of course the Post Office. Now all we have is the Post Office which is little more than a raised desk in the local newsagent's where there is normally only one member of staff flitting between serving papers and dealing with post & banking.

There were a couple of supermarkets, chemists, pet-shops, grocers, butchers, general stores, hardware stores, utilities, hairdressers, shoe-shops........all the things you would expect in a small country town centre. Now all we seem to have is Estate Agents and Take-aways - not fabulous for an area with a high pensioner population.

A mile down the road we have another town centre and things are just as bad there as many of the banking facilities have disappeared over the years (or combined). It was great when Barclays combined with The Woolwich as in Corringham they adopted the Woolwich opening hours - Saturday morning opening - great for those of us that don't always have time during the week.......last weekend that came to an end and staff were telling folk not to worry "they could use the post office"????

The Media keep telling us that society is becoming very isolated and kids can't communicate well - what do they expect when there is becoming less opportunity for human, face-to-face interaction.

We live in a world of constant change and we have wonderful technology available to us but we really shouldn't be losing out on human contact.

I work in an area where there is a very high level of shoplifting in the shopping mall - virtually every store has a security guard and there are more wandering around the mall. Yet the likes of Lidl, Poundland, Sainsburys and Wilko have replaced loads of the checkouts with self service tills - are they mad? If they were freeing up staff to wander around being 'visible' there might be some sense to it but they haven't - you can never find an assistant when you need one so they have actually used this move to reduce staff.

I work with PCs every day and I am currently typing this on my home PC - fabulous - but I like to meet & talk to people; real people. So I will continue to support my local stores (the ones that remain) and hope that the High Street doesn't disappear completely.............................................

1 comment:

Sandra said...

I know, its so frustrating, and I worry more for those jobs lost. Yet,it seems a lot of shop assistants prefer it. I was trying to buy a magazine in WH Smith a few weeks ago and the woman behind the till, was getting really annoyed with us all waiting. She kept pushing us to do the self scan. When a gentleman told her he'd rather wait. She actually huffed at him, and walked off!!!

I do tend to buy from smaller stores these days, as I think the service is better ... same with online stores, I've had fabulous service from Etsy people.

Like you, I so hope our high street doesn't disappear. We lose the art of interacting with people on a day to day and face to face basis.