I seem to have a love hate relationship with the high street. I love a bargain but am finding myself shopping less and less on the high street. Pounding the street, that looks the same as any other town in the country, trying on clothes that don't fit, in small boxes that smell of someone else's BO.
For me, the main gripe though is the originality. I love towns where there are still different shops to look at, a place that doesn't have the same stock as the next place, but they are slowly disappearing, so the high street looks the same as every other town. Some women I've spoken to commented that they prefer a chain store as they can always return an item to a different store. But ladies how often do you return an item? Others say its the convenience, which I confess leads me down the road of temptation. However, when I think of the best service I have had in shops its the small independents. Where I used to live we had a fantastic ironmongers (I would love to say shoe shop or something a little bit more lady like there, but maybe its quite a nice thing that I'm not stereotypical). They still sold individual screws, not huge packets when you just want one. I felt completely at ease to go and get some advice on a DIY project.
I've always blamed the changing high street on the big chain stores, but it seems the times are a changing with the economy. This week a piece on the BBC News caught my eye. It was commenting on how Charity Shops were taking over vacant units. Then another article drew me to this on line petition: Let people control their high streets.
At present the local council can't block new betting shops on the high street, leading in some areas to them taking over the neighbourhood, the petition calls for a control on how many can open. The Daily Mail reported David Lammys MP comment that in this constituency of Tottemham there were 39 bookmakers and no book shops. So, as the big chain stores are moving to out of town retail centres the high street ends up made up of Charity Shops and Betting Shops. The high street takes a step further down the road of a place I don't want to be rambling down.