Why Retail Is Dying, Part Two

02 January 2012
We live in a dormitory suburb. Everyone heads off to the city on the train in the morning and returns at night. There are a lot of pretty little local shops and cafes, but not many people around during the weekdays to patronise them. Being the summer holidays right now though, there are lots of people around during the day. You'd think the local small retailers - independent shops mostly selling $30 candles, artistic greeting cards, and wrought iron chairs - would be revelling in the increased trade.

But they are all closed, off on their long summer vacation. Most of the local retailers are shut for the next week, some until well into January. Of course small business owners need to go on holiday just as much as the rest of us but - considering we're always hearing that retail is dying, especially independent suburban businesses as people abandon their local shops for the lure of the mega mall - shouldn't they at least try to be around when their customers are?

It stretches the bounds of credibility. Following months on the lounge with BabyG and extreme indulgence over Christmas, I need to take drastic action. I'd say I need to lose my baby weight, but then people would ask how many babies I've actually had. Anyway, I've decided to kick things off this week by doing a detox. DH helped me research, even if he remained a bit cynical about the whole thing. "Chia seeds? Nut butters? The people who wrote this diet must run a health food store", he said as he reviewed a menu plan. "I know, aren't they awful", I replied, "trying to make a living helping people feel better". (DH is actually a vegetarian himself, but before you have visions of quinoa and kelp, he is actually a proudly unhealthy eater. He just doesn't eat meat. An Oporto vegie burger, chips and Lift is his kind of thing. A detox diet is not). Anyway I put together a lengthy list of detox foods and, grateful for the fact we live near one of Sydney's best organic food marts, called to check what time they opened today.

They're closed, of course, for another week and a half. Good grief. Not only is everyone on holidays, but also still making a pretence of sticking to their new year's resolutions to shape up and eat right, and the local organic and health food store is closed. I ended up getting what I needed from the supermarket, which had a surprisingly good range. Small retailers - I want to support you, but help me out here. If you want business - if you are dying, as you claim - try being open when your customers are around and want to do business with you, okay?

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