Here in our nice, comfortable village where most of us are comfortably off and there are not many people we would call ‘poor,’ we may like to think we are safe from the ‘changing tides of international commerce, but the fact is that in the modern world economy we are all interconnected.
Here at WLOV we are keen to support local businesses, they are our lifeblood after all, and though no local business has as yet shown us any support by placing advertising with us, we are determined to extend the hand of friendship to our local traders.
That’s why I, Maisie, from WLOV went to see the Mr Malcolm Haxton the Chair of the body that represents our village’s local shops called – Our Villages’ Independent Shops (OVIS), whose drive and enthusiasm is behind a new plan for supporting our local shops.
When I saw Mr Haxton he was fresh from a ‘fact finding’ mission over in the United States as part of our village’s twinning programme with Thatcher, Arizona. When I asked Mr Haxton what he had learned on his trip to the States he replied “The one thing that I really learnt in my time in America is the level of sophistication, the average American shopper has. They really know how to shop over there, they really are light years ahead of the shoppers we get over here, and more particularly in this village.”
I asked Mr Haxton to expand on this point “you are saying that their shoppers are better than our shoppers and that is at the core of the problems our shops face?’
“Of course, that may sound overly simplistic and shifting the blame somewhat, but overall I would say a resounding ‘yes’ – British shoppers are letting us down. In the States, people generally buy more, more food for example – which is evident if you go there. And they buy more things as well. All sorts of things from computers and household appliances to all sorts of household gadgets. They just buy more things and if you look at things like fridges and cars – they buy bigger things as well.”
“I see this as a ‘virtuous circle of shopping’ – you buy more food, you need bigger clothes to wear, bigger cars to drive and bigger fridges to keep the food in. It all makes sense.’ British shoppers – though many of them are doing their best – are not there yet.”
And when I ask him “Are there any other things we could learn from the States?” Mr Haxton continues on the theme of criticising our shoppers “Yes, Yes” There’s plenty more our shoppers can learn – such as how to be generally more happy when shopping, more organised, more decisive and moan less about the price of things. But I am not simply here to ‘have a go at British shoppers, oh no – it’s all about education. We need to work with shoppers to get them to buy more and then we can all move forward. Here at OVIS we have worked together with local shops to draw up an action plan to get the village shopping again.”
Here at WLOV we are very keen to support any initiatives to support our retailers, so find out more about Mr Haxton in WLOV later in the week. What do you think of Mr Haxton’ views on the Great British shopper? Do they ‘fanny around’ too much? Could they learn something from their counterparts in The States – who are generally bigger and buy more things? Here at WLOV we’d love to hear your views.