We were on holiday in Lanzarote last week. We’d rented a small apartment and spent our mornings hiking and afternoons sightseeing. On our second day, walking down a particularly steep track, I slipped and fell. I tend to do this once on each of our holidays and so it came as no surprise and to be honest I was glad to get it out of the way. However I grazed my right elbow quite badly and there was blood – mixed in with the grit. Lovely. Once it was cleaned up it was clear that I needed to get some sort of dressing to protect the wound and keep it clean. I really wanted something waterproof as there was a pool at our accommodation which was very inviting. To cut a long story short I managed to buy waterproof dressings with no problem at the first pharmacy I called in at.
I’d underestimated the need to change the dressing and soon realised I’d not bought enough. So when I got home I headed out to our local pharmacy. Whilst they were happy to sell me individual dressings in the size I required these were not waterproof. At the next pharmacy they could offer me waterproof but not in the larger size I required. I asked if they could order some in and they responded with the classic – ‘we don’t stock them as no-one buys them’ argument.
I wanted to buy plasters this time but the whole unable-to-get-stuff-in-a-shop game is familiar to me. I can rarely walk into a shoe shop and try on shoes – there are never any size 8 in the style I want. I would never dream of going clothes shopping in any of the large towns and cities near where I live – the choice for women of size is abysmal and that is if the dedicated fat-clothes shops have anything in stock in my size. To cap it all I couldn’t even buy my favourite environmentally-friendly laundry detergent because my local vegan shop no longer stock soap nuts.
And would you believe the last time I tried to buy my favourite skin toner at Debenhams it was not in stock. This is a major chain in a large city.
Talk about feeling thwarted.
And that is why I shop on-line more and more. I can source things I want, things I need. I get to browse and more often than not I have a choice. Postage is often free, it gets delivered to my door or pick-up point of my choice, I get to try stuff on in the comfort of my own home and returns are so simple with the advent of click and collect arrangements. Shopping in the real world is a distant memory.
Anyone who tries to make me feel guilty or responsible for the demise of the high street and city centre retail, who tries to persuade me that Amazon is evil, who tries to argue that shopping local is better for the environment – I retort ‘well if they stocked it I would buy it’.