The shopping revolution

The shopping revolution is in full swing – big corporate machines taking over from the smaller independent retailers, and online purchasing becoming more popular than ever. But is the revolution inevitable or can small businesses make a comeback?

Maybe the small shops have to suffer, as a form of natural selection – the strong prevail and the weak flail at the sign of challenge – this is what I was taught in school, and I assume the curriculum hasn’t changed immensely on that point. So is it so hard to believe that this theory can (and, maybe, should) be applied to retail?

I have to admit, my favourite bookshop is the Camden lock bookshop in Old Street station, and I would much rather go there on my way home from work than trawl around a Waterstones for hours, continuously tripping over yuppie mums buying self help dieting books. And I try to avoid Amazon as much as possible, because, despite being cheap and having literally everything, it just feels so impersonal and makes it all the more hard to stumble upon those rare finds that one can discover in the corner of an independent bookshop.

My favourite clothing shops, however, are the cheap, mass produced, high street kind (and yes, I am aware that the majority of these shops are unethical in their production, but what can be gained from me, one individual, boycotting these establishments? At least I get a good deal!). I don’t do designer, and I find it tedious trying to find decent vintage wear.

When it comes to supporting small businesses, I believe it is simply down to personal choice, requirement and availability. However, quite understandably, there are communities of people (with more free time than me) who want to preserve as many local businesses as they can, and new innovations have been created that prove this.

The Bristol pound was launched recently, joining the 5 other local currencies in Britain including the Brixton pound. These local currencies have been developed to boost local spending, but are these innovations actually beneficial for the financial problems throughout the UK?

When it comes to local currencies, I find myself wondering if anyone would actually bother. I work full time and have a family to look after, so I doubt if I, personally, could find the time to exchange all my cash for the Bristol pound, let alone the fact that it would mean I would either have to carry around two forms of cash or completely limit myself in where I spend. Can I not show my support of local businesses by giving them my pounds sterling? Does that not make just as much difference to those small companies?

So, what are your opinions on the shopping revolution and the local currencies that are popping up around the country?

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