The End, for now.

Jan 17, 2013 No Comments by

Happy New Year HMV, Jessops, Blockbuster and, belatedly, Comet, high street retailers that sold stuff Tech Fogey writes about and now no more.  Are we sad not be able to travel several miles to be constantly in someone’s way while browsing DVDs of shit movies only because they were ‘cheap’ rather than simply unjustifiably, heinously overpriced (HMV)?  And because of Spotify we no longer buy CDs (although commentators hoping to suck up to the music industry won’t ever mention this dynamic but choose to blame piracy/file-sharing for the demise of hard copy retail tunes). Do we miss being strong-armed by some eager dweeb into choosing between Nikon and Canon because they pay the best commission (Jessops)?  Given the advent of Love Film and Netflix can we think of one reason for Blockbuster’s existence to continue? Are we bereft because we can no longer deliberate between ten ugly, mediocre toasters while browsing a bank of TVs set to retina-searing DYNAMIC mode that cost significantly less on Amazon (Comet)?

The death of the high street.  It’s a national tragedy.  Is it bollocks.  Most shops are shite, staffed by oafs, selling crap.  If they weren’t, punters would prise themselves away from their smartphones and tablets and walk through the doors (helpfully wedged wide open even in the coldest weather and fuck the environment).  While all around are bleating about ‘difficult trading conditions’ or somesuch flannel, John Lewis seems to be doing alright.  Why might that be, soothsayers of high street retail trends?  Because they sell stuff people want to buy in a decent space with staff who aspire to be more than merely sentient.  It might help that all John Lewis employees have shares in the business – a vested interest which seems to translate into their being informed and helpful.  Imagine!  And if you buy a TV from John Lewis they give you a 5 year guarantee, making them a proper alternative to Amazon who don’t. Contrast with good old Halfords, which came last out of 100 in a recent Which? customer satisfaction survey of high street retailers.  How do they manage to keep going while employing legions of shiftless trolls?  Maybe the peanuts Halfords pays are especially nutritious.  Would anyone be surprised or shed the tiniest tear if Halfords went tits up?  TF is quietly astonished they’ve lasted this long.  Perhaps de-icer really is that profitable.

There have been many changes wrought by technology; some good, some not-so-good but the move towards buying online instead of buying in a shop is not a development TF is especially saddened by.  The only attendant mystery is how Ford didn’t manage to turn this dynamic into a huge sales surge for Transit vans.