First of all, let me be clear – shopping is not a recreational activity in my book. It is simply functional. So, having cleared that up, we can proceed.
On Saturday we went into town, mainly because there is a (highly recommended) farmers’ market on the first Saturday of every month. Great produce, lots of variety and interesting stuff, good advice available but not cheap.
Before going to the market I was wandering around the streets and I noticed that another two shops had closed. Both had been well-established businesses in the city; both had good reputations; both provided good advice in my experience. They sold quality products that were not cheap. And if you read these descriptors and compare them with what I wrote about the Farmers’ Market you will see a significant degree of similarity.
So why is the Farmers’ Market (apparently) thriving, while shops are closing? I don’t know the intimate details of the shop closures, but I speculate that they were suffering from the competition from online sources. Unlike the market, they were offering generic products, readily available from online sources, but at a much lower price.
And as I’ve been ruminating on this situation, I’ve been asking myself, ‘Would I pay extra to buy from a local shop?’. I think that I would, but only up to a point. I’m happy to pay a bit extra at the Farmers’ Market, but for general consumer products, the gap in prices is just too great.