Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Into Town

Following on from my recent rant about the pros and cons of shopping at Merry Hill, I ventured into Birmingham City Centre yesterday to do some more (theoretically last minute!) shopping.

Although by no means perfect, I have to say it was a much more pleasant experience and underlines my belief in shopping in “real” places.

Yes, there were a few undesirables hanging about but there was a much bigger choice of places to shop and things to buy (they have an Ian Allan for starters!). It might be different if you're interested in buying clothes as a leisure activity but I'm not so that doesn't count.

It was very sad though to see Border's Bookshop having their closing-down sale. I first encountered the Borders brand on a visit to Glasgow a few years ago and at once hoped that they would one day open a Birmingham shop. As well as an “intelligent” selection of books, they have the best range of magazines on the High Street and their staff always (always) seemed happy with their jobs and happy to be helping you. Seeing the place strewn with books looking like a slightly upmarket jumble sale was therefore especially sad but I suppose their “intelligent” market is the one most likely to use Amazon which has perhaps been their downfall. It was even sadder than the demise of Ottakar's (at least that and its staff lived on as part of Waterstone's).

City Centre shopping is evidently not dead, though, whatever the media might try to have us believe from time to time.

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