Sigh of relief in essential retail

By Thomas Marks

Since the easing of lockdown rules, people are now allowed to go to shops which were deemed unnecessary retail before, Thomas Marks talks about his first-hand experience in the changes in essential retail. 

With supermarkets being the only place open they became a play centre, a place to meet up for a couple hours and a place to come every day for ‘necessary shopping’. 

Now all other shops have opened people decided they did not need to buy a handful of groceries at a time. There was a time when only 30 people were allowed in the shop I work in and I had to stand at the door of the shop like a bouncer at a night club, except that I wore a size small Home Bargains Uniform and draped in the biggest fluorescent jacket I have ever seen, with over 100 people eager to get in and buy their toilet roll. 

During the busiest times the demographic of shoppers was just like a nightclub with a lot of young adults, as they had very little to do while they were on furlough or as they no longer had a job. Now the demographic is a mixture of a parent and child meeting with a hint of bowels club.  

On one checkout there will be an elderly shopper spending more on their garden and wild animals then a student would spend on food for a year. With another till being occupied by a weary eyed parent and a crying child, who are buying a colouring book and a strong alcoholic drink normally an unusual flavour of gin like Parma violet (yes, it does exist for some reason) for relieving the stress of a rainy day with no play centres to turn to. 

The car park where my shop is used to be completely full, even though only two out the six shops were open. Now the carpark is still full, but the other shops are open, which means it is still a matter of chance if you can find a parking spot in the first 5 minutes of driving round. 

However, it is definitely the calm after the storm as lockdown restrictions ease and more shops open back up.