Friday, January 2

Farewell to Woolies (rearranging the deckchairs)

The UK version of Woolworths has gone bust after 100 years of trading in the UK.

I visited a branch couple of weeks ago, expecting to feel a rush of nostalgia for the old place, but I couldn’t feel much attachment. I popped into another branch on New Year’s Day and did feel very sorry for the staff on the tills at least – it must have put a curb their New Year's Eve festivities for a start. And for what? The store was more or less devoid of customers but the three of them manned their posts in case of a sudden onslaught, despite the empty aisles. The shop had been reduced to a vast aircraft hanger space of empty shelves and fittings (all for sale).

In the absence of anything else to look at, I found myself noticing all the jolly overhead display photographs for sweets and toys for the first time. A tiny smattering of stock remained in one corner of the shop but a few staff were busy rearranging it, in case any gaps made it look untidy. Deckchairs ... Titanic, and all that.

An excuse for some Nanci Griffith

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