Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Happy Shopper

A rare thing happened today, a conversation in a shop. It wasn’t a high street chain mind, but an independent shop. It made me think what a rare experience actual contact during shopping is, as opposed to the usual small talk.

With crowded high street shops & short tempered staff, and the growth of de-personalized online shopping, it’s hard to find a consumerist experience worth discussing. But you know when you come across it. You get that tingling feeling along your spine, the way telephone surveys make you feel – like someone random actually cares what you think. Living in a big city, it’s hard to find such intimacy. Usually the streets are too full to care about the squabbles of passers by, or to allow the space & time conversation needs to flow. There’s a lot of rush, and I imagine you’re always wishing the person in front would speed up. It’s a bit like driving really, accept we have no mirrors, so when change lane and pull out in front of another person, we end up being the slow person ourselves.

A logical step for this conversation would be to complain about the lack of independent shops & the proliferation of high street chains, especially as the shop in question was a record shop. However, sometimes the anonymity of the high street can be a blessing - some indies are hugely intimidating, with star tattooed hipsters grinning at your taste, bearded nose pieced hedgehogs wearing t shirts with flames on the back or simply unhelpful staff caught up in their own trials & tribulations to notice the drowning customer.

Today I had a good chat, had a good listen, and was given some pretty top recommendations. I’d like to see Amazon get it right first time...

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