Last week I spent £65.50 on my shopping. I'm an extravagant shopper, but I like to have lots of goodies to eat in my house of 2 1/2 people. I went to 5 of my local shops. I bought some succulent mangoes, some vivid fragrant coriander and some organic, flavourful beef amongst other things. I know all of my shop keepers even though I've lived in my area for only 2 months. My son was cuddled and cooed over. Several sweets were offered. My newsagent told me about the ins and outs of running a marathon. I met a mother from our nursery.
It took me 40 minutes door to door and I didn't drive. I have done a similar shop at Waitrose (£95) and at Tesco (£78). Neither competes in terms of quality of fruit, veg, meat and fish in my eyes.
I am lucky. I have lots of local shops near me. I keep an eye on the prices and know which shops are better for which. People continue to flock to this area and the ready made community that these little shops create. My mother lives in an area with no local shops. Her nearest is a massive Tesco. She doesn't know anyone in her area (except her immediate neighbours). She has been there 15 years.
Having lots of local shops fosters a sense of community. We therefore have to look much closer at the role shops play. We can't thrown their role in the landscape of our lives off lightly. This report is short sighted. Let's look at the dominating role they play in our communities and take a more holistic approach.