Things I don’t understand, 4, Supermarkets

This credit crunch is hitting everyone, even large cartels, and from what I read, the average solution appears to be to cut down on staff. Even large companies engaged in professional type commerce, such as the law and architecture are doing it. If you go into any supermarket today you will find it difficult to get help, because the staff is now running the place on a shoestring, and probably worked to death. The real problem though is that the supermarket is generally an out-of-town based conglomeration of two or three large stores, and a host of small ones selling specialized merchandise. Scattered among the housing estates, there are also franchised shops that are a small version of the supermarket. This situation means that there is little choice outside what is chosen by the supermarkets, and the franchises. In the old days corner shops catered mainly for the customers within their orbit, and passing trade was a plus. The corner shop was staffed relative to the trade. The other shops that we have today, are staffed according to some formula related to the size of the emporium rather than the number of customers, with long queues in consequence.

What I don’t understand is why the government is giving planning permission for yet more and more supermarkets which is having a number of deleterious effects, such as unemployment, excessive driving to reach them, and the inevitable waste that vast choice generates. The alternative would be the local shops which instead of being tiny and tightly packed with goods, as so many of them are today, they would be like they were in the old days, well-designed and room enough for more than just a couple of people, and knowing their customers personally, providing a better service, and a better quality and freshness of product. It is my experience that at weekends and sale time, the roads, to and from these markets, are jam packed with cars, parking within them is also difficult, and because of the size of these large conglomerations, shopping would appear to have become a past-time rather than a necessity. I find this stultifying, and a way of life that does nothing for the health of those participating, especially concerning the ready-made meals, which are universally accepted as being a source of obesity.

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