Is it self-service that we really wish
I was talking to a young woman trying to make her way as a florist. >From what I’ve seen of her work, it has been of the highest standard, but not only she is worried about the future, but the wholesalers, selling the flowers and specialities to the florists. It appears that Marks & Spencer’s, who currently have a good reputation for their floral displays, are now proposing to move fully into the supply of ordered Floral arrangements, for all occasions, which will then put a high proportion of the florists out of business. Not long ago I wrote about the problems of being a florist in that there were only few occasions in the year, such as Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, in which they can sell enough to balance out the rest of the year. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to realise that a company with representation in every town and city in the country, able to purchase the best of flowers, in such large quantities, thus getting advantageous prices, will inevitably price everyone else out of the market.
The same thing is happening with various forms of insurance, and other necessities, where chemists, stationary merchants, hardware merchants, clothing merchants and many others are steadily being pushed to the wall, because they haven’t the turnover that attracts discounts that make all the difference. The government is worried about unemployment, and this form of encroachment is doing nothing to reduce that condition. It is clear that these big supermarkets are in competition, and when one achieves a new outlet, the others by the very nature of things will be forced to follow.
You only have to go into the shops and you realise that it is purely self-service, where the purchaser has only got the choice offered by the shop, and no other alternatives as the smaller traders no longer exist. The ratio of personal service to customers in a small shop, is infinitely greater than that in a supermarket, by the very nature of the service. I have previously given the case of the person who went to a decorators outlet to purchase wallpaper, and was offered a tremendous variety to choose from. She then discovered that the multiple shop had her choice at a lower price. This principle, means that specialist shops are rapidly disappearing from our high streets, because their advantage lay in the fact that they were specialists, offering a special service. Go to a supermarket and it is a case of serve yourself, from a limited selection. In the long run we are the losers.