November 18th, 2004


Shopping Update

So, like, I went into Smakosz, Stamford Hill's newest shopping experience yesterday. Oh dear, did communism really make people forget so much about how to run a shop? Here's my opinionated set of blunders. It helps me to think out my own shop better:

1. Obscuring front window with external vegetable tray. Yes, having fresh veg is a good thing, but don't stop people's eyes from being able to travel into the shop itself. And, aside from Polish onions, where are the mushrooms? These people must be from Wroclaw or somewhere...

2. Arrangement of product. The British stuff is at the front, the Polish at the back. I'd do it the other way around, but.... see below. Also everything is against the wall. Create some shopping rhythm, put a couple of small tables out, break up the symmetry.

3. There's hardly any stock in there. It looks fairly much like the People's Choice that opened last year and then shut. The interior is actually quite nice, but they're struggling to fill it. There are empty spaces. No, no, no. I don't mean to be cruel, I suspect they've only so much money. But the deli fridge has only one sausage in it and there's no Polish cheese or, alas, pierogi. That's a lot of electricity to burn for the one sausage. With Kolos down the hill, they are going to struggle for more than the occasional shopper. Okay, they do sell my tobacco. Maybe the stock will improve, but you've lost people already probably. In with a bang, not a whimper, I say. Well, with shops anyway.

4. Staff. The man sits on a chair by the door looking morose. He opened it for me, which I liked, but the staff need to be seen to be occupied, even if they're faking it. And make an effort with the clothing, shell suits aren't shopwear.

It is, however, nevertheless a quintessentially Polish shopping experience recreated. Maybe it's an installation? Cunning... Nie ma, nie ma, nie ma...

I bought a jar of mushrooms (which have carrot in them for Zbygniew's sake. The Lithuanian are much better) and one of sorrel, just to keep them happy and vaguely solvent.

I went to Waitrose this morning. Spent too much money, that's why I can't shop there. Bought two tins of own brand espresso, Waitrose's own product is always top notch, only £4 the pair.

The Morrisons is apparently being sold to Somerfield. Peas in a pod, I suspect, but we'll see.

Finally, Bovril is becoming beef free to appeal to vegetarians and halt declining sales. Is that news? Do I actually care?

Back to work.