MY SoapBox: Let’s fight for our community August 28, 2017 – Posted in: Blog, Thoughts – Tags:

The world of shopping has changed so much over the last 100 years. Okay so I wasn’t around for some of it I’ve read about and seen some major changes. Can you even imagine shopping JUST where you live now? Walking down the street to pick up fruit and vegetables, bread, meat, clothes, books and everything else you needed. You got to speak to other residents and shop owners and find out about what is happening in the local area. You exchanged opinions, you talked regularly about what you liked and didn’t like, you had communication and connection with the people around you. The local shop owners were friends and people you spent time with outside shop hours.

 

Hi Bob, nice to see you in store today, how’s your mum feeling? what happened with the kids at soccer on the weekend? Have you found another job yet?. Bob knew the store owner was interested in what was happening with him and his family and in turn talked to the store owner about what was going on in his life.

 

What happened, how did we lose such vital communication, how and when did we stop asking about others and wondering about our community’s families and well-being? When did we start not sharing our lives with others and in turn not reaching out to our community?

 

I don’t know when this connection started to break down, research would show me a few events that occurred in the world that started to make us close off more and more to others but I propose that shopping and how that has changed is a lot to blame. It started with shopping malls and large unfriendly department stores. “Thank you for coming, have a nice day” was the best greeting they could offer. “Would you like fries with that” became common place in replacement of genuine communication. And then we slipped into the online shopping. We are able to shop at any hour of the day and anywhere in the world but talking to someone about a purchase has been reduced to chat boxes in the corner of our screens. We don’t even take our friends shopping with us anymore unless there sitting next to you in front of your computer screen at 10 pm when you decide you want to buy a new outfit.

 

It’s a social disaster and it’s only going to get worse if we don’t fight for the old ways of shopping. The community shopping streets are going to be all closed and the malls will start closing and then it’s only a matter of time that online shopping is all we have left. The options just won’t exist anymore for the simple reason you stopped shopping with us and now we can’t afford our rent and staff, we can’t afford to maintain a shop front as the few remaining shoppers fighting with us are just not enough.

 

It’s time to stop and time to talk to our neighbors and community again. It’s time to realize that with the loss of our community shopping street we’ve lost so much more than a local shopping experience, although that in itself is devastating. We’ve also lost the ability to understand what others around us in our local area are doing, and feeling. Maybe if we could understand that Jo has been out of a job for over 4 weeks that we can help give him a hand or at least help him to feel valued. If we reached out to our fellow shoppers and owners we might be able to stop the increase of depression and other illnesses before they got out of hand. We must start to take responsibility for what happening in our local community before we see it collapse. We need to keep our shopping streets alive to help bring us all back together again. Keep shopping local and keep talking, we all need our fellow community.