By Mo Yusuff One of the most frustrating times in my life was when we had too many brown...
17th August 2017
By Mo Yusuff
It’s so sad when change leaves a trail of destruction behind.
When it harms people and businesses to such an extent they never recover.
You could say, “It’s their own fault, they need to move with the times.” You’d be right, but still, I find it tragic especially when it happens to someone I know.
John runs the corner shop at the end of my street. He took it over when his blind uncle died around 18 years ago. At that time, it was a thriving business. I remember going in every morning to buy my newspaper and there was always a buzz about the place. People coming and going, queuing patiently for their morning necessities. Everyone seemed to know each other and there was always more than one conversation going on at the same time.
John was a master of his trade. Eyes constantly darting around, aware of every single person in his shop. He always kept an eye on the kids to make sure they weren’t getting up to no good and he worked fast.
His regulars didn’t need to say a word, they (including me) would come in for the same things every day and, by the time we were at the counter, he’d have everything ready and waiting.
One thing he’s a real expert at, and I don’t know how he does it, is to look at the change in your hand and be able to tell you within a split second if you had enough to pay for your goods.
There are four things John sells that would make up, probably, 80% of his turnover; newspapers, cigarettes, bread and milk.
There lies the problem for poor Corner Shop Johnny.
Newspapers are in massive decline. John stopped selling cigarettes a while back. He said he couldn’t compete with the big boys. He was making just 10p a packet and couldn’t afford to tie his money up.
Bread? He just sells white, decided no one will buy wholemeal so no point trying it. Oh! And although milk is still a staple, his milk deliveries sometimes arrive late so, more often than not, he has no milk until well after 9am.
These days, I hardly visit John’s shop at all. Some mornings, I go in for milk on the off chance and strike it lucky, and whenever I do it’s such a sad experience. The shelves are half empty or completely bare. What used to be a noisy, busy buzz has been replaced with a quiet, empty, hopelessness.
And John these days? He looks unwell, older than his years and ready to face the inevitable.
Anyway, life goes on. If you’re lucky enough to still have customers, make sure you look after them and treat them well.
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