Once upon a time ...  

nightstogether 56M
818 posts
7/24/2005 6:34 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Once upon a time ...

Not so many years ago, you could drive through the main country villages and in front of each farm was either a sign or a trolley with a selection of fresh eggs, potatoes, honey, vegetables or whatever it was they produced ready and waiting for someone to buy.

Today I made my way out of the house to find eggs, potatoes and a pot of honey, having missed the chance to shop during the normal opening hours. The result was hardly what you could call a success.

Fine, I got everything that I need and I know that everything I have is fresh and produced by the farm(s) where I stopped, but it was the searching which exhausted. I ended up buying my produce at three different farms in three different villages, and driving for an hour just to find them.

So what has changed? Are the major supermarkets really taking away all the custom from smaller shops and farms with the discounts and massive variety? Or are the farms selling their produce to these same discounters so quickly at a good price (for them) that nothing is left over? Or, perhaps, are the open trolleys by the roadside no longer worthwhile because of dishonest purchasers leaving no money, or short changing?

I read constantly the concern amongst many that smaller shops are no longer there in villages for the elderly to use, for the sick and for local patriotism. The shops are closing due to lack of custom, and there has even been a call for the government to take action to prevent such closures. From a recorded one hundred and sixty thousand small shops in Germany, in small villages, we are no reduced to a recorded sixty thousand.

Are the major discounters at fault, or to blame for these changes? Quite possibly; they offer a range of products at a price that no one in a smaller shop can compete with. That's their business, and they do it very well indeed. Or are the smaller shops at fault for not meeting their customers' needs? Well, that is also a possibility. But the customers themselves must also take their share of the blame. It is the customer who decides that they wish to travel to another, larger town to buy products; it is the customer who spends more money on fuel - thus negating any savings a discounter might have afforded - rather than walking to the local store.

Can government do anything to change this trend? I doubt it; I mean, what could they possibly think of to make such a suggestion, that the government will prohibit shopping in discount stores and supermarkets at certain times of day or for certain products? That the government will financially support smaller shops with subsidies?

It is more within the powers of the shop owners and the customers to change this trend, and no one else. The shops need to stock what the customer wishes to buy, and at a price which stops making travelling to another town worthwhile. The customer needs to realise that they are not benefitting financially each time they jump in their car to get the latest special offer.

And the farms where I wanted to buy my potatoes? They don't have to sell everything to the supermarkets; enough of us prefer to buy from a farm to make it worthwhile holding a few potatoes back for personal visitors. And the farms can ask for exactly the same price as the discounter, thus making an greater profit in the long run without harming the purchasing ability of the customer.

private-intellectual (.de)

rm_affbreak 46M
287 posts
7/24/2005 11:51 am

> Can government do anything to change this trend?

It could, , but obviously isn't interested in preserving small businesses. Money talks. The more complicated the tax system for even selling one apple, the better for the ones being able to pay a lawyer.

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