harold Wilson wasn’t talking about shopping when he made his famous observation about a week being a long time, but it would have been very apt.
In the space of a few days we have seen two starkly constrasting images of what Christmas shopping can be like in the Capital.
First, there was Black Friday when many bargain-hunters emerged from the stampede grumbling about the discounts on offer being over-hyped by the big chains.
At the other end of the scale, we have Small Business Saturday which takes place in four days’ time, and for which the Evening News is helping showcase the huge variety and quality on offer in our local independent stores.
After the unsavoury scrums of last week, a reminder of what our local high streets have to offer could hardly be better timed.
Of course most of us will use a mixture of the big stores and local traders when we are completing our Christmas shopping. Those who do not have to endure a crush at the supermarket, department store or toy warehouse over the next three and a bit weeks are a lucky few indeed – and will probably do so by sticking to shopping online.
But what Small Business Saturday is about is not turning our backs on the big chain stores, but remembering what the independents have to offer. We hope that our features over the coming days will remind you of some of the gems on your doorstep or perhaps introduce you to one or two you didn’t know. It might be a specialist gift shop, an artisan food producer or the seamstress that will repair your favourite outfit for the festive do.
We all know of some great local businesses – quite possibly within a mile or two of home – that have a great deal to offer. And the service is sure to come with a smile. Using them might or might not find you that elusive gift, but it is almost guaranteed to be fun.