Tag Archives: shopping

Glasgow’s Christmas market

For many years now there’s a Christmas market in Glasgow. It has in the past been based in George Square, around the ice rink and the other Christmas decorations that appear there each year. A mix of stalls from around rural Scotland plus numerous ones in from all over continental Europe. However for the last year or so it’s been down in St Enoch’s Square. Having it there beside St Enoch’s shopping centre means that for your serious shopaholic there’s an even greater choice of places demanding the attention of your wallet or purse, all in quite a small area!

As size goes, it’s nothing like as large as I’ve seen down in Manchester or Birmingham, but it does bring in a bit of variety and non-local shopping potential to the city centre. For the cold and hungry shopper there’s always been plenty to eat (and drink) and lots of relatively unusual trinkets and gifts to buy as presents for others.

However this year Christmas market there seems to be far fewer stalls there, especially fewer in from Europe. I guess the ever increasing cost of transport added to general consumer belt tightening means that for many traders it’s no longer worth the risk of heaving their goods half way across Europe only to find recession hit shoppers keeping their wallets and purses firmly closed, so they’re then having to heave a whole mass of unsold goods back again.

A shame, lets hope for better next year.

Closed Currys, not surprised.

Just walked passed a Currys Digital store here in central Glasgow to find it totally closed.

Saddened in that it is one less high street store open, but not surprised to see it happen. One thing that has characterised my visits to any (what was) Dixons / Currys / PC World was that I would leave feeling more irritated and annoyed than I did when I went in, my ‘customer experience’ in any of these Dixons Retail group stores was always negative.

I remember a while ago going into one store and while looking at one or two laptops was approached by a sales girl who asked what sort of laptop I was after. I said I was after something that had to be dual-core processor and the video output to be digital. She said ‘back in a minute’ and when she returned selected a lap-top saying this one would be suitable for me, pointing to the (analogue) VGA output saying that this was digital. I questioned her about it but the assistant repeated that this was suitable, told me the output really was digital, and was keen to complete the sale. Fail!

Another instance was of looking at printers and being approached by a sales assistant. I said I was looking for one of the cheaper postscript compatible machines. She said she didn’t know if they had any but would go and ask. (I have no problems with staff not knowing – they can’t know everything – so long as they are honest about it.) When she returned she said that they didn’t sell that make. The trouble is that postscript is not a make but a printer language common across most high and mid-range printers with some low-end machines postscript compatible too. I don’t know who she asked, but the end result was incorrect information from the staff and a disappointed customer. (Needless to say, there were postscript compatible printers there.)

As for the number of times I’ve overheard staff tell customers that ‘this camera’ is better than ‘that camera’ because it ‘has more megapixels’ is too many to list here. Or being told this is better ‘because it’s digital’. Then when you ask why does that make it better, the response just to repeat ‘because it’s digital’. Or of course, going into one of their stores and then waiting 20 minutes to be served, only to be eventually approached by a member of staff saying that the store is now closing. This has been a depressingly common experience; it’s apparent that as soon as it gets anywhere near closing time the staff all start heading towards the back of the store, reluctant to serve customers. I assume in case it delays their exit out at the end of the day.

Then there is the integration of (or lack of) the running of their web site compared to that of the store. Senior management has not yet latched onto the fact that consumers now expect seamless integration between the two. To find the web saying there is stock and on going to the store finding none, or price differences between the two is unacceptable. Customers expect to find ‘exclusives’ consistent between the channels. Their stores need to compliment, not compete with their internet presence.

I prefer buying in a shop, to be able to see and handle the actual product at time of purchase. To be able to walk out with the item, not having any postal delays and trying not to miss the delivery van. However finding staff who don’t know their products, who only seem interested in customers if they can get the customer to buy something that will fulfil their daily sales target just sends me off to places like Amazon. It’s not that I want to go to Amazon, but am being driven there because of the quality of service from their high street stores.

Moving on.

This whole thing of people ‘moving on’ has got me thinking a bit. Everyone has their own reasons for actually signing up to things like YouTube or BlogTV (rather than just viewing anonymously) and then starting to put up their own videos.

In turn people have their own reasons for stopping.

For those who don’t stay long, perhaps boredom, or it wasn’t what they expected. Perhaps they expected too much and thought that as soon as they put up a video they’d get hundreds of views? It does happen, but *not* very often!
On the other hand, for those who have been around for some time, maybe their reason for originally starting was to be able to express themselves, and now that desire has been fulfilled. Perhaps it was to develop friendships, and they now want to maintain those friends through more direct means of contact. Maybe they’re just getting tired of it and it’s becoming a chore.

If you’ve been busy doing videos and have reached a peak and you can’t see your next objective or peak to aim for, then the only way ‘forward’ is down, and once you start going down you’re in the shit. Reversing a downward trend is almost impossible. Far better to stop while you’re ahead, take a break and have some chill-out time. Some time to recharge and take on fresh ideas. Some time to ‘grow up’ and see the whole thing from the perspective of someone that bit older. Maybe time to think of a change of style.

Also so much of this YouTube stuff can involve helping others, sometimes directly in your videos, chat, and responses. Sometimes indirectly by providing moral support in putting up your videos. Just the fact that you’ve put a video up and it’s available for others to watch and comment on can be of benefit to those who are not so good at directly socialising or interacting with others.

However you can’t help others and you definitely can’t help yourself if you are tired and fed up.

So if it’s time to move on, then it’s time to move on. There will be others in the wings ready to fill any gap, doing things in their own style and ways. Then once you’re ready to return, great, return. You’ll be that bit older and that bit wiser, and probably tackle things in a more mature way.

Don’t let things get boring and stale. Standing still gets you nowhere. Shift your butt and move!