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Look outside your front door
It’s good to see the Hampshire Chronicle’s sister title the Southern Daily Echo taking a strong stand and encouraging people to use their local retailers as much as possible.
In an age where we glorify national brands and increasingly solely consume media that has an international outlook, people’s local environment and communities are frequently forgotten. We know more about what is going on in America than Abbotts Barton, and although it is trend that started many years ago, it’s important to still maintain a sense of community.
By visiting your local retailers, you meet local people, find out what is happening in your local area and get a sense of belonging. I have to disagree that the things cost more because it doesn’t really. Overall, you’re probably getting much better value and the service provided by local businesses is generally much more personal and higher than you’ll ever get in a supermarket or shopping mall. You just can’t walk into WestQuay or Cribbs Causeway and get that sense of community. It’s just not personal, it’s clinical and purely aimed at getting you to part with your cash. That’s quite a horrible experience in fact.
We’re seeing more and more people complain about feeling isolated, yet there are so many people right on their front doors that we never even bother communicating with. In our block of flats this morning, some elderly neighbours heard a big bang, spent a good few hours trying to get into the flat next to us where one of the older residents had fallen over. It made me realise that I know very few of the 20 odd occupants of the building I spend so much time in – something I intend to change.
I’m not surprised local retailers are shutting down when we all look to the likes of Tesco and Asda for our viewpoint on the world. Yes, it might be easier to get everything under one roof in a big hypermarket, but that is an artificial experience; why not try a real one like shopping on a high street?
Walking up and down Alresford each day, it is getting more difficult to walk past each shop without having to nod or wave at the retailer inside, and I’m rather proud to say I avoid the supermarket in favour of the local shops. I’ve not only found out more about local produce, but more about local people and what’s going on in my local community.
So congratulations to our local media for taking a stand, even when their big income comes from the likes of these international conglomerates. Just remember to support them too – the local newspaper needs you too. It’s almost as good as going into a shop and asking people what’s going on!
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