Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The end of the line for Woolworths and other stories

So back in the UK the last Woolworths store closed its doors for the last time. I watched a video clip on the BBC website and suddenly remembered I bought my first album in Woolworths. I said it out loud. ‘What...your first CD?’ said Rowan. It was a tape, a tape of nursery rhymes actually. It was the seventies and I was young then.

I buy my music on iTunes now. I could buy it out of the boot of a car or from one of the shops that sells what a British person would regard as pirate copies. There is no law, as far as we’ve been told, against copying albums (or movies) here so in this country I guess it’s not technically a pirate. My sister-in-law bought a Laka album on the streets of Sarajevo. Her husband, who knows a thing or two about the music business, was intrigued to find CD carried the usual small print about unauthorised broadcast but not unauthorised copying.

But back to Woolworths. It is strange to read reports of the state of the high streets we left behind. We were never really the big spenders, except perhaps in TK Maxx, so we’d not have been much help in trying to spend the country out of financial ruin. I suppose the changing face of UK retail is just another lesson in how so many things we can put our trust in are really not that certain after all. Which could lead me neatly on to wondering why in the current climate any sane person would put up money for posters on buses postulating the non-existence of God, but as I’m sure that is enough to make my views clear I’ll leave it there.

Except, of course, I can’t actually finish there because this though crept into my mind: “Life is more than food, and your body more than clothing.” No prizes for guess who said that. But on a day when I read of a billionaire businessman committing suicide in the face of the global economic slowdown I think we’d all do well to recognise the wisdom in the statement that precedes the one about food and clothes. “A person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Our tragedy is that for too long we’ve thought we were too good for God. Perhaps the failing fortunes of the system we created for ourselves will cause us to re-evaluate.

1 comment:

Sam M said...

I did wonder what it would be like to 'found' Woolworths again in the near future when copyrights regarding the store are obsolete!