Shopping locally is supposed to be the consumer fight-back against big business. Many of us, determined to defy the BOGOFs and bright lights of the supermarkets, make an effort to shop at local independents, but it's made difficult – if not impossible – by the fact that the numbers are fast dwindling, and if you can find one, it's seemingly never open when you want to shop.
When was the last time you thought you might pick up a chop for tea at the not unreasonable time of 6.30pm and found the butcher's open? Let's face it, most of our independent high street food retailers open promptly at 9am and just as diligently close at 5pm. And that's where the supermarkets step in. They've grasped the not-very-difficult fact that most of us are at work during daylight hours and the idea of a convenience store is that it is conveniently open when we need it; not when they've done their standard trading hours. And lo and behold, because we can pick up something quick for dinner at a time that suits us, the independent retailers start to go out of business. The consumer is stuck between retail guilt for not supporting the independent and indifference because you can't miss what wasn't really there.
It wouldn't take much for an enterprising retailer to open and close a little later. It's difficult – many of them are family-owned and that takes organising but you're not going to lose much of the morning trade and by staying open till 7.30pm or even 8pm, you will increase evening trade, who will revisit because you're open when others aren't.
We can blame ourselves for not shopping locally and defying the supermarkets, but it would be nice if the independents helped their own cause.