Click and collect – Shopping in the 21st Century.

Shopping.  For you, is it a hobby, an obsession or a total nightmare?  Or maybe somewhere in between?  You may be a marketing person’s dream, drawn into department stores by the clever merchandising, your credit card flexing its well-toned muscles, or be in complete denial that the store cupboards are running dangerously low and you’re down to noodles, instant custard and mustard powder.  To feed a family of four.  For a week.  No sight of the seven portions of fruit and veg we are all now being encouraged to eat, unless you count half a packet of raspberry jelly as one of your seven. Looking at the BBC report on a recent study it’s broccoli and carrots we should be eating more of, rather than fruit jelly 

Your level of pleasure and enjoyment gained from shopping may depend on what exactly you are shopping for.  Food shopping, by its very nature, can be repetitive.  It’s the same old, same old, week in week out, with more fruit and veg than you previously bought, maybe.  And it’s good to stick to a list with food shopping, saves both time and money.  Shopping for, say shoes, or treats may feel like fun, unless you’re under pressure to buy them for an event that’s looming on the near horizon.  The mother of the bride who has been shoe hunting for weeks, gives up after the 26th shop, and rocks up to the wedding in trainers, may not make the official photos.

And it’s changing too.  Shopping, that is.  We still have a high street.  Just.  With quirky independent stores (an endangered species) and well known chains nestling together, each competing for our hard earned dosh.  We have the out of town malls and retail parks.  And we have online shopping, from the major multi nationals (we all know who they are – and they certainly serve a purpose – it’s a competitive old world these days) down to small independent stores, some with a presence both online and on our high streets, branching out to grab some of the millions of pounds we now all spend online, others being solely online retailers without a store to visit.

Online shopping is now worth over £10 billion per month in the UK.  Yes, that’s per month!

Many of us may feel a bit torn.  We want to support the high street, and shop ethically, we don’t want quirky independents to disappear altogether – where else can you can unearth a treasure you didn’t realise you needed until you spotted it?  And we don’t want our whole shopping experience to become one homogenised massive chain store. 

But we want convenience, and choice too.  All at the right price. 

Tricky, isn’t it?

But there are things we can do about it.  We can shop online AND locally too.  Many stores now offer an online purchase followed up by collection at a local store.  This is usually speedy and efficient.   That way you save on delivery charges, which can add up these days, and you can collect when it suits you, not have a card put through the door, for you to shclep down to your local delivery office, which closed 15 minutes before your arrival……Or your parcel has been left with a neighbour who has left for a fortnight’s holiday on the Algarve.  Luckily they will have a swimming costume, unfortunately yours is trapped inside their house, and you don’t fancy a naturist holiday, not this time.  Sounds familiar?

And we can choose online shops which are also local.  The may not have a high street presence, but they may allow you to ‘click and collect’, saving on delivery charges, allowing you collect at your convenience, great if you have left, say, shopping for your son’s birthday party to the last minute, the very last minute, and you need plates, cups, balloons and party bags for twenty small boys, all by tomorrow.  At the very latest.  Party Supplies 4 You ( offers this service – order online and collect from their premises.  Choose from their huge range of themed party supplies, knowing you can count on the fact that their filled party bags, for example, have carefully chosen contents to match your theme.  So, no worries at all if you’ve left things to the last minute, it’s all taken care of for you.  Or opt for free delivery in the UK if you spend over £50. 

So, shopping is changing.  And will carry on doing so, change is inevitable, and speedy these days.  And we might as well take advantage of it, adapting our shopping habits to suit our busy lifestyles, and using the myriad ways retailers offer their goods to us, in terms of choice and delivery. If you enjoyed this article please visit for more information.



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