Newshound, October 2021
Open all hours
Like many shops that were allowed to stay open during the pandemic, we started off with severely reduced opening hours. In our case, we went for 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. Our thinking was that people would come out in the morning, shop and scurry home early. As time wore on we gradually increased our opening hours during the week to 4pm but kept Saturdays at 1pm as, quite honestly, we were quite liking the Saturday afternoon to do other things and Saturday mornings were now our quiet day as far as trade was concerned as both chemists, the post office and a few other shops took a half-day on Saturdays. However, over the last few months, we’ve noticed an increase in the number of people out and about on a Saturday and a few comments during the week from customers who came shopping on a Saturday afternoon and were surprised to find us shut. Also, trade on a Saturday has picked up to pre-pandemic levels, so that’s our free Saturday afternoons gone as we now return to full six-day trading.
One of my regular James Wellbeloved customers came in with a voucher for the VIP club of a well-known pet supermarket offering a free bag of dog food and asked would I honour it? He was not very happy when I politely explained that we were not a well-known pet supermarket and the nearest one of them is 25 miles away. I did wonder to myself how someone thinks a voucher marked Pets at Home VIP club would be honoured by an independent high street shop but it’s best to keep my thoughts to myself.
You read very occasionally of young children getting injured when they get entangled in the cord of Venetian blinds but never before have I heard of a cord injuring a dog. This person’s dog was wagging his tail enthusiastically while on the back of the settee up against the blinds. The cord got wrapped around the dog’s tail and then the dog jumped down from the settee on to the floor. The consequence is that the dog now has a much shorter tail as it virtually skinned the last few inches off.
Spoilt for choice
With the explosion of new puppies and people spending more time at home with their dogs, we’ve seen a marked increase in the sale of treats to the extent that our current range of dog treats now spans in excess of 15 manufacturers, so I was a little taken aback when someone commented that we only had a limited range to choose from!
A customer telephoned an order in and asked for two bags of Shapes or ‘whatever they are called’.
At the beginning of the pandemic, hardly anyone knew someone who had caught covid. In fact, there was a local story that, as we lived in the countryside, covid would never get here and it would be confined to towns. That myth was soon knocked on the head. Now everyone knows someone who has either got or has recently had covid and the number of small businesses in the town who have had to close and isolate for days is staggering. The chippy has closed three times, the café twice, and two of the restaurants have been hit along with two other takeaways and one hairdresser. Strangely, many others, us included, have luckily not been affected by this ‘pingdemic’. It’s just a personal observation, and far from scientific, but I’m sure there is a correlation with the businesses being hit and those escaping being closed and it’s the age range of the staff. Those businesses that employ predominantly younger members of staff are the worst hit and those who generally employ more mature people, in general, do not seem to be so affected. Could it be that the younger generation is unwittingly spreading covid while the older generation is being more cautious?
This summer we have sold a lot of extending leads. Usually we sell maybe two or three a week but over the last few months it’s been two or three a day. I’m not complaining! On Saturday morning I sold two to a lady and her friend, who just wanted new leads as her existing ones were getting tatty – still functional but a little worn at the edges. On Saturday afternoon she came back in to buy another extending lead as they had had lunch in the garden of a local pub and while they enjoyed their food one of the dogs enjoyed eating through a brand new lead!