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Saturday, 14 April 2012

THE END OF SELF-SERVICE RETAILING?


I blogged a few days ago about the end of shop displays following the Government's decree that tobacco should be hidden in large shops. Small shopkeepers, get ready, as it's only a matter of time before you too have to cover the cost of sliding doors too.  Next comes a "consultation" on cigarettes in plain wrappers, and it is not a stretch to see where this kind of health-spun censorship might go.  Set a precedent and who knows what follows.  In my blog on displays, I rather tongue in cheek listed food and drink items that could be subjected to display legislation if enough "evidence" can be gleaned to convince us that they are bad for our health.  My tongue is less in my cheek than it was. In one of the papers today, sweets and chocolate were mentioned as potential "health" offenders.  I might not be as crazy as I sounded in my earlier blog.  Government interference - "we know what's best" - knows no bounds.  Maybe, even self-service retailing will be outlawed, returning us to the good old bad old days of everything behind a counter and a man in a long brown coat deciding whether to serve us or not.  In the corridors of lobbied power, we are seen as broadly stupid people who need much political nudging and herding to change our behaviours and lifestyles.  In short, we cannot be trusted to choose our own groceries.  


On the radio today, I listened to a discussion about betting shops on High Streets and the rights and wrongs of their existence.  It struck me that even High Street businesses could be subjected to censorship based again on "evidence" that some things are bad for us.  So the notion that betting shops, pubs, butchers, fast food joints, etc could end up being stripped of attractive fascias and screened off from public view is not a wild idea.


Of course, a lot of this political censorship amounts to a hill of bull droppings but this strange Government seems hell-bent on manipulating change in who and what we are and how we live our lives and, oddly in a democracy, we are pretty powerless to stop the maddest of it's madness.  But always remember, it's almost a free country.

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