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Monday 12 October 2009

For Sale – England

"Fancy that!", Cromer, October 2009 by Susie Mallett

England is for sale or should it be England is on sale?

I think that I could say:

England is one big sale
Everything is going cheap, apart from the birds. Everyone complains that there are fewer and fewer of them in the gardens.

Almost everyone I met while I was in England was either talking about “two for the price of three” or “buy one get one free”. This was often from older retired folk, boasting proudly about their weekly supermarket shop, but I noticed there were "2 for 3 stickers" on most of the books in Waterstones and WH Smiths too, no longer just on the selected few that haven’t been selling well.

In the high streets and in the malls the shops that are still open have offers for today’s bargains written in white paint all over the windows. I was unsure whether I had caught the end of the summer sales or the beginning of the January sales. It could be the January sales, as Christmas had already started when I arrived in the UK in September! It is all a bit confusing.

Another shopping highlight for the Norwich locals was the opening of a new Aldi store that, unlike most Aldi stores in Germany, was build in a row of shops on a high street just out of town. Easily accessible to all, supplying even more cheap food to discuss at evening classes or on the bus.

At the end of the day the market-stall holders were selling off their wares at one pound for a bowl. A lot more marketeering is being done these days, the banter from the stall holders still entertaining the crowds of bargain-hunters, just like when I was a child. The prices seem not much higher than fifty years ago either!

What I found very interesting is that while consumables are all going cheap, with bargain prices advertised and sale signs everywhere, even in the banks, I noticed far fewer FOR SALE signs in front gardens. Perhaps the slump in prices has seen a buying frenzy and the houses have all been snapped up, or maybe the low prices have put people off selling for a while. I expect the papers are full of the answers to that one.

Meanwhile the rush to find the cheapest Sunday dinner goes on.


As usual I found shopping in England far more pleasurable than I do in Germany, and not because of the bargains. I always feel like the cashiers are treating me like the Queen, even in a supermarkets, where every till is manned and where I am always surprised by generous amount of time the cashiers take to serve their customers.
There are rarely queues!

1 comment:

Andrew said...

A most timely posting!

Today's papers and broadcasts back here in the UK are full of the Government's flogging off the family silver to try and keep the bailiffs at bay.

Some hope of achieving that, but there's plenty of what you and I grew up to regard as public intitutions or national heritage going at stock-clearance prices if anyone wants them.

Next the Government is intending to flog off the heritage of local government too (without asking those to whom it is entrusted, of course).

What a way to run a railroad (and by the way, I think that you can have the Channel Tunnel for a song as part of this national bankrupcy sale).

Not much left to sell now, except the voters but it looks like these have already been given away anyway.

Enjoy Germany.