Friday, 17 April 2015


There can be no doubt that online shopping is slowly pushing the high street out of the picture. Nowadays a growing number of people visit a clothing shop for example, try on the garments, leave the store and once home find the equivalent at a cheaper price.

I used to own a retail outlet myself. Not clothing, but a very successful deli and coffee shop. For 15 years I grew it steadily from nothing. It was very demanding and my hours and location of business were set in one static location. I worked constantly at attracting people through the door, training my staff at customer service and customer relations. That business would not have been the success it was if those customers had handled the goods then left to buy somewhere else. Though, in a food business that's hardly likely to happen, but you get my point.

The one thing online shopping cannot do of course is give face to face customer service. However, a good friend of mine freely admits she can no longer be bothered with the small talk, and prefers to shop online without the  persuasive sales pitch. She even welcomes the demise of manned tills in favour of automated self service checkouts! So her preference is to search online for what she wants. in my own experience, increasingly, everything you browse for later pops up as an advert on other pages, usually after you've already bought the thing!

So I am guilty of buying online too. My excuse is no one in Edinburgh stocks the make I wanted, but could that be because less and less people are going to stores and with a drop in revenue the owners are unable to afford to hold a large variety of stock? And it's not always as easy as is made out. Recently I bought a new pair of approach shoes, only to find after receiving them that the size was too big! I then had to repackage them, pay the postage of sending back the heavy item, ordering again, and waiting, again.

But there can also be no doubt that online stores reach a market place that is now global. Gone are the days, like my deli, when you had to rely on people coming through your door, and if it rained, well, you may as well go home . . . and do some online shopping!

It really is a bit of a catch 22. We like our high streets, but we also like sitting on or sofa and doing our shopping. And online shopping is the future, no doubt, whether we resist it or not.

Well, as the saying goes, if you can't beat them, join them. I've given in to the future.
In about two weeks my feature documentary of the cycle across the width of America will be available on and (it's there now but currently unavailable as my site is still going through approval). This highlights one of the brilliant things about online shopping: how would someone such as me otherwise reach a large audience, if you pardon the pun, to sell my DVD, without the internet? The same applies to musicians, writers and all manner of small businesses. They have to embrace it, or get left behind. Talking of reaching lots of people, especially with your movies, it is said that YouTube is the fastest growing site in the world.

Which brings me neatly to say that if you've never seen my film, or even if you have and would like a reminder, click on the picture to watch the trailer . . . on YouTube of course. And if you like it, well, you know where you can buy it . . . wherever in the world you live.

Sorry, but it doesn't come gift wrapped.

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