Nicole Mowbray: Why I still love Woolies

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The Independent Online

How do I love thee Woolies? Let me count the ways. The branch in my home town of Worthing was the place my Nan took me to buy my first ever seven- inch single ("Pump Up The Volume" by MARRS). Some years later, when I began to be allowed into town with friends, Woolworths was where we'd loiter after a McDonalds Value Meal. There – rather naughtily – three of us would take a large bag of strawberry bootlaces into the Photo-Me booth to scoff them all. Could you get done for shoplifting, we wondered, if you'd eaten the evidence?

My dalliance with Woolies continued long after my parents rumbled (and put paid to) the strawberry bootlaces scam.

Southampton's Woolworths helped my three housemates and me furnish our student house in the late 1990s with crockery, blinds, bathroom paraphernalia. Our house wasn't stylish – as you'd expect, being furnished from Woolworths – but it was economical. In my minimum-wage post-university days in Brighton, Woolies on the Western Road was the place to go for cinema snacks. Show me the fools who buy Butterkist popcorn for £4 odd at the cinema when you can get it for 99p...

Now, living in Brixton, I have on my doorstep possibly the world's best Woolworths. It's huge and filled with stuff you never see in other shops (which could be the crux of their problem, I imagine). Automatic egg slicers, furry snakes with invisible strings, magic mops and other gismos. Therein lies the beauty of Woolworths. Use it fellow shoppers, or lose it.

The author is Features Editor of The Independent

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