Why not stop clicking and go down to the shops this Christmas?

There's great pleasure in a spot of "old-fashioned" shopping

Share
Related Topics

Last week Will, a colleague of mine, said that he was going to do something rather surprising. He was planning to do Christmas shopping the following day and would be going into central London, to real shops and without a list. I can't even begin to think about the final point, but as to why he was eschewing the warmth of home and the easiness of shopping online, he explained that he feels a duty to support bricks-and-mortar stores rather than virtual ones.

Having yet to start my festive wallet emptying, I haven't followed his lead yet. But it made me think about the shops that have given me something Amazon or Asos couldn't – memories.

When I was 13, my birthday present was a pair of Dr Marten boots, bought from Baldocks, an army surplus store when my dad got his own DMs as a teenager. I went for years after for army shirts and bags to Tipp-Ex the names of bands I loved on to. My dad tells me that it is no more, but it lives on for this ex-Green Day fan.

To this day I rue the fact that the I never got to shop in the Biba department store. Dark, glamorous and – according to one acquaintance with form – one of the easiest places to shoplift a feather boa from, I thought it sounded so cool, as a teenager I wanted to change my name to Biba but wisely realised I'd sound like a right wally.

Recently, I'm happy to say, I ticked off an almost-decade-long wish – visiting a store called Blustons on my local hight street. It's a ladies outfitters, with a shopfront built in 1931. It has curved glass windows that sweep round to two entrances. For more that a decade I've walked past it, but because it mainly caters to shoppers of a certain age – its window displays show off snazzy tops and dressy skirts for the older lady, as well as capacious undergarments, I had no reason to enter except pure nosiness.

Then came a cold snap and I realised Blustons would be just the place to buy a thermal vest rather than going online. It was warm, neat as a pin and welcoming inside. The staff had just what I was after, time for a chat and a tidy little gallery of photographs of the Royal family. My receipt was written out by hand.

It was one of the most pleasurable shopping experiences of my life. So don't just walk by whatever your Blustons equivalent is – go inside. Otherwise, like Baldocks and Biba, it'll be too late.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: A huge step forward in medical science, but we're not all the way there yet

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron has painted a scary picture of what life would be like under a Labour government  

You want constitutional change? Fixed-term parliaments have already done the job

Steve Richards
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album