Tuesday, 23 August 2016 18:53

They don't make those anymore

Good old fashioned shops are slowly disappearing Good old fashioned shops are slowly disappearing

I’ve recently had another one of those surreal shopping experiences that I like so much – the kind you’ll know you are unlikely to have again. I am always drawn to old-fashioned shops. The rule of thumb is: the more awful the shop window, the better the deals and choices inside. And it applied yet again.

The window looked anything but enticing – rather like a storage room with a glass front. A big outrageous mix of summer and winter shoes: children’s rubber boots, high heeled- leopard sandals, canvas tennis shoes…

What got my attention was the closing-down sign. Invariably you’ll find an elderly shop owner inside, generally showing less distress than me over their ‘nearing end’.

The constant openings and closings of those many little flashy shops all over town go relatively unnoticed as they only stick around for a few weeks or months. Often it’s a relatively young person trying out something new, and then soon something else…

But in these old (and old-fashioned) shops, it’s people who’ve been there all their lives, making a living doing the same trade day in day out for 30, 40, 50 years. And their knowledge and passion usually still show.

In the case of the shoe shop, the owner knew exactly which sizes he had, where he kept each model… he even knew immediately what style I’d wear.

I walked out with, let’s just say, more than one pair of timeless, flat leather shoes at 10-15 euros a pair, happy about my shopping success, but saddened about yet another landmark in town biting the dust.

I always end up feeling like I should go on an awareness-raising campaign ‘Go shop in old, unattractive shops, find the hippest finds, and make the day of a person who’s been there, actually caring about what he/she sells to customers for longer than you’ve been around’.

When those places close, people will invariably say, “Oh I miss it; it’s been there forever. I used to go there”. But somehow we all get drawn into this fast-paced, flashy lifestyle where everything is short lived and shops literally are just pop-up shops.

Maybe if we’d all make an effort to visit one of those ‘real shops’ every now and then, enjoy a little treasure hunt among dusty boxes and hangers, accompanied by a good chat about someone’s career spanning half a century, they’ll be around for just a little longer.

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of August 12th 2016. 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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