The demise of the corner shop and the recent news that nearly 600 post offices across Ireland could be closed by 2017 is another bad turn for our social climate. The days of having a friendly chat with the local shopkeeper or postmistress are nearly gone .Most supermarkets now have self service pay desks, often the cashiers at the desks that do have them are indifferent and you may be lucky to get a friendly hello. For many people the daily outing to the shops is a social event as oppose to an errant.
Years ago everyone knew their local butcher, greengrocer, fishmonger and baker by name and probably had a friendly chat with them every time they went in .Handy and convenient as supermarkets and online shopping are they will never replace a friendly chat and a smile and may even leave old people at the risk of loneliness and isolation. It is clear that big supermarkets don’t usually make good neighbours and often have significant social and economic impacts on communities.
Across the country the small retailer is being wiped out. In the whole of Ireland there are fewer than 1,000 specialist fishmongers, 7,000 butchers and 4,000 greengrocers, and barely 3,000 independent bakeries. In all these categories, the number of specialists has fallen by 90% since the 1950s, and at least 40% in the last decade alone. They have been driven out by supermarkets, the only way we stop this decline is to shop locally and support local suppliers.