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Consider this…….

Updated: Apr 3

As an advocate and supporter of local businesses and our local services. There are many issues currently with several aspects of shopping and tonight we are going to focus on two of them self service and card payments.

Self service - there is no doubt that the way we shop now has altered dramatically over the last decade. There are elements of self service which I believe are useful. But fundamentally it’s all so alarmingly wrong and how our urge for our own convenience will eventually be our own downfall as a community.

Self service/checkout is only available in nationally or globally owned stores. They bought out our mini markets and local businesses and re employed local people at low rates to run their shops. Now established what they are actually doing is making more and more local jobs redundant. Without redundancy of course, they can do this via natural wastage or like many employers have done just change contracts and driven people out of their jobs. If your nearby Asda or Tesco stores make record profits, the staff might get a £10 gift card or a paid for lunch. But all of the profits will benefit people who have probably not even heard of Liscard or even Birkenhead. By using a self service checkout you are effectively agreeing to and positively encouraging local poverty. I can’t name a locally run business that has a self checkout, and that’s because they can’t afford to or haven’t enough space to facilitate it. They employ someone local to scan all your items. I heard of an incident in France where they removed nearly all the tills and replaced with self checkouts. The following day people came in to shop and filled their trolleys with refrigerated and frozen goods and queued at the tills to pay for their shopping. Frantically trying to cut down the queues staff whose jobs were being cut were trying to convince customers to use the self checkout. They simply refused to use the self checkout, the shop refused to put people on the tills. What happened next was planned and far better than any response we have ever had in this country. The shoppers abandoned their trolleys and walked out of the shop. Leaving a shop full of loaded trolleys with food defrosting. There was nothing the shop could do, the following day the same thing happened around the same time. On the third day, every till had a worker back on duty.

As a community we are bigger than the retail giants because we have the power to decide how we want to shop by our actions. If we give in to self checkouts the jobs will disappear and the rich just get richer and the poor get poorer. What we need to focus on is predicting what happens if we allow this to happen? What does a town centre look like in 10 years or in 20 years. Shopping without even seeing another person?

Whether it’s on Facebook or Nextdoor or the local newspaper. People will often say “the town centre has gone” “I wouldn’t be seen dead in Birkenhead town centre” and the variety of shops has dwindled and the reason isn’t online shopping, it’s due to local businesses no longer being able to trade as they can’t compete with national companies, who dominate the market and can afford to wipe the labour costs out, and reap the profits to take away from Wirral citizens and line the pockets of the wealthy around the world. We need to be a lot smarter if the next generation stands a chance of having a decent standard of living.

Paying by card - we all do it, but when you think about it, it is possibly the dumbest thing we do every single day. I read a great article the other week and you may have seen it doing the rounds on social media. And if you’ve got this far into the blog you may as well let me bore you some more.

The article was quite simple it was along the lines of-

You go to the butchers and buy £50 of meat and pay by cash.

The butcher gives £50 to his wife and says treat yourself. She goes and buys a dress from a local boutique and pays £50 cash.

The lady in the boutique had come into work with a flat tyre, so she takes her car to the local garage and pays £50 cash for a new tyre.

The fella in the garage has had a hard day and fancies treating himself and his other half to a nice meal. They go to a locally run restaurant and have a meal and a drink each and they pay £50 cash.

This goes on and on at the end of a however many transactions the original £50 is still worth £50.

Now let’s apply that to a card payment where the card vendor is charging 1%

You go to the butchers and buy £50 of meat and pay by card. The butcher gets £49.50 and the card vendor gets 50p

The butcher gives £49.50 to his wife and says treat yourself. She goes and buys a dress from a local boutique and pays £49.50 by card. The shop owner receives £49.01 and 49p goes to the card vendor.

As you can see after 2 transactions that £50 has already lost nearly 2% of its value. If it was continuous £50 transactions a on the 100th transaction every penny of that original £50 would have gone to the bank or card vendor. Knowing this why would we pay anything by card!!! When we pay by card, there is only one guaranteed winner and it’s the bank. You know when you go into a shop and pay by card and it asks if you want to round up or make a donation to a charity and 99.9% of the time you say no. That’s a distraction so you don’t think about how much your donating to the bank. Now the smarter people might point out that it’s actually the shop that’s losing the money, and theoretically you would be right in thinking that. But the shop know they can’t charge a different price for cash as they can for card so everyone gets the worst case scenario price. The shop factor in the card charges to make the product a higher price across the board. So everybody loses out apart from the card vendor.

The further downsides to card use is being charged wrongly, losing your card (at least when you lose cash you know what the most your going to lose is the value of the note lost) every purchase leaves a paper trail. I not to mention cards being declined, blocked or network outage.

A friend of mine got declined for a bank loan because he had numerous cash withdrawals to an online bookmakers he started using instead of finding a betting shop to bet in. He was too much of a risk, although if he had drawn cash out they would have never known what the cash was for. The banks are not only getting you to pay them for every transaction they’re also turning it against you if you need their services. I refused to use ATMs that charged a transaction fee and I’m sure most of you would agree that unless you had no other option you would not use an ATM that charged. Now most of them don’t charge yet we still opt for card, thinking that we don’t incur the card vendor charges the shop does. But like any expense in retail it’s factored into the price you pay. Still wondering why inflation is crucifying the whole country?

If everyone reverted to using cash we might bring inflation down by at least the amount the card vendors are charging.

Not just a postman.

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