I think one of the problems with selling things today is that people are prepared to work at selling things on internet sites like Amazon and Ebay for much less than the minimum wage. I think the most straightforward commodity I buy are 14ml tubes of Winsor and Newton watercolour paint, recommended retail price between £12.75 and £20 which I normally manage to buy new online for around £6.50 to £10 per tube including postage.
With the thing I most understand, books, even the most basic of children’s books like a Harry Potter book starts on Ebay in the murky world of an illegally sold pdf version, with the actual book normally being obtainable for under £2 including postage and packing.
I don’t think it will be long before the majority of my clothes shopping will be done online, the main snag with this at the moment is that the sizing say for a pair of Levis jeans on Ebay is just one great malfunction. What I mean here is that if I bung in 501 blue zip fly 34 waist 30 inside leg new tagged hundreds of pairs that are the wrong size come up and finding the cheapest would take too long to be cost effective. I am not prepared to go down the road of using up my time trying to buy something so the price difference comes out at less than the minimum wage, but then I work for a living and value my time.
I would think that it won’t be long before the online clothes buying situation changes.
So what has this got to do with Ramsgate and Faversham? I think town centre wise Faversham seems be functioning and Ramsgate seems to be collapsing, there are various factors here, but on the face of it they are both fairly ordinary Kent market towns with a community made up from a cross section of society.
I think an obvious difference is that the infrastructure seems much better in Faversham, the wobbly pavements, dog poo, bags of rubbish are just not evident there in the way they are in Ramsgate.
The Faversham Society has a large and permeant home in a shop in the town centre.
The next will be the town council which has taken over a shop in the marketplace and will be open soon.
As I imagine most people are aware the big shopping chains in the UK are going down like flies and I would expect the greatest impact will be on the places that have the largest proportions of chain shops.
One area where Faversham has an advantage is that most of the shops are fairly small and so more suited to independent businesses.
I think it is also in a more prosperous part of Kent and of course there is a knock on effect where once you reach a level of closed shops it becomes impossible for most of the rest of the shops to trade.
One option I suppose is to give up altogether on having a shopping centre and have a mixture of places to eat and drink with housing.
There may be a way local councils could cpo some of the shops and split them into smaller units, I don’t see the New Look site readily converting into anything much other than shopping.
I don’t think the charity shops are an issue either way as Faversham seems to have about as many as Ramsgate.
For the very keen here is the link to today's photos of Faversham
Food in Faversham was Wetherspoons