"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Woolies bites the dust

Over the past few days, it has been obvious that Woolworths was in trouble, but today, the axe has finally fallen and one of the High Street's best known shops will soon disappear for ever. It is a tragedy, of course, for the 30,000 employees who will lose their jobs and it appears that, because it was regarded as 'a lame duck retailer', it did not qualify to be bailed out by the government
I have heard all the arguments about Woolworths being outmoded and outdated and, I have to admit, I rarely go in, but that wasn't always the case. Way back in the sixties, Woolies was the place to go for us teenagers for much of our shopping. That was where we bought our make up - Miners, for choice and, guess what - it's still going strong! My first bra was bought there (OK, too much information, but it gives you an idea of their range of stock) as was my first bikini and then, years later, Ladybird underwear and clothes for my children in their early years.
The shops had an outdated look though, even then, with their open, glass-framed counters and rickety wooden floorboards but it was 'the Woolies' look' and when our local branch was revamped and updated, it was curiously disappointing as it became just like any other store in the area. Somehow though, it wasn't quite the same as other retail outlets and lost its way over the years, selling bits of everything that most people would go to other shops to buy, rather than focusing on a few lines that they did well.
It's a sad day for Woolworths and a horrible time for their employees.


Greg said...

I wonder if it's the same Woolies we have in NZ? One should really know these things.
What's the worl coming to?

geordiewhiz said...

hay wooly's is in administration so it could come through it especially with the drop of VAT to %15 and the Christmas rush just about to start, shopper loyalty may prevail

Jennyta said...

Hi, Greg, I see you're back in the world of blogging again. In the article I was reading about it, it said that the Woolworths here has no connections with any in other parts of the world.

Geordiwhiz, I'm not so sure - it was offered at £1 to anyone who would take it and its debts on but nobody did.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Yes. It is sad to see the passing of a national institution. Now about your first bra. Was it lacy and black with tassles....

jay said...

My very first Saturday job was at Woolies! I remember going to have the little test they used to give you in those days. It was a mix of maths and English, and I got all the maths questions wrong but they gave me the job anyway!

My memories of shopping in Woolies as a child with my pocket money is of a magical place where the most exciting things were on sale for mere pence. Does anyone remember the colourful little jeeps with four little men to go in them? The little guys were moulded in a double right angle so they'd fit in there, with their arms rigidly stuck at their sides. The windscreen would fold down or pop right off, and the black tyres came off, too. All the for the princely sum of 6d if I remember correctly!

The thing about Woolies is this. They used to do that kind of tat very well indeed. Woolies was for buying cheap .. and when they revamped, they went a little upmarket and the Pound stores took over the corner of the market they'd vacated. Sadly, they just became yet another one of many, many High Street 'sell a bit of everything' stores and they didn't do anything special anymore, or even particularly well.

Sad, but you know what? Apart from the nostalgia, I doubt anyone will miss them.

Jennyta said...

No, YP it was white with rosebuds. :)

Jennyta said...

Jay, I think you are right. But nothing stays the same for ever, I suppose.

Elder Daughter said...


Jennyta said...



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