A cracker of a Christmas shopping spree

9 Jan

wooliesWhy is the demise of Woolies bothering me so much? I’m a product of Thatcher’s Britain, I was educated through a recession so shop closures are hardly new and I have witnessed the destruction and make-over of my town’s centre into the homogenous pedestrian zone that makes day trips to Stirling, Dundee, Falkirk and Inverness indistinguishable except for the length of train journey. So why has the closure of Woolies gotten my ontological security between its teeth and given a hellish shake? Unlike James Clarke I didn’t even work there! I was a Presto girl (now a car park), I lunched at the Cafe Maree (Ladbrokes), I shopped at the Bothy Mill (Cafe Biba), I drunk coffee and smoked sneaky fags at the Fair Maid (it had no windows – I think it’s someones stock room now), visited Santa at Drummonds (a tanning salon), held my nose in Mac Fisheries (some building society), and sunbathed in St Johns Square (St Johns Centre) sipping tins of wine from Oddbins (GREGGS!!!!). And we managed all this on two strips of pavement in the High Street. dewar_8Dewar’s of Perth isn’t of Perth anymore, Bell’s is gone, Gloag’s (Grouse) is gone, The General Accident… I don’t live in a town anything like the one I was born in.

But Woolies? I didn’t even like the Pick’n’Mix, but I rarely visited town without visiting Woolies. It was the last place I could actually see and feel a toy, isn’t that ludicrous? Now all we have is Argos and ELC (for now).  It was the only place I could get milk chocolate, white chocolate or orange After Eights;  lemon or toffee crunch Matchmakers and Easter eggs – oh the box of 8 (or was it 10)  toffee and mallow Easter eggs you never got anywhere else (drooly keyboard). Ladybird clothes, gone. I spent a whole week in December trying to find replacement Christmas tree lights – surely I’m not the only person in this town of nigh on 40,000 whose lights blew the week before Christmas? Any other year Woolies would have had them. Tesco, Asda, B&Q, Homebase and Dobbies sure didn’t – and I had to drive to each of them. If I had a pound for everytime I said “You’ll get it in Woolies”.  Sprog 1 and her friends meet outside Woolies when they go town trawling on Saturday afternoons so I told her to get a photo of it before it goes. She looked at me like I was daft but I think she got a couple on her phone. I hope she keeps them as I would love to have captured the Square, buses on the High Street, Dewars warehouse, the old swimmies, Tay Textiles, the ice rink, Muirton Park… I sound ancient don’t I?

You can tell a building that used to be a Woolworths, it’s the doors.


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