this town is coming like a ghost town

Home > Society > this town is coming like a ghost town

I fully acknowledge my role in the recent downfall of both Debenhams and Sir Scumbag’s Arcadian empire. The former saw a loss of 118 stores, the latter over 400. The blame for John Lewis’s closure of eight of its sites and Boots shutting its opticians stores can also be laid at my door. And, whilst we’re on the subject, let’s not forget Monsoon, Victoria’s Secret and any number of travel agencies and airline companies. Guilty as charged. The only apology I can offer their staff and stakeholders is that I didn’t shift my purchases to either Boohoo or Asos, being of stereotypical northern descent I just don’t spend that much money and fail to regard retail-therapy as anything but a necessary evil.

Casualties are mounting all the way down the high street and eulogies are once again being written for our town centres, only this time perhaps rightfully so. Whatever the case, there’s a stark symbolism to the fact that Debenhams, a business founded in 1813, has fallen prey to one that’s almost two hundred years its junior. It would appear no-one wants to own shops any longer. Boris’s #100bn ‘infrastructure revolution’ is a nice idea but there’s not much infrastructure people care about more than their local high street and I can’t see any alternative our town centres becoming the Special’s veritable ghost towns. For all the talk of ‘repurposing’ it’s as much my fault as it is Bumble’s. The sad truth is I think we can all get by with fewer shops and less maxxed-out credit cards.

One of the aspects of modern capitalism I find perplexing is the manner in which many large companies make their money. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s from us buying the things they make, but often you’d be wrong. McDonalds doesn’t make its huge profits from selling tasty burgers, it does so from buying suitable property and leasing them to franchisees, and in doing so became one of the world’s largest landlords. Coca-Cola doesn’t make money from bottling and flogging fizzy sugared water but by selling the right to make it to others. Apple has yet to make a single iPhone; it merely designs them and the rest is outsourced to the East. When Flybe bit the dust it wasn’t the planes standing forlornly on the runway anyone wanted, as they were all leased, but the Heathrow landing slots were viewed as invaluable. It’s a mad, mad free-market world.

This town is coming like a ghost town. All the shops have been closed down. This place is coming like a ghost town. Customers won’t shop no more… too much discount on the internet.