Quality shops, Discount shops and shoes

I want to watch something as the economy of the world heads into
complete meltdown. No, I don’t mean the sight of bankers being
evicted from their multi-million dollar homes (though that will raise
a wry smile); what I am curious to see is what sector of the economy
is able to ride the downturn out best: Will it be the ‘discount’
sector as more people look to save and are forced to shop for the
cheapest solution or will it be the ‘quality’ sector as people take a
long term view or simply wish to reward themselves with a little
luxury in these troubled times.

There are any number of economists who will have a point of view
on this question, but my inspiration for thinking upon the subject
was simply the act of putting on a pair of shoes. And no, I hadn’t
been eating too much strong cheese the night before, because as a
good friend of mine has said, there is no proof that strong cheese
results in odd dreams (and she should know, she does this sort of
thing for a living). These particular shoes are quite old and were
purchased when I was

  1. single
  2. working overseas (though I recognise that this does not
    narrow down the timeline)
  3. had a bit more money than sense

The shoes are made by Church & Son and are made with leather
uppers, leather soles and leather interiors. They took a long time to
properly break in (and I followed the instructions to only wear them
every other day so as not to damage the leather) but finally they
became a complete and total fit around my feet. I think that the
shoes are probably nearly 10 years old, maybe more and have seen
significant service throughout that time. Over the years they slowly
lost their shine and were replaced by less expensive shoes, but every
now and then I find the need to wear them again. And each time I do I
am astounded by just how much better they feel than any of my other

So the question is whether or not sufficient people will pay the
rather large amount of money to support an out-and-out luxury store
like Church’s or will they ride out the downturn in their existing
shoes and buy whatever they need at Matalan/ Primark/ Winners.
Current evidence in the UK is that supermarkets with a ‘value’
approach (such as Aldi, Lidl or Morrison’s) are winning the battle
from the middle ground stores (such as Tesco) whilst the higher end
(such as Waitrose or Sainsbury) also seem to be riding it out. I
guess that there really is something to the old adage of doing
something different to stand out from the crowd- it doesn’t matter if
you are high end or low end, just don’t go for ‘normal’

And if ever there was a mantra to live your life to, then surely
that is one that I have followed. Whether I wanted to or not

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