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Baby it’s cold outside...

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By Jackie Beedie


It’s freezing! Here I am reporting from Shaftesbury in a very very cold England.

To put this in perspective last Saturday we had a number of people at our house in Amwaj and we ended up in the pool and canal. Here we would need to break the ice first.

This is a quick trip to the UK for a couple of family matters and to visit my wife’s extended family: T K Max, Argos, Marks and Sparks and of course Primark.

We travelled up with two wheelie bags and two empty suitcases which will be full on the way back.

Yes, with this level of conspicuous expenditure Christmas is coming. As it is more a commercial than religious event these days, reminders and decorations are everywhere, and I don’t just mean in the UK.

Al Ahli Mall was the first in Bahrain to put up its tree and that was before the beginning of November. When you are a retail business then you need to take advantage of all the opportunities presented to get the cash out of the spending classes.

High Street retail are reeling from the switch to online purchasing, but here’s the thing. When you purchase online you start off knowing what you want, go to a couple of sites to compare prices and then buy. You only really buy what you initially set out to.

When you walk up and down the High Street, popping into shops, then you are browsing. Even if you go into a clothes shop specifically for a pair of jeans you end up coming out with the jeans, two tops, a belt and a pair of shoes.

It is this type of additional unplanned expenditure which is the saviour of retail in the High Street and malls.

One other major problem with online shopping is delivery. The main reason there is very little online shopping in Bahrain is because Amazon et al will not deliver anything except a few books to Bahrain.

You can arrange your own shipping with shop and ship PO boxes in the US or the UK, but these tend to add a significant amount of money onto your purchase.

Shopping in malls is still a significant thing in Bahrain because look how many we have. And more opening by the week. There are enough malls in Bahrain to satisfy a population of over 10 million. Pity we only have a tenth of that, still survival of the fittest and all that.

Delivery of online orders, or lack of it, is why we are in the UK. In previous years we have placed orders for guaranteed five-day delivery which coincided with a friend or family member coming to Bahrain for Christmas and they could bring the items with them.

However once you have placed the online order and paid for it only then do they tell you that it will be coming from a third party and the five-day delivery will be from the day the product is available and not today. So it misses the travel date and never makes it for the festive period.

This year we did not place any online orders. We combined a necessary family event with going to the shops and getting them in our hands immediately. And as I said above purchasing much more than we set out to do or was necessary.

It’s only 10 days away now, are you ready?

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