Monday, 22 September 2014

Little Shops of Horrors

(This post was originally posted by Clinkers (David) on the Coronation Street Blog in September 2014.)

A thriving hotbed of commerce it is not. You get the impression that the Weatherfield Wayfarer will never have to run multiple services in order to ferry the masses to the shopping mecca that is Coronation Street. Even the business-savvy combination of Mary Portas and Alex Polizzi would wither under the effort of trying to breathe life into the motley trio of corner shop, Kabin and pawn parlour. Was it always like this?

Fade to sepia-tinted memories of Corrie-long-gone and yours truly blethering on, teary-eyed, about how wonderful it all was back then. Except of course it wasn't. The corner shop was always exerted a feeling of mortal dread. From day one we had to contend with Florrie Lindley stacking tins in a dangerous manner, serving up eggs in paper bags and wantonly flogging fire-lighters whenever she felt like it. The woman should have been imprisoned and the shop demolished. Fast forward to the seventies and there was no sign of Weatherfield's environmental health officers as the brazen Maggie Clegg happily sliced bacon covered in a delicate crust of fag-ash. Okay, we know that some of her regular clients were doddering and not particularly fussy but even they never queried why Maggie spent precious time covering brand names with black tape or arranging cans in covert fashion. Bless Maggie and all those who sailed after her for continually having to contend with locals asking for a 'pack of my usual'. "Usual what?" she should have screamed, "Playing cards? Condoms? Firelighters?"

Today the shop seems to serve as an area for Sophie to slouch in, shoving produce across the counter with as much contempt as she can muster. If she's not half comatose across the hob-nobs, then she's hurling peanuts at Maddeh. Better that than Dev having a meltdown or MELTdown as he would probably bellow. It's time for the shop to return to providing good service with a side order of salacious gossip. Cometh the hour, cometh the tabard, cometh Julie Carp. Dear, dotty old Julie would shine behind that counter.

Across the cobbles and we bow down before the glittering Palace of Sanctimony. Please step inside for newspapers, a quarter of sweets and a good old talking down to by Mother Earth. Be brave and try a little chit-chat with Rio Rita and within seconds she will have, in a caring, considerate and non-patronising way, put you right. It's her way or the highway so think on. Or if you are unlucky, service will be provided by a shrewish camp old man. You will never want to shop there again. Not for you the selection of unheard of magazines and worrying selection boxes.

Compared to yesteryear though, the Kabin is a customer's dream. Forty years ago, a trip to the shop would have entailed shuffling down some alley. Once through the door, you would be greeted by a clapped-out cabaret singer and a nervous wreck who would happily dish out sweets from suspect jars whilst you browsed the Peters & Lee LPs, selected the latest Margaret Drabble from the library section and were then ushered to a tiny table where you were served tea in the company of Albert Tatlock. Had the Kabin remained in the same premises, Mavis would now been offering a tattooing service in the flat while Rita flogged you a mobile phone. Let's not even get started on the medieval wooden till.

Every other consumer option currently on offer is seriously warped. A meal at the Bistro/Nick's Place/Whatever consists of being shown to a table six inches from the main door in order to watch the owner's family provide a pantomime of abuse and name calling. Pop over to the kebab shop and it's Munch's Scream dishing out chilli sauce with added venom. Shuffle on down to Tracy's Tat for a plethora of stolen hairdryers and a proprietor who begins every sentence with a sarcastic "Well hello?"

Does the Street offer value for money and service with a smile? Should we be hoping for 'under new management' signs gracing the shop windows? Or should we all just clamber aboard the Weatherfield Wayfarer and head for the Arndale Centre?

Follow the Bluenose CorrieBlog on Twitter and Facebook

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...