Wednesday, 24 November 2010

BBC 'Turn Back Time' - shopping 'The High Street'

Ticking off that Christmas list - can it be done in Shepton Mallet alone?

By  Ed_2010 | Monday, November 22, 2010, 17:36
I have decided to place myself a challenge;  Can I get my whole family something they would really like, shopping entirely in Shepton Mallet?
Can you buy all your gifts in Shepton Mallet this year?

I make no secret of my contempt of shopping when the stores get busy and the people get rude.  As a result, I have generally drifted towards online shopping in the past few years, especially at Christmas when a siege mentality overcomes so many shoppers, who choose exactly when and how they will display any kind of Christmas spirit!  However, this year, I have decided to plan my shopping and to try and recapture some of the atmosphere that you simply can’t get from ‘hassle free mouse clicks’.
So what types of gift are you looking for?
Fed up of getting socks and aftershave you’ll never use (or worse, a comedy tie)?  Then set an example to your loved ones by thinking a little more creatively about their Christmas presents.  You will disappointed if you think I am about to do a top 3 filling stations with shops open late on Christmas eve!
At the Townsend Retail Park we have Argos,  Boots, and, love them or hate them, Tesco All three offer main and own brand goods, and are a true resource, however, in terms of ‘class’, if every single gift you give has ‘Especially Selected for Tesco’s’ written on, you are just one step down from the last minute filling station dash, in the imagination stakes!
Across the road we have Aldi which, because of it’s often unfathomable stock range, might have something quite surprising.  For example, for around £5 (£20 less than you would expect) I managed to add a laptop ‘skin’ to a birthday present earlier this year, and it has been used daily ever since.
If you haven’t called in lately, it is worth going into Haskins Retail Centre.  The range of things on offer there now extends way beyond furniture, and includes clothing, toys and even holidays!  It offers a diverse range of goods and has it’s own parking so should be high on anyones list.
MJ Sports might provide some inspiration, as might a trip further down the town to places like Dredge and Male or to Martins the newsagent.
If you have a loved one who will only be pleased with something utterly unusual then Number Twenty One is certainly worth a visit (it is worth a visit, full stop).
Kilver Court always has things I would consider as great gifts (as a foodie) but they also have the Feastival Speciality Market which, having heard feedback from the last one, is a ‘must go to’ event.
Alternatives to presents:
When you are stressing over gifts and ‘things they would like’, take a moment to consider the alternatives.  Look back to our Recovering from Summer... article and remember - you don’t have to buy these treats yourself, you can always give them to a loved one.
For children and parents (especially new ones) I recommend The Keepsake Co. Here you will definitely find something really quite unique including activities and mementos...keepsakes, if you like!  If you have been in then you will appreciate that I am not skating around the issue - a few words in an article like this simply cannot do them justice.
Another option worth considering is a photo session.  The Keepsake Co do photo sessions and picture based memorabilia, but for something slightly different, why not consider Merille Jane Photography?
These days with cameras with large amounts of storage, and camera phones, we often take lots of pictures, but print out very few.  In a survey recently, digital photo frames came top in a list of ‘gadgets noone wanted’ however, a tastefully framed picture can be a moving and enduring gift.  Great Ostry Picture Framing should be able to oblige with the framing, while Capita’s Copy Shop (near Mendip District Council’s offices) will do a grand job of the printing at a pocket friendly price.
Finally, the power of flowers to make someone feel special shouldn’t be underestimated even in this days and age (not just if you get back later than planned from the office party!) and Forget Me Not always comes with my recommendation.

I have every confidence that all of my family should be quite happy with their Shepton-purchased gifts and treats.  Looking to buy all I decide to give locally, rather than being some kind of impediment, has caused me to put more thought into the gifts - certainly more than just going ‘click click click’ with a mouse!  I have a feeling that when accompanied by the forthcoming shopping events, and lightly garnished with a glass of mulled wine and a few roasted chestnuts, doing my Christmas shopping in Shepton Mallet will once again become something of a tradition for me.
There’s more...
Don’t forget to keen an eye on our events calendar for Christmas shopping events (especially the lantern procession) and as ever, if there is an Aladin’s cave of gifts, or an angle that hasn’t been taken, feel free to contribute.  Also, don’t forget to review the businesses you use - they will help your fellow townsfolk as well as people from outside to choose where they shop, and hopefully send them away with the right impression of our Town.

Thank you Ed for mentioning No21x

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