I just finished Gerald Kersh’s Night and the City over the weekend. I’ll be writing it up shortly. While reading it though I was amused by this description of British chain store Woolworth’s which explains both why it survived so long and why it was no surprise when it finally went bust at the end of 2008. This was written in 1938, but still held pretty much true seventy years later:
But next door to the stationer’s there was a Woolworth’s store. She went in – not to buy anything, but only to look around. Nobody goes into Woolworth’s shops to buy anything: one visits Woolworth’s as a kind of museum, merely to look. And one comes out with a pot of paint, a hacksaw, a kettle, a pound of sweets, three egg-cups, a writing-pad, a lampshade, an electric-light bulb, a typewriter-rubber, an ice-cream cone, a rubber belt, two apostle spoons, a Swiss roll, a toilet roll and a packet of seeds.
I don’t even know what an apostle spoon is, but it wouldn’t surprise me to learn they’d still sold them right up to the end.