Great British Retail

First shop, advertising itself as a “diamond and watch specialist”:

Me: “Can you stick a new battery in this watch (an ordinary Seiko) and replace the seal?”

Assistant: “No, we’d have to send it away for 6-8 weeks.  We don’t have the special tools here.”

The last time I changed the battery was in Dubai, where a bloke in a kiosk did it in 15 minutes.

Second shop, two minutes later, specialising in video games:

Me: “Where are the PC games?”

Assistant: “Oh, we don’t do those any more, but if you go to our other branch in…”

Me: “Nah, I’ll download it instead.”

A nation of shopkeepers, indeed.


Watch battery changed in Phuket in 5 minutes for $6, including leak test.  Computer game purchased in Phuket for $15.


4 thoughts on “Great British Retail

  1. I routinely change batteries in my French watch (brand now obsolete) in … local shoemaker’s shop. A small 1-room hole-in-the-wall near subway exit, where people come to hammer in a broken heel or fix a zipper. Cost me $8.
    Thanks, US melting pot, for Bukhara-Jew shoemakers and their public service.

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