THE BLOG

Sad but Not Unexpected

21/01/2013 15:44 GMT | Updated 22/03/2013 09:12 GMT

The slow demise of the British high street is sad, very sad indeed. But it is hardly unexpected. The last fortnight saw the loss of another three big chains - Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster - but honestly, it was only a matter of time.

Online shopping has always been a boon for agoraphobics, or people without much time on their hands. One click of a mouse and your good will be on your doorstep within 48 hours. But over the last few years its many advantages have become apparent to everyone else as well.

Many people have waxed lyrical over many column inches about the brilliant service in HMV or the technical knowhow of the Jessops staff. But regardless of how fantastic the guys in the shop may be that doesn't do anything to dampen the annoyance of trailing all the way into town or out to a shopping centre and discovering that the item you wanted isn't in stock.

Online you can find this out without even having to leave your own home. You can order it and pay for it without having to change out of your pyjamas. While you may still have to go into a shop to collect it, at least you'll know that it's there when you arrive.

HMV in particular is a great shop and most of my music collection comes from there. While I still know some people who like to buy physical CDs - either for the cover art or just because a physical CD feels nicer - the majority of my friends have moved to getting their music online either from iTunes or from Spotify. There is a very good reason for this.

Even the most devoted fan of a band will not like every song that they put out. I know that there are bands where I only love a couple of songs that they do. If I want to get a specific song on my iPod I don't want to have to pay upwards of ten pounds to get a CD in order to get that one song, while ignoring the rest. But on iTunes I can download the specific song for basically peanuts. It has nothing to do with not liking the band, or not liking music. It's just that I don't like everything that they do.

The high street is a great thing. The concept of being able to do all you shopping in one trip is a great idea and it can at times make for a pretty good day out with friends. But the advantages of online - being able to check availability, comfort, speed, not having to carry it all home - will always outweigh the advantages of doing your shopping in person on the high street.

I will miss the high street if it goes, and I do hope that something will be done to try and save it. But no-one should act surprised as if this hasn't been coming for a very long while.