Thursday, 31 October 2019

Dilution of retail

I enquired recently about job opportunities at the Waterstones bookshop chain and was told that recruitment is done on a store-by-store basis.

So I phoned a Glasgow branch to find out if there were any vacancies - what, you thought blogging pays??? - and to confirm how to make my approach.

A manager I spoke to said, "We use the old-fashioned method of putting a notice in the store window but we also post on social media. We've just recruited and so applications are closed."

He told me that there had just been 300 applicants for a bookseller post; so I figure that there are at least 299 unemployed book-lovers who perhaps can't afford to shop at Waterstones.

To be honest, I'm actually amazed that any bricks & mortar bookshops still exist on our high streets. The rush for books has now graduated largely to the internet - where purchasing tends to be cheaper - and even Waterstones online store is really just Amazon with a skin based on the chain's branding.

Waterstones branches also tend to rely on in-store caf├ęs in order to make a profit. My hat certainly goes off to them for pursuing workable business models.

Elsewhere, retail jobs paying close to minimum wage include the likes of Co-operative and Tesco grocery stores. Both of these now default to offering "flexible" contracts based on part-time hours; lowest I saw was four hours per week with the Co-op.

Big Issue, anyone?


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