Remembering The Country Store

I remember the country store. We still have a few country stores in the world but not many. There was one gas pump (Petrol for my international friends), a variety of canned goods, perishables such as fresh vegetables and hardware. There was no vending machine. Instead a large chest near the counter kept eight ounce glass bottles of soft drinks on one side and beer on the other side. In the back of the store you could find a small selection of sporting goods. All of fishing tackle, shotgun shells and 22 caliber rifle rounds were common as was traps for fur trappers. But the most sought after resource to be found in the country store was the counter itself. Not a counter that’s crammed to brim with cheap impulse buys but a spacious wooden counter that worn down from being well used. It’s stained with coffee and soft drinks and scratched from hardware or change being tossed down at checkout. A properly equipped counter in a country store comes with a smiling face and plenty of conversation. In the days before Facebook we made a public post by mentioning something to clerk ( Who was usually the owner/operator). The clerk would then leak the news to the next customer during his checkout. ( yup, back then gossip was done without any social media). There was a bit of an art to being a clerk in the country store. Just the right amount of conversation and gossip would keep the customer in the building long enough to encourage a subsequent purchase but not so much that they felt trapped. The clerk knew everyone in the community and what gossip to keep to himself. ( A built-in spam filter!) Well, most of the time anyway.

Today mostly what you find is the convenience store. The best way to tell the difference between a country store and a convenience store is the atmosphere. A country store is welcoming and inviting where a convenience store is focused on bulk processing of sales. The later type is usually clean and neat with no coffee stained counters and very little in the way of a relationship with the customers. Just pay and get out. With the onset of automation the friendly clerk will be replaced by computer and a scanner.

My friend Sophia and I was commenting about how something made by human hands was more valuable than something stamped out by a machine. As we move forward into the brave new world of robots and app purchases consider the value of the people who are out there building their business based on a relationship with the community rather than just bulk processing of sales. ( And do stop by Sophia’s blog. She covers a broad range of things from an intelligent and interesting angle in the UK. )

8 thoughts on “Remembering The Country Store

  1. Too bad I didn’t know there’s a country store and worse that I haven’t been to one. Being young have disadvantages and this could be one of them 😅 it’s when I visit your blog that I get to learn a lot, especially the most wonderful things you share about the past. Thank you, Lloyd!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Aw, Lloyd thank you for the mention. ❤️ wonderful post, and I’m absolutely loving country counter where you can exchange gossip, it’s got a real community atmosphere to it and when a store can build that, then they’ve created an additional community hub. Even in a big city like London, our store clerks always get to know their customer, crack jokes with each other and of course, aside from family, nobody really knows you like a store clerk knows you. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome for the mention Sophia. It’s something that I should have done a long time ago. ( I’m just that scatterbrained)
      The country store isn’t as much of building as it is a way of doing business together and it doesn’t surprise me to hear that London is full of them. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aw, I’m happy that I’m even mentioned especially from you! ❤️

        “Doing business together.” I love that. They really are. It’s a community supporting each other. I hope no matter how far technology advances, that business moguls never forget that customer service is one of the core pillars of customer satisfaction. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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