Follow me on Twitter: @janemcintyre12



I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

So I've just been out to support my local High Street.

I live in Ludlow, where retailers are facing punishing rate rises. Many are asking customers to sign counter-top petitions against the increases, which I've already done. There are some excellent independent stores in this medieval market town and some incredible produce at the local market, and I'm happy to support as many of them as I can.

But traders are facing a tough time. The local branch of HSBC is one of scores around country due to close down soon. And if twenty minutes in town today is anything to go by, things could well get tougher as customers choose to shop and bank online.

I needed to make three stops in town--for an item of make-up which my daughter can't source in Paris, which I'm taking out to her when I visit at the weekend. For two small gifts for friends. And for some euros, for the French trip.'s what happened.

First: the make up. It was a Boot's own brand item. But this is a small branch of the chain, and their stock is limited. This one wasn't available. I waited to speak to an assistant. She went online, and ordered the product under their 'Click and Collect' scheme. It probably would have been quicker to do this online from home...but anyway, it's due in store tomorrow. So I'll go back in.

Next: gifts for friends I'm seeing tonight. I opted for little boxes of handmade chocolates from a local store with a great range of confectionery.

Flavours selected and packed, I offered my card. Cash only. There was a cashpoint at the One Stop (I wish...) supermarket, a few doors down. I belted along--but  the machine outside was out of order. There's a post office at the back of the store, but the queue was long. I grabbed some washing powder, paid for it, and got cashback at the till. Then belted back for my chocolates. (Which look great.)

Last job : Euros, for my trip to Paris this weekend. Last time I needed some, I visited Thomson's travel agent in Ludlow. The woman who served me that time, was professional, speedy and charming, so I popped back in.

The shop was empty, except for the five uniformed, smiling, welcoming members of staff. Not sure which one to pick, I told the assistant in the middle that I just needed to buy some euros.

"Ah--we haven't actually got any at the moment," she explained. "We'll have some in on Friday."

This was Tuesday. I fly on Friday. I thanked them-- all of them-- and whizzed across the road to a branch of Nat West. It went like this:

Me: 'Hi--I just need to buy some euros, please.'

Assistant : 'OK--do you bank with us?'

Me: 'No, but my bank doesn't have a branch here.'

Assistant : 'Ah, OK, but we can only sell euros to our own customers, because we don't have a way of debiting your card, as you're with another bank.'

Me: 'Hmm. OK. So...if I whizz back outside, and withdraw cash from your machine, and come back in with it, can I buy some euros from you, please?'

Assistant : ' much did you want?'

Me :'Only £75 worth.'

Assistant : 'I can't really, because you see, it's using our stock of euros, which are really meant for our own customers.'

Me : 'Yes but...there isn't a branch of my bank here.'

Assistant : 'You could try the post office'.
Me: 'I've been in there for something else. There was a very long queue and I need to get home now.'

Assistant :'Sorry.'


Second bank customer : 'Hang on,' (waves bunch of euros at me as bank staff behind glass look on.....)--do you just want to buy some euros?'

Me: 'Yes'.

Second bank customer : 'I've just come in here to change mine back into sterling. Do you want to buy some from me ?'

Me: 'Yes please. I'll pop out to the cashpoint and get out £80 and we'll sort it out over there by the chairs...ok?'

So I did. We calculated a mutually acceptable exchange rate--better for both of us than she would have got over the counter. The bank customer wished me a lovely holiday. She continued on her way, and I came home to record a voiceover job.

For an online shopping app.

End of story.

1 comment:

  1. On Twitter or Facebook? It would be great if you could RT/Share this for me, please! Thanks for dropping by,
    Jane :)