Before big companies ruled the world, small shops were around the corner. You bought your daily necessities at the local grocery store. People knew each other and made a little chit chat, perhaps giving you a free item because you are a regular customer. With small shops competing with big companies, the personal touch in the local market loses ground.
Tamako Market gives the audience a glimpse in the world of the local shopping district. Where everybody knows each other by name, helps each other out in time of need and gives excellent customer service. It gives a vibe of one big family, in good and bad times.
Big competitors push the local markets away from the shopping district. They sell more, are able to sell products for lower prices and have a wider variety of products. Of course this comes with a price, as the personal touch is lost. It is all a big automated machine.
You do not visit the huge stores when you have problems and they won’t know you have a problem. They won’t notice your absence when they haven’t seen you for a week. Only people in the local store can interact with you on a personal level. With the world becoming ever more individualistic, the personal touch perhaps is the thing a lot of people need. It fulfills a social function. It makes sure, the people who have trouble socializing, still have interaction. They are comfortable and welcome in a safe environment.
The disappearance of the local stores is perhaps inevitable. Only a community effort could save the local store. Being creative in the way how the small store sells her goods, could be a possible way to survive and emphasize the need for social interaction.
Small shopping districts like the ones in Tamako Market are becoming ever more scarce. Whether this development is unavoidable and natural, it is good to stop and look. Look and understand what role the local market fulfills in your local community. Expansion and cheapness, isn’t always the solution for the problems we and others face. Even a stop at the small grocery store, can make a difference for somebody.