Tamako Market: decay of the local shops

tamako1Before 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.


12 thoughts on “Tamako Market: decay of the local shops

  1. Mwnanamai says:

    The secret of the survival of small shops depends on the distribution network, if someone found a way to create a distribution network for them as efficient as big stores they might be able to compete a bit, but big stores present so many advantages this is an unfair fight.

    In my country the phenomenon is actually that local shops owned by the locals are disappearing and being replaced by shops opened by people from West Africa and China … which is funny because my country is pretty poor and low on the development department. I guess that maybe there is also a matter of commercial skills that was lost and as such people just don’t know how to handle a small shop, plus with high minimum wage laws you can’t afford to have one person tending on 50 000$ of goods to make a 500$ in sales per day when you could have that same person tending to 200 000$ in goods and running sales in the 20 000$ per day.

    But what really scares me is the tendency towards self-checkout stores, it is just sad what it will do the unskilled job market 😦

    • ninetybeats says:

      There are examples of little shops who’ve made a very efficient digital promotional environment for themselves. Attracting potential customers from outside their area. Still you need a creative mind to accomplish that.

      On the skill part, being skilled in something can help you a great deal. But I can believe in underdeveloped countries this can be difficult. And with entrepreneurs seeking new markets, they invade local areas without considering local needs and wealth. Despite that, it brings jobs to areas where else it wouldn’t be. Possibly attracting other companies and so on.

      • Mwnanamai says:

        My country lack of entrepreneurial skills seems to be a product of both culture and the joke of an education given to people, before the Chinese and West Africans we had the Congolese immigrants introduce the concept of selling snacks on the street to people. Not everyone in the country is that untalented at commerce but the a majority of those living in the capital city are like that, and with 60% of the Population living in Luanda this doesn’t make me optimistic about the future.

        As for foreign investors being attracted by the growth from the new jobs I am not sure either, it seems that the 80% of all the big name commercial ventures are partially owned by government officials and just money laundering for all intents and purpose, some few others that weren’t turned out be money laundering of ventures of funds connected to terrorists group Hezbollah from Lebanon. You bet the Americans where mighty pissed off and luckily they were too busy making money to blowup an embassy or two.


        So I am not really optimistic about the future, I am going to just move to another country because I can’t stand this mess anymore.

      • ninetybeats says:

        So there’s a lot of corruption, meaning there has to be more strict policy to counter that. On the other hand the current government has to make place for a new wave of officials that can make a change. But before that can happen they have to experience less poverty, or else when they finally get on top, they want to enrichen themselves.The problem with that is, is that it needs time before it can change. Economic growth can make it happen.
        I can understand you want to go somewhere that can have more opportunitie and is more stable.

    • Muri-Muir says:

      Self-checkout stores…I’m not sure what you mean buy that, but it’s probably a literal meaning. They have a self-checkout thing at my Library, it’s super nifty and handy (I use it a lot since I’m too shy to talk to people I don’t know >v<), but it's obviously lessening the need for working personel at the library desk to check out my books. With online stores, and stuff like this, there are less and less job-openings, our world is plummeting into economical chaos ._. One time, I picked up trash on the street and my friend knocked it out of my hand XD I was like "Dude wtf" and he said, "That's a chance for a job opening for a trash collector". A really analytical way of thinking, he was thinking for the community as a whole haha. Although I though I was helping the community by cleaning it, I was technically erasing a job opportunity for someone. <- oh wow, I just realized that was one of the topics for an editorial I still have as a draft. oh well XD

      • ninetybeats says:

        Its good to see that this post made people rethink about it haha:p
        In some way your friend is right and I don’t believe that all technological advancement is the way for society to solve all its problems. It also creates problems at the same time.
        So you are going to do an editorial, you should work out that draft:p

  2. Moonlitasteria says:

    You speak the truth, my friend. Most of the local mom and pa stores that were around when I was little hardly even exist in today’s world. I am still lucky that the ones that I do frequent are still around, since places like “Wal-mart” (a place I despise) is soaking up all the business. Don’t get wrong, stores like Wal-mart serve their purpose with their cheap prices, but frankly, the employees are rude as shit. I should know, since I used to shop at the store my mom worked at it and seen how they handle so called “customer service”. As you say, local stores are sort of more welcoming, especially for someone like me that hates to interact with people much on a daily basis. There usually not too terribly cheap on some products, but so much more pleasant and convenient to do business with. Usually don’t go shopping in Wal-mart or other places unless it is early in the morning.

    However, besides bigger chains like Wal-mart, local chains also have to compete the dollar stores we have here. Every-time I go down the street, seems like a new one crops up. Due to the recession back in 2007-2009, everyone seems to be stuck in that mode, which in turn, gave dollars most of the predominance here. So shopping choices between One big mall – Walmart – dollars stores – and various other small shopping districts (which a shop can close at any moment) is all we have here. If wasn’t for having the best medical care in the US, military base, specialty stores, and hosting one the biggest sporting events, this place would be would nothing.

    • Muri-Muir says:

      In my area, Walmart is generally the topic of ridicule. While it is thrifty and cheap, lots of….weird people go to buy stuff there ._. There’s even a website that sends you weekly photos of creepy people at Walmart (my friend is subscribed to it). Although we make fun of it, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a successful company. …I don’t remember the purpose of that statement. lol

      • Moonlitasteria says:

        No, my mother would have to agree with you on the weird person part and ridicule, lol. After Sam Walton died and his little demon spaw,,,I mean children took over, the business really went downhill. I really feel sorry for the employees that work their, but I won’t get into all the reasons. However, as you say, it is a successful company either way.

  3. Muri-Muir says:

    I live in California, and local stores are as almost as rare as shiny pokemon XD I see lots of company stores though, which is expected. This topic reminds me of a story, there was once a Pizza Hut on the corner of a cross-section. After a few years, it got replaced with some other small-scale pizza store. That store lasted like 2 months. Then it got replaced by some weird Italian store. It got replaced by some multi-food restaurant in 3 months. Currently that section is “Calimari’s Oven Cooked Pizza” ….I’ll see how long they last.

    • ninetybeats says:

      I’ve seen that happen:p
      Those small specialized goods stores won’t last long against global or national competitors. Its a shame to see that locals can’t make a living in owning a shop. But that’s were we are all heading towards with the economic structure that is created.

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