Living in the UK you get rather used to the fact that every possible commercial opportunity is seized upon and this situation can sometimes leave you feeling exploited and rather tired of being advertised to! Any café or restaurant in or near a tourist attraction charges crazy prices and everything that could vaguely be described as an attraction warrants an entrance fee. Parking charges can be ridiculous and you can’t go to the supermarket without being asked if you want your car washed, a crack in your windscreen fixed or if you could make a donation to a food bank. Leaving the house to go anywhere involves resisting a hundred ways to spend your money on things you didn’t know you wanted. Thankfully life isn’t like this everywhere – yet!
One of the reasons that I love Slovenia is that the entire nation has yet to wake up to the commercial opportunities that this beautiful country surely provides. Slovenia is poorly promoted as a tourist destination. Many natural wonders which would attract admission charges elsewhere are completely free to visit, parking is cheap and you can buy a decent coffee for a £1 even if you are right next to a significant tourist attraction. I doubt if things will stay this way forever.
The Fishing Shop
On a recent visit to Slovenia my partner fancied doing some fishing and this resulted in a trip to a local fishing shop close to beautiful Lake Bohinj. I have no interest in fishing but this Aladdin’s cave of a shop was fascinating even to me. There was tackle, clothing, lures and bait everywhere with no discernible stock system and a till that looked like an antique. I couldn’t understand how they knew exactly what they stocked in the shop and I suspected that they actually had no idea! Prices were cheap and the shop featured everything my partner needed.
Behind the Times
I was charmed by this lovely store but I felt alarm bells ringing over its future. These days retailers need to move with the times, avail themselves of the latest technology and trade online otherwise they will be swallowed up by those who do. That little fishing shop was a time warp with no online presence and probably no clue as to the stock they were holding. The EPoS (electronic point of sale) systems that enable retailers to undertake multi-channel selling were definitely absent and the lack of a website meant we only found the place my asking the locals if such a shop existed.
When people can buy their tackle, equipment and clothing online and have it delivered to their door, shops like this may find that all that they can sell is a few lures and some bait to tourists who have left some of their gear at home. A few flies and maggots isn’t going to sustain a store with that much stock and so it wouldn’t surprise me if many shops like this go out of business even in countries like Slovenia where commerce is a little more old fashioned and people shop locally. It was enough to make me scream at the owners to get a good website but I doubt if they would have listened.
Article by Sally Stacey