Perhaps you love the comfort of buying all your shopping under one roof. Then again, maybe the versatility of your local market is more exciting. However, have you ever thought about the differences between a supermarket and a market? This isn’t something most people think about. They just grab their shopping from the usual place they’re familiar with.
So, today I’m going to give you something to think about. And so, the next time you visit your supermarket or market you will be a little wiser
Some remarkable facts about the supermarket
In the past, going to the supermarket used to be a social occasion. Shoppers told the staff what they wanted and the goods would be given to them from behind the counter. They also had to wait for the assistants to measure and wrap loose grocery. This gave the shoppers an opportunity to chat with the staff while waiting. So, visits to the supermarkets were fun and stimulating, especially for lonely people.
Buying the grocery was more like a day out as they had to go to different shops. Shoppers had to make trips to the greengrocers, butchers, bakery, fishmongers and the general store. However, the milkman delivered the milk.
It wasn’t until the 1920s that the supermarket started selling fresh meat and foodstuffs.
We have come a long way since then.
- The supermarket is a bigger version of your local grocery store or corner shop
- A lot of consideration goes into their location. They’re usually built in residential areas to make it easier for people to do their shopping.
- Most supermarkets have parking spaces and some open for 24 hours or until 11 pm.
- People use shopping trolleys while travelling through the aisle to place their items in.
- Their marketing strategies to reach a larger group of shoppers include advertising, billboards, direct mail and more recently apps on mobile phones.
- Enticing displays of offers, buy one get one free and discounts in the supermarkets is a clever ploy to get shoppers to spend more money.
- Many supermarkets belong to commercial chains. They usually own smaller franchise branches within the locality.
- Supermarkets are cheaper than the corner shops because they buy from manufacturers at a reduced price. Therefore, they can afford to cut their prices.
- Supermarkets get credit from manufacturers, such as 30 or up to 90 days to pay for goods after they’ve received them.
- Their profit margins increase by selling many sale items, which are bought by a large number of shoppers.
- To reduce labour costs, more and more supermarket has self-service checkouts. These are usually manned by one or two employees.
- Some supermarkets offer banking, insurance, pharmacies, cafes, clothes and petrol station services.
- Incentives were given to customers in trading stamps in the 1950s. These days you get loyalty cards, club cards or membership cards instead.
- The traditional supermarkets face stiff competition from stores such as Wal-Mart and Lidl. In addition, for shoppers who prefer to buy in bulk, Costco is also another rivalry for the supermarkets.
- Larger supermarkets now sell books, newspapers, magazines, CDs, videos, office stationary, cosmetics, toys, kitchen and bathroom items, houseware, electrical goods, flowers, lottery tickets, clothes, alcohol and more.
The supermarket is a one-stop shop for more or less everything.
Interesting information about the market
In England and Wales, most people made a living from livestock farming in the pre-19th century. They also lived on the farms. After church ended, farmers and their wives brought goods to sell on the church grounds. Then market towns developed out of the centers of the local areas and became part of the country life. Some of the places were Market Drayton, Market Harborough, Market Weighton and others. They were also located near castles and crossroads where vehicles passed by. Eventually, market squares developed on large main streets.
Markets had to remain within a certain distance from each other. This law is still in force and a licence is needed from the local town hall.
Walking through a market in the summer is fantastic. However, in the winter, especially on a rainy day it’s not so pleasant. Your food is likely to get wet if you are buying from an uncovered stall. Unless you’re good at managing an umbrella while paying for goods and packing them in your bag.
Markets have evolved a lot since they first started. Markets in different areas cater to people from different cultures. Let’s look at the modern market:
- There are many popular markets in the UK, especially in London.
- Markets are made up of many shops and stall owners selling items such as fresh fruits, vegetables, clothes, second-hand books, collectable items and more.
- Some markets such as Borough Market have a place to sit for a break and enjoy lovely fish and chips, sip a lovely cup of steaming hot chocolate from a chocolatier or enjoy a smoothie. You also have a choice of Italian or Spanish delicacies.
- Brixton Market started on Atlantic Road in the 1870s and expanded to Brixton Road and Electric Avenue. By the way, Electric Avenue was one of the first streets in the UK to have electric lights. Brixton Market is famous for its ethnicity selling foods, fish and meat for the African and Caribbean community. And a big selection of hair shops catering for women who wear wigs, weaves or want to maintain their natural Afro hair.
- Greenwich Market has been around since the 14th century. Those days they were known for selling livestock, fish, eggs, meat and poultry. The original stables and slaughterhouse are still there. These days they sell street food and crafts.
- One of the oldest markets, Spitalfields, is located in east London. It dates back to AD 300/400 and was once a Roman cemetery. Archaeologists dug up the body of a pagan woman in 1999 from the Roman era. She was found in an ornate Sarcophagus, which is a coffin. If you’re looking for shoes, clothes, vintage, bric-a-brac, designer merchandise and souvenirs, this is the market to go to.
- Covent Garden Market attracts at least 44 million tourists each year. This place is, trendy, buzzing with activities and has a wonderful atmosphere. It’s near the Royal Opera House and the National Gallery. After spending your money on known brands such as Chanel, Burberry and Laduree you can pop into the Shake Shack for a yummy American style burger.
- Portobello Market was birthed from when the area was just a path in the country. It’s named after Porto Bello Farm, which got its name from the Porto Bello town in Panama. The British captured it from the Spanish during the war in 1739. This market has many chic shops and the area is famous. Hugh Grant starred in the film, Notting Hill, which was made there and one of UKs oldest cinema, The Electric Cinema is based there.
Finally, although supermarkets are convenient because they have everything under one roof, markets are much more interesting. They are diverse and cater for people that are more ethnic from all lifestyles. In addition, most markets have an amazing history behind them. And you get to meet unique people, sample mouth-watering food and grab a bargain in the process.