If one more company tells me ‘You’ll get it tomorrow’ I think I will scream. I will NOT get tomorrow.
Shopping on a small island is very different to the Mainland (ie most of Orkney), let alone Scotland. We have to think far ahead, and the only impulse buying I can do in real time is a packet of polos or biscuits.
We do have a shop on the island, run by the Sinclair family, which is open ridiculously long hours for such a small place. (Many small island shops are only open 2 or 3 times a weeks for an hour or two.) It isn’t easy to see…!
And it is the Post Office too (but Royal Mail signs are not made for long hours of ultraviolet light!):
It is also one of the places for all the island notices (and you get all the news as well as your purchases!!)
For its size it stocks a wide variety of essentials from loo paper and lemonade to coffee and cat food. But anything with a short shelf life has to be ordered on a Thursday to be picked up on a Friday evening. So if I forget to order my cold meat on a Thursday, it is 8 days before I get any. Marina and Davie are incredibly accommodating, but they do not have any control about what the shops send over, so when Argos forgets to put in my rolls I have no bread for a week.
Which is why I bought myself a small bread maker recently….!
When I do go in to Kirkwall, or when folk come to visit me, it is time for a treat. For me that means FRESH FRUIT!! We usually have apples and oranges on the island, but I can’t take them, so I crave fresh fruit. In town I stalk the fruit counters trying to find the things which will keep the longest. At the same time I have to watch the volume and the weight of my purchases. We don’t have the luxury of low floor buses on our route, so everything has to be carried up 4 steep steps. You can easily spot island dwellers in Kirkwall – they are the ones with the large wheeled shopping trolleys or cases.
Many things have to be bought by phone or on line. This isn’t a choice for us, it is a necessity. But a huge percentage of companies will not send goods north of the Central Belt, let alone to the islands. When they do agree to send stuff, the delivery charge is often ridiculous – I was once quoted £28 to send a paperback that would have gone in the post for 68p.
If companies send stuff by Royal Mail, everything is well. Packets can take a while to get here, but they do get here, and they are delivered to the door six days a week without fail. But anything sent by carrier is a different matter. Everything sent by any carrier is taken to XXX, and brought over once a week, on a Friday. XXX is supposed to deliver to the door, and is paid to deliver to the door, but he just dumps the stuff off in the waiting room at the pier. (Name withheld to protect the guilty.) I then have to go down to the pier to see if it has arrived – and repeat the next week etc etc.
So next time you go in to a shopping centre to try on clothes in several shops for a special occasion tomorrow, spare a thought for those of us who have to plan eight weeks in advance for such things, to give stuff time to come, be wrong, be sent back, and new stuff to come…..!! And if you come to visit me, bring raspberries.