Our friend has offered to take us with her when she went to do her shopping. We began in the shopping district where is Kitty says she and her kind do more of what they call “window shopping”- deciding what things in the shop windows they are able to buy. We enter to store.
The first thing that strikes us is its comparative emptiness. There are, indeed two or three people at each counter. But no queues, no people in the Centre of the shop. We have been looking round. It is true that this store has all that can be found in every grocery. Tea, oatmeal, spices, cocoa, bacon, ham, butter, cheese and the rest.
“You needn’t be surprised if I don’t want to buy anything there”, our friend puts in. “This is far above folks like us” “But you could by your tea and rice and things like that”, we suggest. “Not me”, she said; “the tea, and sugar and rice are in special blends and packs and cost a good deal more than I pay”. We notice that very little money changes hands; most of the customers in this shop pay monthly or quarterly. We pass on into another department. Expensive furs, beautiful evening frocks and cloaks, shoes of every pattern but all priced high.
Furnishing department, stationary department, book department, jewelry. All through the store there are many assistants.
Kitty winks at us and then goes up to an assistant. “Excuse me, can you tell me where I shall find warm woollies for my husband?”
The assistant slowly looks Kitty up and down, taking in your shoes slightly down at the heels, her neat but inexpensive tweed winter coat, her little felt hat, and answers: “I’m afraid you’ll find nothing to suit you here”. Kitty merely raises her eyebrows, and turns to us again, scarcely restraining her smile. – “There you are”, says Kitty. “We’d better pop in somewhere else.” So we enter another large store, but one this time which is humming with the buying chatter of obviously lowers middle class.
The fish shops of which there are always many in England, the people being great lovers of fish, are today closed, as always on Mondays, otherwise we should see good displays of hake, haddock, cod and herrings for the working class tables. In the big stores materials are so well and tastefully displayed, that they look much better than they are.