I had a few trips to London over the summer for book events mostly.
After the gentle surroundings here I got a bit of a bruising by the city hubbub. It reminded me of why I moved out!
However it’s good to get out your rut – it makes you appreciate what you’ve got so much more.
Since Charley was with me we inevitably did some shopping, but she’s a bit like me in that shopping isn’t a particular pastime – it’s more of a mission. In and out ASAP. And only particular shops.
We were in the West End for four hours but we only did two shops – her favourite and mine.
Hers is the cosmetics shop Lush. That one with the fantastic smell when you walk past. I can see why she likes it. But it’s not just about the products alone, it’s also about the interest and kindness of the staff.
As a sales strategy it really works. Charley spent far more than she meant to. But it wasn’t only about that, she said, she also came away feeling good. She came away with a gift and a feeling of friendship and care – they certainly do the job well.
But what a great job, to give the gift of feeling good to someone. Customers not only come out with the products, but with a sense of care being taken over them as customers. How rare is that? How much better our daily experiences would be if we were made to feel like that more often. If we could make others feel like that?
Her freebie came with a card which talked about Random Acts of Kindness and on receiving this gift she should pay it forward and make a gift to someone else. What a wonderful philosophy; so much better than the sales attack you get in some shops.
However, I didn’t get either in my favourite shop. I think staff realise that their customers should be left alone to get their heads stuck in books and the more they read and discover the more they’re likely to buy. For my favourite shop was Foyles, the renowned bookshop. And despite my anti-spending philosophy I bought a book from them. Just to show my support.
And of course because I love books!
But it will also generate my own act of ‘paying it forward’. Because we have a philosophy; as we bring things into the house, we try and let things go, usually to a charity shop. Or perhaps a friend. It will be my Random Act of Kindness for the day.
And it reminds me of the fact that sometimes we get too busy to remember to be kind. Yet kindness creates kind responses. And is, of course, a lovely way to parent!