Woolies Will Be Missed

Woolworths has closed down in the UK. Our branch closed on January 5th 2009 (I think some closed earlier).

It will be missed by a lot of people, though when I searched on Google to see what others were saying, there was a certain amount of ‘putting the boot in.’

A question that was asked more than once was “when did you last buy anything good from Woolworths, and can you remember what it was?”

Some items weren’t of best quality and you found out what to avoid, but I bet it was a great resource for students and pupils. They could buy budget-price bedding, mugs, sweets, CDs, stationery, stamps and batteries. They could top up PAYG phones. Luggage and storage items were available there, along with newspapers and magazines. We sometimes bought the Radio Times. Some said Woolworths offered a ‘strange mixture’ of products, but I saw nothing strange about it. Lots of shops offer a mixed selection. I mentioned in an earlier post how I went into a PC World store which had stationery, and then went into a Staples store nearby which had computers and software. You wondered which one you were in.

Anyway, since people were wondering what others found of interest there, I’m posting photos of some of the things we bought in the last few months, weeks and days of Woolworths. We bought more than is pictured, but gave things away at Christmas and the New Year. I remember an absorbent blue floor mop; a set of stainless steel storage canisters; a plastic storage basket for bathroom or kitchen; a luxurious faux fur bed throw; a wine opener.

I taught myself (I hope!) how to post smaller photos that you click to enlarge. If I got it wrong and it causes problems, I apologize… tips appreciated!

Our most recent purchases from Woolworths

I persuaded Mum to let me include some of her purchases. She owns the marzipan fruits, stainless steel trivet and storage rack (there are more in the kitchen), one of the packs of pens, the three sharpeners, the three red pens, the three bottles of Coca-Cola (do you think three is her lucky number?) Actually we got six and drank two; the other was in the fridge.

The rest are mine, including:

CDs: Glen Campbell, Chris de Burgh, Elton John (bought for Rocket Man and Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me).

DVDs: Tears of the Sun, Castaway, The Chronicles of Riddick, Pitch Black, The Wizard of Oz, Casino Royale (starring Daniel Craig).

Four posters: Prince Caspian, Tinkerbell, two Golden Compass posters. I looked for Wall-E but he must have been sold out by then.

The two Toblerones were a random gift from a neighbour.

The last few laundry hampers were pink… which suited me fine! I could imagine the last person buying a blue hamper thinking ‘ha ha, I got the blue!’ but they’re welcome to it. Though if they put it in a charity shop, I would probably snabble it.

Mum also bought some shop fittings to use as cat-dish stands.

Shop fittings from Woolies

For stationery junkies, I’m including a closer view of the notebooks, notepads, pens, blue sharpener (the other two were hiding) and two ‘flexible’ rulers! I was trying not to get the notebooks or the Signo gel pens, but in the end I couldn’t help myself. The big patterned notebooks will probably be personal journals. The littlest pad with the sticker across the front was the last one in the store. It was lying in a box of assorted things for clearance, and I felt sorry for it…

My Woolies stationery

Something spooky happened… note that our branch of Woolworths closed on Jan 5th. At home I have an electronic singing bird which twitters Christmas carols (such as ‘Jingle tweet, jingle tweet, jingle all the…’ or ‘God wish you merry gentletweet’). It had been chirping right up to the 4th or 5th. Then I took it down on Jan 6th and tried to get one last song out of it before we put it away, and it was silent. The batteries were dead. It didn’t seem a good idea leaving it with batteries which might leak during the year, so I opened up the battery case and found….

You’ve guessed it. Woolworth batteries.

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6 responses

  1. I miss having family-owned stores. I can remember a time when not everything was corporate-owned.

  2. Wierd…they closed down over here about 10 years ago. I love Woolworths as a kid – we always got to go to the little confectionary for a malt or a corndog if we were “good” while my Mum did her shopping.
    Walmart drove them out of business.
    Too bad really…

  3. Honestly, because Woolies sold just about everything, I’d always wander in there while shopping – and I’d never find what I was looking for.

    But I think Woolies was where I bought The Chronicles of Riddick too.

  4. Another case of competition being destructive, perhaps. Though as you found yourself, we didn’t always buy what Woolies had; I refused to buy their solid Worthit crockery set for the house I was renting out, though it was about £10. I preferred paying two or three times that for a good quality set in a china shop. Not everybody has the luxury of doing that, though, and for a house that was being let out, probably the decision was a bit over the top. 🙂

    At any rate, if I had bought the Worthit crockery, assuming I would easily be able to replace anything that got broken, I would have been disappointed. Whereas the better quality crockery is still there in the china shop. For now (crosses fingers tightly).

  5. I really miss Woolworths. When we moved to this town when I was child (all those many, many years ago!), Woolworths was almost the only place to shop! It had a lunch counter, and as teenagers, our school was just a couple blocks away, so it was a treat to go have lunch there!
    Sadly, it slowly declined until it finally closed. I still use some of the linens I bought there when they were closing, and that was a good 15 years ago!

  6. Hi Bag Lady, you had lunch there? Ours was too small; maybe the UK branches never offered food. I think quite a few of us are hyperventilating at the idea of there being no more Woolworths… it was always there. Doesn’t do a lot to make us feel more optimistic about the future. 😦 A local small town claims that their large central branch of Woolworths was the only reason people shopped there, and now there’s nothing to draw visitors. The fallout continues…

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