What is it with the UK’s press? Have they got it in for local business?

What is it with the UK’s press? Have they got it in for local business?

Look, I’m no fan of getting wet and cold, and even I can see that the UK weather is unprecedented… the worst in 250 years, according to one source. I nearly invited my postman in today for a coffee, the poor soul looked thoroughly wet, cold and miserable!

But true to great British resilience we are all making the best of it, aren’t we? One client made me smile in the week describing how he and his neighbours were out and about in Thames Ditton in their pyjamas and 3am in the morning, helping with sandbags for neighbouring properties. Only the Brits eh?

Which is why we might expect just a bit more support from the ‘harbingers of doom’ – otherwise known as ‘the great British press’.

How many reports have we all witnessed in recent weeks declaring whole towns at a virtual standstill because of the weather. High Streets under water. Traffic at a standstill. Catastrophe at every turn.

Do they have no thought for the impact on local businesses? The picture they paint is always only relevant to a small part of the area they are reporting on – many parts of Somerset are fine, as is most of the Thames Valley.

I would never advocate people making reckless journeys, despite all good sense in bad conditions. But the glory seeking, ‘anything for a good story’ press coverage is pretty much ensuring that people are deciding not to travel and staying away from town centres. People are shopping online and generally avoiding getting out and about. We need some balance here please.

However, on the other side of the fence, I would dearly love to see more local businesses taking on the weather and using it as an opportunity. Experience with the snow in recent years should have meant local retailers had been collecting their customers’ email addresses so they could offer their products online, or for home delivery instead. But most haven’t unfortunately.

How many restaurants have come up with ‘come on out of the rain’ specials? How many shops have offered a ‘walk back to the car with a brolly’ service to regular customers? It’s the easiest thing in the world to wallow in an ‘oh the weather is killing our business’ mentality. The alternative is to ask the question ‘how can I make this an opportunity’? I can’t change it, but I can respond to it.



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