Leaving Lockdown: The Shopping Experience.

On Sunday the 28th June, I left my house for the first time in months – not just for a walk to the park or to do a food shop – but to actually go shopping in the Intu Victoria Centre in Nottingham. And honestly it was wonderful.

After parking in the city centre, we wandered through boarded up Broadmarsh into fairly quiet streets, with most stores located in that end of the city still closed. Once we reached Market square, I waited to be greeted with the sounds of footsteps (as expected on a standard Sunday) and I was interested to see what it would be like inside the centre.

But before that, I just had to see what Primark looked like.

The queue was big, it folded on itself three times with around 40+ people in the queue. With that, I decided I didn’t need new pyjamas that desperately, so we carried on to the Vic centre.

All of the streets are split down the middle with floor signs telling you to keep left, which does help to navigate the streets in accordance with social distancing. Moreover, upon entering the Vic Centre similar floor signs are present throughout and the majority of people do seem to be sticking to the rules (surprisingly!).

After visiting quite a few different stores, from Topshop to Yankee Candle, it became clear that shopping post-lockdown was not the stressful experience I had feared that it might be.

In the majority of stores, I didn’t have to queue to enter and once inside it felt very normal

The main difference as a customer is that you can’t try on clothes which – though annoying – simply gives you an excuse to go back again in a couple of weeks to return anything that doesn’t fit (and spot any new items for your wardrobe!).

One observation from my experience was that not many customers or staff in the stores wore masks, however, most stores did have hand sanitiser on entry (though often optional). The only store I visited where masks were compulsory was the Disney Store, and for customers without a mask they provided disposable ones so you could still go in, which is a step in the right direction.

Overall, I would say my experience in Nottingham was a good one. The stores didn’t seem overcrowded and any measures in place to protect customers from COVID-19 did not drastically change my well-loved shopping experience. So, while it is not exactly the same as life before corona, shopping as lockdown eases still provided some much need retail therapy.

Kayleigh Moore

Featured image courtesy of Herry Lawford via Flickr. No changes made to this image. License can be found here.

In-article image courtesy of intuvictoriacentre via Instagram. No changes made to these images.

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