12 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2004
Food shopping - although often dismissed as dreary necessity - has always served a range of latent functions. In the 1950s, food storage limitations and tight budgets gave rise to weekly - often daily - shopping patterns that also allowed shoppers to meet certain social needs. Going to food shops, and the way that customer service was organized, produced significant interactional opportunities which were valued by participants. Exchanging news with other customers may have reinforced shopping patterns but shopkeepers, and knowledgeable assistants, were also useful intermediaries for product and usage information. Functional specialization in food commodities bestowed the aura of expertise, and direct accountability for the quality of what was sold provided a more personal style of retailing than is currently typical. Much depended on the perception of relationships. The 1950s were an important transitional period in the UK. Rationing gave way to wider choice and availability, while the market position of corner shops was increasingly eclipsed by town centre supermarkets. This article explores the social context of food shopping, and its relationship to the specific issue of customer loyalty.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Lyon, Phil and Colquhoun, Anne and Kinney, Dave, UK Food Shopping in the 1950s: The Social Context of Customer Loyalty. International Journal of Consumer Studies, Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 28-39, January 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=547544
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