30 DAY CHALLENGE REFLECTION

To cut to the chase I failed to avoid big chains 100%. However, I did cut down on buying from them, making only two purchase from a big chain cafés (and restaurant) this June. Interestingly, the reason isn’t because I exchanged my big chain visits for independent ones, it is simply due to the fact that I was avoiding buying from big chains and there wasn’t any convenient independent spots; I simply went cold turkey. The only time that I did visit smaller business was actually during the weekend and hence the reason why most of my images contain food…because why not spend your weekend drinking coffee and eating yummy food! Anyway having avoided having a cute take-away cup in my hand during the week, I didn’t miss the caffeine! I realised that I don’t really need the pick me up as frequently as I thought I did, and I didn’t genuinely enjoy the taste of the big chain coffees!

image 1Tartine Artisanal, Tooting Bec

IMG_20170630_103202_934 - CopyTartine Artisanal, Tooting Bec

Having discussed all the positives, there were a few negatives. Firstly, I wanted to visit much more independence places than I actually did. The reason for the lack of discovery is because the route that I take to work, and back home again, is littered with big chains; discovering new one off businesses is rare as they simply can’t afford the extortionate rent prices. I had presumed, at the start of my challenge, that it might take a bit of searching to find a small business in an area that is crammed with flashy building but I didn’t realise it will turn out to be soo difficult! Trying to make a consciously thought out decision where to spend my money over the last 30 days made me notice the worrying lack of small business around the city so much more (and has actually left me feeling slightly sad).

6Scott’s Cafe, Leicester Square

I4Three Eight Four, Camden

A lovely gentleman who owned one of the places confirmed that my observation was correct; he saw I was photographing his beautiful food whilst waiting in the queue, and sparked up a conversation. He told me that his cafe, and the restaurant he owns next door, are one of the only remaining small businesses around the city. We had a lovely chat in which he explained the love and passion he had for the place, and I left feeling happy, promising myself that I will certainly return again. The encounter reminded me why I love little places like his in the first place: the people who work there have heart and genuinely want to be there unlike some big chain employees who are only there so they could pay their rent and aren’t emotionally invested.

10Rustichino, St Pauls

IMG_0542Rustichino, St Pauls

All in all it was a great goal to have as it made me much more conscious of my drinks/snacks buying habits. But more importantly it made me aware how important it is to support the local businesses as they are the ones that diversify the high street and provide a unique atmosphere in an area that a big chain could never. The more big chains multiply (be it coffee shops like Starbucks or clothing ones like H&M) the more every high street in the world looks the same…and that’s dull…super dull. So even though I understood that cutting them out all together is inconvenient for me at the moment, I will 10,00,00,000% continue to avoid big chains as much as possible* as I loved the feeling of enabling someone to earn a living running a business they love.

I3Sourced Market, Barbican

IMG-20170706-WA0041Turkish Gozleme, Whitecross Street Market

Lots of kisses,

Aine

*It is not to say that big chains are bad as a business overall as a lot of them donate huge sums of money to charity and have great employment schemes.

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