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Fiver Fest in Forest Hill
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Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2012
Post: #1
09-12-2012 02:12 PM


As a local to Forest Hill I was looking forward to supporting new and established businesses with this weekend’s ‘Fiver Fest’. Walking up Dartmouth Road on Saturday, I was struck how un-fest the shops were. Frankly, it just looked like any other Saturday and I was surprised that there wasn’t more of a ‘buzz’ about the place. I thought shopkeepers and The Totally Locally team would have been out there on the streets promoting the beginning of this event.

So with an absence of enthusiasm in that part of town, I headed up to the new butchers on London Road. Great quality meat but charging Mayfair prices (literally their sausages, for example, are slightly more expensive than Allen’s of Mayfair!) Again there was no obvious signage that The Butchery was part of the scheme until I asked. I ended up spending over ten quid which I’m assuming is the idea of the offer, to entice local folk into the independent shops and get us, hopefully, to spend more.

Another poor example was Finches on Perry Vale who were supposed to be offering a Beanie Hat for a fiver. Initially the staff didn’t know what I was talking about, then the manager came out and said they weren’t starting until next week. While I was there I nearly spent another £45 but the slack attitude put me off.

That evening I was in the All Inn One, great pub with possibly the best Christmas decorations this side of the Thames (wish they’d turn the telly off though) but again no obvious indication that they were part of this mini festival.

I have only chosen the above as examples but from what I could see, the same lack of eagerness was prevalent across all 27 sites. Perhaps as its Christmas the local businesses are so busy they don’t need nor want the extra custom or Totally Locally aren’t giving them the support they require. However, if you do want my pound and that of my neighbours spent locally, I would suggest more of an effort next time.

all the best and Merry Christmas!!

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Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #2
09-12-2012 03:23 PM

I had no idea about the Fiver Fest until I was shopping in FH yesterday and saw a small sign in the window of the Teapot. I wouldn't have even been shopping in FH if I hadn't been heading for the new butcher. I would agree that the butcher is expensive, but I've found that with quality meat I need to buy less of it - one of their sausages is as big and meaty as three out of a packet from the supermarket. Likewise, I bought eight sausage rolls for three of us to have for lunch yesterday - I still have two in the fridge as we couldn't manage more than two each!

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Posts: 122
Joined: Apr 2012
Post: #3
09-12-2012 03:47 PM

The FiverFest inspired me to head to Campervantastic to hopefully get a book or two for my parents - except I got there only to find it's not open on weekends.

As I have a full time job during the week (which is how come I've got cash to spend on things like campervan books, at full price from a local shop rather than for half the price from Amazon) it seems that I'll have to go elsewhere. Tax-avoidance-tastic!

I get that for the rest of the year it might not make so much sense for that sort of business to open on Saturdays, but when they are part of a local scheme to encourage us to spend more locally you'd think they might have opened this and next weekend.

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Posts: 64
Joined: Jun 2007
Post: #4
10-12-2012 12:18 PM

I thought the butcher's prices were very competitive compared to sainsbury, much less Mayfair! The condiments and stuff seem a but pricey, but not the meat.
Ps, the sausage rolls are lovely, and I was kindy given an extra one as they were a bit small.
Seems some people are harder to please than me

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Posts: 531
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #5
16-12-2012 01:25 AM

I like the idea of the fiver fest and certainly appreciate the efforts of those who put time into organising it and providing offers at their businesses...but it does feel like a few businesses are doing so somewhat begrudgingly.

I've 'shopped local' for years and this has become an easier and more enjoyable experience recently with so many great independents setting up. So I've not really needed the 'fiver' thing to entice me in to local businesses. That said, I've enjoyed some decent deals through it - some nice sausages and bacon at The Butchery for instance.

If anything though, it has achieved the opposite of its aims with me for a couple of businesses. I've been in a couple of uncomfortable positions of having to ask why I'm not 'qualifying' for the promotion; the deal being begrudgingly given only when querying a bill; been told that I need to drag my two kids and a load of heavy shopping back to the far end of Dartmouth Road and back, in the rain, to collect a map so that I can claim one particular shop's offer; told by that same shop (different occasion) that the event finished on the 14th when the posters say the 15th so I can't take their offer.

I've not named and shamed as they are my experiences and need only affect my own shopping habits. Money is tight and the businesses I have had less good experiences with are in competitive markets so I can save money shopping elsewhere and happily spend extra in the many local independents who offer great services.

If fiver fest does run again I hope businesses don't feel pressurised into taking part so that only those who feel able to offer something do so.

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