Jessops: The anatomy of a virus

We’ve been around for two and a bit years now. Plenty of time, you’d think, to get it right. To hone the perfect algorithm for hit-hungry stats and zeitgeist-totin’ content. We pour every waking hour into this site. Stay up til stupid o’clock writing well turned phrases, persuasive arguments, and longform opinion pieces.

We really needn’t have bothered. Forget the dodgy pizzas, the pub crawls and the ‘Seven Ways to make (insert latest moan here) better’. All we really needed to do was stick a funny snap up on Facebook, and sit back and watch everyone go crazy.

Last week’s Jessops shop window sign obviously caught the mood of the nation. We were featured on Channel 5 news, retweeted by everyone from Jeremy Vine to Richard (Pointless God) Osman, Nick Hewer to Pete Paphides. In total, we were retweeted over 4,000 times, and shared by over 2,000 more on Facebook.

And why? Because High Streets connect us all – from Inverness to Penzance. And because that picture said more than we could ever do about what was happening, around us all, that week. One tumultuous week on the High Street, and one pithy (but actually very sad) redundant shop worker going down fighting.

Interestingly, the vast majority of comments we received were of the ‘should have done better’ variety: blaming Jessops for not moving with the times, not offering the same value as Amazon, or the same customer service.

But the picture wasn’t about that, was it? It was about people losing their jobs, feeling bitter, and rallying against the dying of the day. About a future where Tesco barns, 50p shops and me-too chains colonise High Streets that once found room for specialist camera shops, expert advice and genuine surprises.

So it’s really lovely to see their latest picture (posted, no doubt, in response to last week’s frenzy) that strikes a softer tone: and is accompanied by the staffs’ signatures. Because that’s what this is all about. Not virtual shopping, but real people.

That’s the real story. And sometimes, a picture does say more than 1,000 words.


(oh, and in answer to one wisecracking commentator, no, this picture wasn’t taken with an iPhone, but a decent SLR)

Pic: Dave the Pap (of course)