Animal magic

    Colin Beaven vor Großbritannien-Flagge
    Von Colin Beaven

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    Transcript: Animal magic

    As online shopping becomes more popular, fewer people are going to the shops. Could this to spell sth.etw. bedeutenspell the end of the high streetHaupteinkaufsstraßehigh street as we know it? Not if our Britain Today columnist, Colin Beaven, has anything to do with it. He’s counting on cats and hamsters to work their to work magiczaubernmagic.

    Life isn’t getting any easier for the high street. People do so much shopping online these days that Britain’s town-centre shops are struggling, or worse still, closing down. House of Fraser has decided to shut some of its branchFilialebranches, and Debenhams has announced plans to close 50 of its stores.

    Ironically, even the shops that still exist seem to want you to shop online. You often walk away from a supermarket with a voucherGutscheinvoucher to spend on your first online delivery. This sounds a little like turkeys voting for Christmas. But is it safe if more and more of us have clothes and groceriesLebensmittel, Einkäufegroceries delivered to our front door?

    I don’t want to put ideas into anyone’s head, but cyberattacks on banks seem to happen a lot. What if we wake up one day to find that our online orders for baked beans and bananas have been hacked? There’ll be no shops left for traditional shopping.

    Well, not quite. There are still networks of little local shops like the Co-op, where you can pick up a ready meal (UK)Fertiggerichtready meal and a pint of milk in person. And if you can’t be sb. can’t be botheredjmd. hat keine Lustbothered to go and buy things yourself, you can always get the cat to go and fetch them.

    You may think that’s ridiculouslächerlichridiculous, but I’ve actually seen a cat walk into a branch of the Co-op and come out ten minutes later with the person it had gone there to meet — presumablyvermutlichpresumably its owner. If cats can be trained to meet their owners at the end of their shiftSchichtshift, they can be trained to get groceries.

    It’s true that if the computer system has been hacked, then the tillKassetills won’t work not eitherauch nichteither. But again, the Co-op has the answer. Visit the museum at Beamish near Newcastle, and you’ll see an old town centre complete with some old-fashioned shops. One of them is part of a Co-op that still has the system where cash is put into a ball and rolled down a trackSpur, Bahntrack to the office. As well as the money, the ball contained a note of the customer’s number. This was important, because members of the Co-op — and that’s still the case today — got money back as a shareAnteilshare of the profits.

    The system was clever enough to need no electricity; the balls of cash rolling round the shop always rolled downhill. But I’m sure you could get the same effect using hamsters. They seem to feel at home running round and round in cageKäfigcages. Give them a ball of cash to push, and they’d soon get the idea.

    Stop, you’ll say. These animals have rights. You can’t treat them like unpaid actors in some macabre remake of a Tom and Jerry cartoon. It would be cruelgrausamcruel. But how else do you motivate a cat to go and do the shopping if you don’t use hamsters to put on a show when they get there? Cats would soon queue up to watch hamsters doing cabaret tricks.

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