On Wednesday, it being a beautiful day, I decided to cycle to Eastleigh in an attempt to buy a steam cleaner.

The previous day I'd been thwarted by Wilko's at Town Quay. (Despite a healthy puff on ITV's This Morning a week or so back, they don't stock the item in-store and won't order for a customer to collect. 'Internet order only'. Very helpful.)

Next stop Robert Dyas then, at the Swan Centre, which was virtually deserted, as I entered from Blenheim Road; although Poundland was open, with a few customers.

Walking to the Dyas store I had to side step a barrier (its purpose unsigned, which almost separated the south and north sides of the Swan Centre for no apparent reason).

Sadly, I found Dyas, also, was closed. I lingered, looking at the promotional material in the window, before heading back the way I came.

As I approached the barrier again, someone shouted out 'Do you know what this is here for ?'(the barrier).

'Sorry mate, I don't work here', I replied.

I assumed my inquisitor was another baffled would be consumer, like myself. Not so.

He turned out to be an officious jobsworth, and his question was an attempt at sarcasm, after I had transgressed some mystery bureaucratic edict.

The conversation became somewhat heated and I warned the fellow that I was close to using bad language.

After all, I believe there was another (entertainment?) store apparently open and blaring out music in the northern half, and the Wells Place doors appeared to be offering access to this area. So there seemed no logic to the barrier at all.

Will I bother to head north the next time I want a small electrical product (assuming Dyas and, indeed, the Swan Centre are still there)? I'm not sure - when a factotum who my small purchase is helping to employ treats me with such disdain.

I do wonder, though, if CV.19 will be the final death knell for shopping centres and the stores within; the last remaining bricks and mortar outlets being token presences purely programmed to herd reluctant fossils like myself (who refuse to have anything to do with cyber banking) to the relevant internet site.

Buy shares in delivery companies!

Terry Hickman