The domination of people's working lives by machines, the deterioration of the environment, the inhumanity of conveyor‐belt production — all are factors which threaten the quality of life. Must retailing, with its tendency towards large‐scale operations, massive merchandising, and a diminishing reliance on personal service, slavishly follow the same pattern? Jan de Somogyi's contention is that this need not happen; his theme sets out how to combine the benefits of economies of scale with good personal communications and the policies in which each individual is important. It is an attempt to discuss one of the most crucial issues of our complex technological society through the eye of a retailer. This is a slightly abridged version of a paper originally read to the Manchester Statistical Society, which we are publishing (with their kind permission) in two parts. The second part to be published will discuss the question of social dimensions.
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