Posted in Economics

Real Stores: can they survive?

I just love recycling.
I just love recycling.

Here’s the link to the spoken version of this.

Greetings rebels to King George and curious others…

I happened to go out to dinner with my husband several days ago and afterwards we popped into a nearby “Target.” It was a week night around 7 pm and it was nearly deserted. I’m not sure what kind of a crowd I expected to find, but I did not expect to see only a dozen or so other shoppers. Where was everyone? I gave up recreational shopping years and years ago. There’s just too much “shiney” out there, especially in a mall. Even in the big stand-alone stores like Target, WalMart, and Kohl’s. But I figured I was in the minority.

Sure, it’s not yet Thanksgiving, so the Christmas shoppers wouldn’t be expected until the first big sales, and Halloween is long past in the retail scheme of time, but still the practically-echo-y quiet struck me as odd. The store recently completed a major re-model and I couldn’t help but think that evening they’d wasted how many ever 10’s or 100’s of 1,000’s of dollars they spent.

Sadly, the other thing I didn’t expect to see, at this chain of stores that I used to think of as the cooler, classier version of WalMart, was such disarray. In several clothing areas merchandise was on the floor under racks, shelves of sweaters and shirts were scrambled, and not an employee in sight.

My first guess is that the typical clientele is simply trashier, not refolding or replacing something they’ve had a glance at and a feel of. But to be kinder, perhaps the store’s condition is due to staff cuts combined with mismanagement. Either way, that Target is not a destination I’ll soon choose again, especially for the simple long-sleeve t-shirts I went in to look for.

By accident today, as I gathered up the trash I found an answer to the mystery of the quote-unquote missing shoppers. It’s not the economy, it’s on-line shopping. No traffic, no hauling the kids, instant “best-pricing,” no navigating through, say, clothing racks so close to one another your cart swipes into them, no checkout-line hassles…but best of all, in so many cases NO TAX.

It doesn’t take long to find a few trusted online vendors, and once you do, it’s really hard to go back to shopping for those specific things by driving and walking through actual doorways into actual stores.

You really have to wonder: how many years before such “big box stores” begin to go dark; sit empty and abandoned, turning into “ruin porn,” like so many American manufacturing facilities?

Until next time, keep rebelling, and keep paying less taxes to the king by shopping online.