I’ll make you a bet, do you think I could do a non-political post? I bet I can.
So I’ve taken a swing at almost anything else and why not say something about consumerism — one of the biggest and quirkiest subjects of our time? In my opinion.
Actually there is something in it worth talking and thinking about. It was made clear to me in a recent trip to some very old familiar turf. I hadn’t been through there in about ten years so sure there would be some changes.
What unfolded in front of my eyes almost defies description. Yep, everyone knows how development goes on and how it’s all done in the name of progress…or so they say. I have never seen that much change in that amount of time to one area.
I didn’t see the housing developments though they must have been there lurking in the background. Though I could not miss the amount of commercial, and I mean 90% retail, development. Other than that I could not miss the monstrous growth of schools either. (I thought they were plenty large then) But let’s just stay with the retail, business end.
Now years ago there was a hot debate over the condition of retail. The consensus seemed to be on the side of brick and mortar’s decline. Well, judging by what I saw, I can safely confirm that did not happen. But one did not expect an explosion of retail expansion anywhere. I guess anywhere other than there. Okay, it was always a hub of discount retail activity and sort of the bargain basement of the area for outlets with tourism. But no more. I saw every major chain represented that I could think of and a few new ones, too.
Of course the whole purpose of this piece was the topic of consumerism. That old debate centered on Internet sales taking over business of brick and mortars. Or at least squeezing them out of the market share. Ha, well, maybe that market is much bigger than even I originally thought. And in the marketplace there should be room for all.
Doing my own thinking about this, while driving along miles of brand new retail stores and mega-plazas, I came to the conclusion that B&M shopping is different than online. My rule of thumb now is that if you want or need an exact item you may go online to purchase it. But if you aren’t locked in on an item, want to examine things, compare or just shop then you would do well to hit the stores — despite traffic and the headaches.
I hear a trend everyone talks about where people are buying almost everything online. Some people that is. Good for them, convenience and all. But there are others who are not sold on the total online bit, not yet anyway. For them the shopping may be split between types. It occurs to me though that the total online crowd may be missing something.
If I stretch out my personal theories, which are no better than yours, I could see a day not too far away when some people may not really know how to shop in real life. That virtual shopping is much different. They got that techno-retail thing nailed.
Like the way cell phones and their addictive use seems to consume people, there could be a time when people just don’t know how to do something without the smartphone or the internet. Face it, shopping is a thing most of us grew up with and adapted to. We may hate it sometimes. But I can foresee a time when some people don’t have those basic life skills. Did I just say shopping is a life skill? Sigh.
I mean actually running down the isles to find something or settle on a different thing or brand without the use of their good old technology crutch. A good trade off? After all, once in a store Google is not going to tell them what isle the coffee or pickles is in. No GPS coordinates with Siri, the obnoxious navigator. They have to look for it which will be like work to them. Physically taxing. That also requires familiarity with the store to be able to quickly find things. You can’t have that when you don’t spend time in a real store.
And I can see a time when it might require stores to have guides for newbies, walking them by hand through their mission. An adventuresome culture shock. I may be exaggerating but not by much. It could be an overwhelming or traumatic experience for them. They might think, “I remember when I was little my mother used to come through the store and she didn’t like it.” So some people may have phobias over that kind of shopping and maybe even need therapy to get accustomed to it, if they even want to.
Well, my little trip just reassured me that there still is a lively market for “retail reality.” With all the new stores someone is shopping in them. But that’s another question, just who are all these people? However, maybe I am the extreme exception because my trip had nothing to do with shopping or buying anything. Observation was enough for me.
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