I’ve been shopping all my life and still have nothing to wear. ~Author unknown
Recently, I heard yet another dismal report on the demise of brick-and-mortar stores as shoppers turn their attention to online venues.
And that saddens me.
As someone who loves to “touch and roll,” I can’t fathom a day when I can’t go into a store, pick up merchandise, see the colors, feel the materials, smell the scents, try things on, get personal help with sizing or laundering, then buy what I want and leave.
Oh, I appreciate the ease of online shopping. The thrill of finding something on sale when it wasn’t in the store. The fun of getting a BOX delivered right to my doorstep. And sometimes, just sometimes, it’s easier to sit at my computer and order stuff rather than brave crowds, inclement weather, or time constraints.
If retail stores close en masse, look how many of our friends and neighbors will be out of work. Look how hard our state and local chambers of commerce will have to scramble to find other businesses to rent those abandoned spaces. Look how much our communities will suffer as unemployment rises, the rest of us have to pick up the slack in taxes, and communities turn into ghost towns.
I like the idea of buying local, of helping out small businesses when I can. But that’s only if they provide outstanding products, prices, and customer service — before and after the sale. And there are just some things that I have to shop in a store for. Why, I’ve taken an armload of jeans — same brand, same style, same size — into a dressing room, and found every last pair to fit differently! How much fun would that have been online?
Some retail stores have, over time, become complacent. A clerk who says, “There you go,” when she should say, “Thank you”; mounds of items everyone already owns a closet full of; lackluster sale events; scarcity of helpful clerks when you need one — all these turn shoppers off.
Nevertheless, I don’t think retail has to die. Maybe all it needs is to change with the times?
Note: Happy Easter to one and all!