Friday, March 9, 2018


Retail stores sure have changed a lot in the last few decades.  Years ago if you wanted to buy meat you went to a butcher shop, if you wanted a dress you went to a dress shop, and if you wanted shoes you went to a shoe store.  Then big department stores consolidated all of these individual stores into one big store where you could buy everything you needed at one place.  Then came malls where separate retail stores were consolidated into one gigantic space that also featured food courts, movie theaters, and other entertainment spaces.

I grew up in the age of malls where people would "hang out", meet up with friends, buy a snack, maybe go to a movie, then buy stuff that we either saw in store windows or were popular with the fashionable people.  I bought my first pair of name-brand jeans at a mall (San Francisco Riding Gear), and up until seven or eight years ago, I would "shop til I dropped" at malls buying all kinds of name-brand items (Coach purses, North Face jackets, etc) from major mall stores (Macys, Saks, etc).

Now we are in the midst of another shopping revolution, namely the online shopping revolution.  With so many people shopping online, brick and mortar stores are going the way of the corner butcher shop (ie: they are closing up at a rapid pace).  This is a sad state of affairs for those of us who remember the good old days of shopping but it is also a sign of the times.  Back in the day you had a store or two where you could compare prices and buy the item you wanted from the lowest price store.  These days you have thousands of stores selling the item you want and you can compare prices from the comfort of your home computer. 

I know my shopping has certainly changed over the years.  We used to shop for fun, buying stuff that we saw that we liked or buying name brand items to keep up with our peers so we wouldn't look like we shopped at the Goodwill (this was a BAD things years ago since it made you look poor, these days I only shop at the times have changed!).  Now when I go to a store I have a list of things that I want to buy that are really needed, I am no longer trying to "keep up with the Joneses", and I will compare prices obsessively online before I buy anything so I know I am getting the best deal.  I prefer shopping online if it saves me a lot of money (like when I need a cell phone case which costs $30 at a local retailer but which I can find online for around $10) and I also like the idea of not having to go to stores unless I really really need something; I'm just not much into shopping like I used to be.

So RIP brick and mortar stores.  Im sure in the far distant future we won't even need to shop--we will be able to 3D print the things we want and need in the comfort of our own home.  It's crazy how fast things are changing these days!

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