After work at the home, farm and auto supply store I stopped at the warehouse club to get a few groceries. Shopping there is never a quick in and out because of my relationships with people from when I worked there. There’s is catching up to do every week and the expanse of concrete floor serves as our modern piazza.
A person can only get certain kinds of goods at a warehouse club, and some of my friends don’t have membership cards as they work there. A recurring conversation is about my 2015 move down the hill to the home, farm and auto supply store where the idea of pay with benefits takes on an other-worldly aura. My low wage colleagues shop there and like our store’s offerings. Yesterday’s conversation went a little differently.
We’re not over the closures of K-Mart, Sears and Paul’s Discount. We worry that J.C. Penney will close as well, concerns driven around available and reasonably priced goods. On low wages, we don’t shop at Tiffany & Company or Bloomingdale’s so it matters.
The rumor is a couple of shops at the outlet mall in Williamsburg are shuttering in January, and a couple more will close at the nearby Coral Ridge Mall. Consolidation and reduction of competition is not positive. Consensus was we’ll get by and pay more as we often do.
There is a certain inevitability to changes in retail. As stores carry a smaller number of items, it becomes inconvenient to drive here for one thing, there for another, making hard goods available on line more attractive and accelerating the demise of storefronts.
Chaos reigns in many retail establishments. We discussed nearby Kohl’s Department store where certain types of goods fall to the floor where customers trample them. That’s not a positive experience. If I had all day, we could have enumerated them all. Time drew short and we said pleasantries to end conversations in a sociable manner.
Our lives no longer inhabit the town square. In many modern cities, there is no town square. That’s so modern, so American.
Instead of spending time at the piazza we trade in rumors spoken among friends. Maybe society has always been that way and always will. It was yesterday, such self-awareness helping sustain our lives in a turbulent world.