Another Perspective on the “Retail Apocalypse”

Michael Snyder of “The Economic Collapse Blog” has written extensively on the “Retail Apocalypse“. Many well known and well established retail outlets are going bankrupt at a record rate. Some may no longer exist in a short time frame.

But is this entirely a bad thing?

This won’t be an extensive economic analysis. This is mostly anecdotal from a consumer.

We all have to buy things to maintain our lives. Some things are necessary. Most things are not. And we’ve transitioned to a hybrid model of online/in-store.

Some things are easier to buy on-line. I have a generic Keurig coffee pot. (Mr. Coffee, actually). I need K-cups for it, because I won’t live without my coffee. I can get 100 K-cups on Amazon for about $35, and they show up on my doorstep almost magically within about 24 hours. That’s a better price than I can get in local stores, and I don’t have to stand in line or go anywhere. I’m not changing this pattern anytime soon.

I used to LOVE bookstores. But I’ve reached a point where my bookshelf space is very limited, so I buy my books in Kindle, epub, or pdf. I only buy physical books if I absolutely have to have the book and there are no other options. But even so, for rare books, Amazon usually has better deals, and even for those few F’ing publishers who haven’t left the last century, Amazon still has better prices, making Barnes and Nobel not an option. Why would I deal with local traffic to drive to B&N to pay MORE for a book than Amazon? They don’t mean that much to me. I miss Borders, but I had the same problem wth them.

“Anchor” stores (Sears, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, etc) – who cares? Their prices are way off the charts for my budget. I have pretty much never shopped at them. I haven’t quite adapted to buying clothes online (last time I bought a dress shirt from Amazon, I washed it once and it permanently wrinkled), but I’m not paying $50 for a shirt. Plus, you still have to try them on. I usually go to Kohl’s when I need work clothes.

Target – I used to like to shop at Target. But after their 2013 credit card breach that was totally preventable (They had FireEye, and got the warnings, but ignored them to their own peril) and their tranny policy, I’m done with Target. I bought a Microsoft Band from them in 2014. That was my LAST purchase from Target ever. I won’t allow my wife to shop there either. When they finally go out of business, I’ll drink to that. (Business) death to Target! And I got so freaking sick of every time I walked up to the register, being asked if I wanted to apply for a Target credit card. The last time I shopped there, I replied: “No thanks, I don’t want my information stolen.”

Wal-mart – good if I need something in an emergency at 4 in the morning, like the last time my smoke detector batteries died in the middle of the night and I was out of batteries. And I’ve bought my last couple TVs there. They have good prices. But I don’t go out of my way to shop at Wal-mart. Only when it’s an emergency. And even then, I go either late at night, or early in the morning before the average Wal-mart shopper is out of bed.

K-mart – I used to like K-mart, but our local K-mart (actually, out of business and long since closed) is in a crappy area. I only went there once, and don’t miss it.

Furniture stores – Don’t care. How often do you need furniture anyway? You buy a bed once every 10-20 years. I can’t see spending $5000 on a couch. I don’t go in furniture stores.

Best Buy – I would miss them. They’re great for impulse buys that I don’t want to wait for shipping on. If I need a new computer, I want it right now, not in 2 days. But even I don’t need that many new computers.

Now, for stores I can’t live without:

Grocery stores: until I can get my beer as easily as I can my coffee, I still need grocery stores. And my wife needs them for the other non-beer items we need for our household.

Convenience stores: I can’t buy smokes as easily as I can coffee either. Gotta have Wawa. Plus, gas. Although it would be great if I could order 20 gallons of regular a week and have it show up in my driveway.

Vape stores: I need juice and atomizers for my vaporizer. And when I’m too lazy to order them online, I need a place I can get to locally.

And I probably need places where I can get my oil changed and general maintenance on my truck.

So for the “retail apocalypse?” I’m not that torn up about it. Brick and mortar stores, unless they fill some specialty that can’t be done online (like beer or oil changes) are like the “buggy whip manufacturers” that went out of business once the car took off.

Funny cliche I came across recently: 100 years ago, everybody had a horse and only the rich had cars. Now, everybody has a car and only the rich have horses.