I pulled into the parking lot of the local Wal Mart, and finally found a parking spot.
As I psychologically prepared myself before going inside to what would no doubt be a gigantic store that I was not familiar with, I was struck by what I saw.
Crowds of people.
All sorts of people.
All ages, sizes, colours, types.
Walking, doggedly, towards the front doors of the Wal Mart store.
On a mission.
A mission to find a good deal, perhaps?
A hope of scoring some panacea?
The next fix?
It seemed, to me, that these people were searching for something.
Hopeful that the trip to this local Wal Mart would help fill a void.
A void that can only be filled by shopping.
By purchasing that electronic item, that piece of clothing, that household good.
Is consumerism a drug? An addiction?
There is something about retail, granted.
About going to a store where goods are sold.
About seeing them, feeling them, touching them, trying them on for size.
It’s something that Amazon just can’t quite do.
Despite its enormous success at the online shopping craze.
People ordering items from the comfort of their computer, and receiving it on their doorstep in a few days.
No doubt it saves time and perhaps some money, but delivery charges are usually extra, wiping away any deal.
Sure, that convenience has its own niche, as is evidenced by the growing beast that is Amazon.
And many companies have taken that cue and now offer online shopping as well.
Sort of the modern day version of catalogue shopping that we used to enjoy with Sears and Eaton’s.
My mother and I used to enjoy thumbing through the colourful catalogues, ordering items that we liked, and looking forward to them being delivered.
But there is nothing quite like going to a store, and shopping.
Consumerism at its finest.
It fills and satiates all the senses.
Sight, sound, touch, taste (sometimes, if it’s a grocery store and you check out the samples!), and smell.
I don’t know how Sears and Target (in Canada) got it wrong.
I do know the modern day consumer also needs and expects a good deal.
It’s expensive to live in Canada in this day and age, and so people are always looking for a lesser cost.
I watch people at the mall too, always searching, looking for the things that they want, and not necessarily need.
But it seems that they don’t care.
Many of them have disposable income, and they want to spend it.
And they don’t want to do it at home, on a computer.
They want to fulfill all their senses, and go to a store.
To be with other people.
It’s a social thing, perhaps, too.
I prefer to go to a store also, as opposed to ordering something from the comfort of my computer.
Call me old school.
I like to see, try on, touch, hear, all of it.
Fulfill and satiate all the senses.
I hope that there will always be retail stores.
I hope that those stores are not declared obsolete by increased online shopping.
That would be a shame.
I know many stores and malls are becoming ghost towns in some areas of the U.S.
It’s a sad sign of the times.
And as Sears wraps up its final days in Canada, it is indeed the end of an era.
A sign of the future times, perhaps, too.
But as long as we have the bricks and mortar stores, let’s give them our support and show up and shop.