18 December 2005
Touching is extra
[S]ome malls are so full of really awful stores that it's just not fun to shop there. For example, the best of our three local malls (I use the word "best" very advisedly) has eighteen sneaker stores, thirty-six visor-hat stores, twelve "rave" type of clothing stores, a Sears, a Target, bunches of Limiteds and Gaps, a Filenes, a Best Buy, and an Old Navy. I'm exaggerating the numbers but the proportions are right and the downscaleness is notable.
For a place like that, they should pay you.
Then again, there's this scenario:
The only way many of us can do fabulous shopping is to shop online. Which removes the immediacy, the touching and seeing, and the fun adrenaline rush of really good search-and-find shopping. And it's unfair to the local merchants who make huge efforts but can't lower their prices. Only a small proportion of our shopping dollars are spent locally any more. We check out things like books and digital cameras in local stores feel them, see them, weigh them, etc. then get wider choices and better prices plus get them delivered into our hands by buying online. It's logical and understandable but seems economically and ethically icky.
My rule of thumb: if someone from the store has actually assisted with the examination of the product, that someone gets the sale if I buy. (It doesn't hurt that if it's something I really want, I know I'll really hate waiting for it.) Time should be considered part of the price: having something in two minutes can justify a premium over having it in two days.
Then again, I place a fairly high value on convenience: it is wholly unlike me to drive four miles up the road to save three cents a gallon on unleaded. Your mileage may vary.