I just had a rather depressing shopping experience at the Target store, here in Palm Springs. Trying to make some changes to my bedroom, inexpensively, I wrote down several items they had on their weekly flyer that I wanted. They were advertising a console table that could fit behind my bed freeing an antique trunk I refinished almost 50 years ago, and a 42" LED TV that I was going to put on my dresser using the wi-fi network I had saving the cost of a cable box. The console table was higher than the trunk and putting the trunk in front of my bed would finally give me space to store blankets and pillows for winter and the new console table would give me a higher table for my reading lamp yet still being able to put extra books behind me.
That wasn't going to be today. After waiting several minutes for someone to come and help me (I personally saw several other customers in other departments ask an employee to come help them and then stood and waited for someone to come. One, in a wheelchair had already been waiting two hours) and while kind and helpful couldn't find the item in their store network and finally, like me, had to go online and found out exactly what I was looking at on my phone ... there wasn't any stock in that store. They might be able to help me at the customer service desk but she didn't have any. "Let me take this." I said. "Oh no, that is the display!" When I noted that what good was the display if they didn't have any, I drew a blank. They wouldn't let me buy it.
|The three dying sisters|
Moving on to the Electronics department, they had a 42" Smart TV for sale. Once there I noticed another one, $100.00 cheaper whose picture looked just as good, was the same size and had both wi-fi and three HDMI ports that I planned on hooking an AppleTV to. Well, after waiting again for yet another sales person, I was told that the cheap one was gone. And the sale item? Not at that store either. Really? I looked at her and said I hoped she was going to school. When she asked why, I, by now rather snarky, noted that Target like Sears, Kmart, Macy's and JC Penney's were an endangered species and several of them had hinted about literally going bankrupt. She might not have a job in the future ... and after today I think that time is coming sooner rather than later.
Its been a trend in retailing for awhile now. Everyone points their fingers at Amazon. However, I can remember that Best Buy was notorious for poor service. Every time I would go there to buy something ... a camera, radio, some computer equipment, the floor sample didn't work (they never did) they were out of stock on something and after getting a "rain check" and never called you when it came in. I simply gave up. It was no mystery to me when they started having financial problems. The stores were really the last place you wanted to go. One by one its competitors went bankrupt and because everyone knew nothing worked there started going online. You could get a far better price and read the experience others had with the same product. I alway read the 1 and 2 star ratings to see if I can live with whatever defect they find. Beats the spiel of a salesmen in the store, every time! And because you could get it on Amazon, and if a Prime member, in two days, you discovered you could wait. I discovered this when remodeling my condo. Some items were 50% cheaper and my handles used on the new cabinets were two-thirds cheaper even if I didn't need the amount I bought!!!
When I checked out at Target, the kindly cashier asked me if I found everything I wanted. No, I said. She looked at me and then said, "I don't want to hear the "A" word. I told her she better get used to it. I almost said she should start looking for another job but bit my tongue.
That said, I don't think that Amazon is perfect. In fact by no stretch of the imagination is it. However, even if the item you buy is crappy, and I have purchased a few, in most cases it is easier to return that item than at most stores. Target and I have gone around before. Some of the KD shelves I bought were junk and they do not give you your money back once you start to assemble.
In the store, I did go online and found a variety of console tables similar to the one I wanted and cheaper. They had dimensions and consumer comments. The same thing for the TV. I thought why did I even bother driving over? It, like so many other facets of my life, is much simpler when I let my fingers do the walking and the delivery man brings it directly to your door. I don't know about you but my back is not what it used to be!
Walmart has seen the light and, at least here is Southern California, is waging an aggressive TV campaign letting us know you can order from them, get the best price and it will be delivered no more than two days later for free!
Some of these struggling retailers in "big box" stores may have been around 100 years or longer but the times, as noted by a Bob Dylan song, "the times, they are a changing'!"
Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where the emphasis here is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always has. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! Be sure to check my re-opened ETSY store ... KrugsStudio.etsy.com