Every kid’s favorite place to be a kid for the last generation or two is shutting its doors for good. That’s right, Toys 'R' Us is closing up shop. The toy megastore is no longer. Geoffrey is out of a job. And you’re going to have to head to Amazon for those special edition Star Wars Legos.
Who are we kidding? You’ve been heading to Amazon since you found out that your UPS guy will bring virtually anything and everything (including HALF an “Asia Old Man” mural for a mere $24.01) to your door and you don’t even have to put on pants.
I’m not blaming you for Toys 'R' Us closing; I’m just saying 30,000 people are losing their jobs because you have the hots for the man in brown.
I feel like everytime I turn around another thing is closing. The tree-lined streets of the quaint downtown where I live, which used to be hundred year old restaurants and family-owned shoe stores, has become a string of barely (or not at all) successful pop-ups — small gyms trying to attract the tiny elite crowd, quaint coffee shops, church offices, those despicable check cashing places. Super Walmart continues to grow at what seems like an exponential pace — expanding to include grocery pick-up — while small businesses wither and die, along with customer service and the ability to touch something before you actually shell out money for it.
To be fair, I do think Target is probably safe. First of all, their marketing geniuses have figured out how to keep you in there until you spend $100 (or fall asleep, whichever comes first). Secondly, almost every Target has a Starbucks or a Pizza Hut or, at the very least, their own version of a snackbar with some pre-made Jamba Juice. They know what we need and they aren't afraid to give it to us.
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But while we browse the aisles of our local superstores, killing time and filling our baskets with things we didn’t know we needed, specialty stores will probably continue to take a beating. Why go out of your way for a bike when you can get a bike AND groceries all at the corner Wally World? Why wait in line to buy the newest Nintendo or Playstation for your teen, when you can just order ahead for Same-Day Delivery from Amazon (and sneak a book in the order for yourself)?
I wish I could say this disturbs me greatly and have it not be totally hypocritical, but I can’t. Because I shop at Amazon so much that I have what I like to call Amazonesia — that thing where things come to your door that you don’t even remember you’ve purchased. I wish I could say I’ve been a devoted shopper of small business Saturdays but the truth is, I’ve bought far more clothing from online retailers like Modcloth and Zappos, than I ever have from any local purveyor.
Last year, I decided I’d only shop small and sweatshop free, and, for the most part, I did. But let me tell you, it was a lot more difficult than you’d think to pass up a rack of springtime florals at Target than you’d think.
I guess the one consolation here is the liquidation sales have begun, so if you’re looking for some Christmas gifts to hide away (and you’re not still broke from last Christmas), you can do that now.