I was doing some Christmas Shopping tonight. I went to Wal-Mart and then Walgreen’s and The Dollar Tree (love those Dollar Trees) Due to massive traffic I got stuck in the wrong lane on the way home and couldn’t get onto the interstate. For those interested I was shopping in Statesville NC and on the way home to the Hickory Area.
We decided to take the scenic way back through town to get to the interstate at another point, mostly to see what kind of Christmas Decorations the houses had. On the way I went through downtown Statesville with it’s old mom&pop type shops. Traffic was limited there mostly to dorky teenagers out cruising.
It reminded me of something that has been bothering me for a while. The old downtown areas of most cities are wasting away. Nobody shops the small business owner’s stores anymore. It makes me kind of sad. I can remember as a kid going to some nice shops. The same people worked there, usually the owners, for years. You knew them and they knew you. Now you go into Wal-Mart and it’s different people. They don’t know you, you don’t know them. It’s either bitter old people (not all of them, just the ones I encounter) or uninterested teens who could give a damn about customer service.
Now I do miss shopping at those old shops but do I do it now? No not much. For several reasons, number one traffic. Wal-Mart has nice big parking lots. Small Shops tend to make you park where you have to back out onto the main road. Number1B, Prices. Wal-Mart has better prices and more variety. So no this isn’t a Wal-Mart bashing piece. I can buy anything I need or want at Wal-Mart. I do my grocery shopping, the majority of it anyway, there. I buy magazines, toys for the kids, clothes, whatever all in one place. Wal-Mart uses their buying power to buy lots of bulk items at cheaper prices, which they pass to the consumer. Yes this does drive smaller stores, and even malls now days out of business. Malls tend to have higher prices due to higher rent. Also I hate Malls anyway due to the little teen punks who hang out there.
So I do miss the good old days, but money is tight and a deal is a deal. I can complain about missing the good old days, but I take my butt to the Super Wall-Mart when I need something. The consumer dictates where their business goes. America seems content to let the era of small business shops die a natural death. If we didn’t like it, we would shop more downtown and give them our business.
I even gave up on the idea of owning a bookstore. I really thought about it and looked into it. But with the competition out there a small non chain bookstore won’t make it. Maybe a used book store that takes trades or whatever, but my county already has at least two of those.
We do have a lot of thrift shops that seem to be doing well, I shop them a lot myself. Also Pawn Shops are alive and well in the downtown areas. I even see an occasional art gallery from time to time. But as for the old time mom and pop type stores, they are gone for the most part.
Another thing you here people say about Wal-Mart is the bad way they treat their employees. Well this is America, if you don’t like your job, quit. If they were that bad to their people, the government would put a stop to it. As long as it isn’t forced child labor, I don’t care what they do I will shop there if I like the store. Other Americans will too, we prove it everyday.