Showing posts with label retailing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label retailing. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

How did they sleep?

We should have seen the end coming a half century ago.
It was as plain as a patchwork plague, courtesy of your haberdasher from hell. Which in this case was the 1969 Sears Wish Book.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Holy Hash Pipe, Batman!
One thing never changes, however -- copy editors are always required but never in adequate supply. I'm reasonably certain that the headline above the Red Menace display at left should have read "Family Nightmare."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

John Boehner is flying right down to see this

The people angry person has spoken.

Did you hear that, Congress?

This is what you call an old-school protest, just like disgruntled would-be activists did it before Al Gore invented the Internets. The scribbled sentiment is near the northwest corner of 72nd and Dodge streets in Omaha, right by the Mall With 7 Stores.

OF COURSE, to get your message out effectively, you might want to pick a location next to a Mall With 100 Stores. You know, one that people actually patronize and isn't scheduled to be torn down this fall.

And, for the record, the doomed Crossroads Mall  has more than seven open stores. It has at least 15 12 10 that are still in there.

Give or take.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Vintage vinyl o' the day

You don't have to ask me twice whether I want to buy -- $2.50 . . . cheap! -- some flaming red vinyl.

I almost don't care what's on it, though in this case, I lucked out. It's classic David Rose, from a 1962 promotional album put out by Montgomery Ward in honor of the venerable department store's 90th anniversary.

This was one of nine put out that year by Ward's, which called the special releases the Nine Top Artist Series. Obviously, with artists like Rose and his orchestra, Lawrence Welk, Artie Shaw, The Ink Spots and The Three Suns, these LPs did not represent the Nine Top Artist Series for Teenyboppers.
Click on album covers to enlarge

But speaking as someone who was a toddlerbopper in 1962, I still think it's all pretty jake . . . er, cool . . . er, groovy . . . er, exemplary.

WHAT I ALSO think is pretty exemplary are my memories of great old department stores like Monkey Ward's, as everyone called the late, great company back then. It was one entity of what I guess you could have called the Holy Trinity of Retailers -- Sears and Roebuck, J.C. Penney and Montgomery Ward, founded (if you do the early-'60s math) in 1872.

Ward's succumbed to modernity in 2000 but was sort of resurrected in 2004 as an online retailer by a company -- itself since acquired by yet another company -- that bought the name and intellectual property of the gone-bust giant. Meantime, Sears and Penney's are hanging on by their fingernails, mere shells of what they once were commercially and as cultural icons.

THE MUSIC with which Montgomery Ward celebrated its success once upon a time remains, though. Music, unlike institutions, never dies.

Though time marches on and memories eventually fade, the music plays on. The music plays on.

And it plays on 3 Chords & the Truth. Be there this weekend. Aloha.

Friday, November 23, 2012

People of Walmart do that thing they do

Look at this.

It must be Black Friday, and this must be the People of Walmart.
Yet Walmart management has a problem with its employees who demand a living wage, decent treatment and decent benefits to deal with the kind of mindless, consumerist barbarism the retail giant encourages every Black Friday. No, the retail giant hasn't cornered the market for this kind of mob mayhem, but there's a reason why you see so much of it at Walmart and other stores aspiring to Walmartishness.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., bloody well knows every single thing about its clientele, and management knows everything there is to know about the "downmarket" they target. Plenty of people at corporate know their sociology in addition to their retailing.

And management damned well knows what's likely to happen at "X" number of random locations on Black Friday, and I'd also wager it knows which "doorbusters"  are most likely to provoke the kind of mayhem you see here . . . and where.

NEVERTHELESS, the Bosses of Walmart are perfectly happy to send the Associates of Walmart into the violent maw of the People of Walmart, who were set off by the Marketing Strategy of Walmart . . . and pay them the Crappy Wages of Walmart for the dubious privilege. 
Oh but ain't that America for you and me
Ain't that America somethin' to see baby
Ain't that America home of the free. . . .

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The customer is always irrelevant

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You see it at the store. You see it at the fast-food joint. You see it when you have to deal with your health-insurance company.

You see it at your workplace. You see it when dealing with bureaucrats. You get a buttload of it trying to get your phone and Internet service turned on. You get it weekly as you pick up your recyclables out of the street after the trash man drops various of them there.

That last one is my constant source of frustration.

It's customer service today. More than that, it's pride in workmanship today -- or lack thereof.

A QUICK-AND-DIRTY answer is that people take no pride in anything today. Another one is that people are lazy and have no respect for anybody today -- or self-respect. The longer answer involves why that is.

Beats me. Part of it, I suspect, is the cult of the Almighty Self, which isn't about self-respect and is about "I matter; you don't." Part of it is about our society's focus on profit over quality. Most of it leaves me scratching my head -- I don't know how the computer-monitor-tossing FedEx man lives with himself.

I really don't.

Of course, my lack of understanding probably doesn't keep him from living with his reprehensible self quite well, thank you very much.

Monday, May 16, 2011

You know you're in the Midwest when. . . .

At first glance, you'd think this weekend picture indicates that national book retailers have found it necessary to make certain, uh . . . adjustments to profitably operate in the great American Midwest.

Is what I am saying.