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Guest Post: The Inevitable Decline Of Retail

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The Inevitable Decline of Retail

Online shopping is rippling through the economy, affecting not just retail but energy consumption and the job market.

Correspondent Marc A. responded to my recent entry Is Anybody Else Tired of Buying and Owning Stuff? (September 7, 2012) with an informed commentary on how online shopping is affecting the retail sector. The Web and online shopping is rippling through the economy, affecting not just retail but energy consumption and the job market.

Is anyone else sick of the "buying experience"? No wonder online buying has become so ubiquitous--the experience of shopping to acquire stuff is a form of torture, at least to some of us. Getting there is a nightmare (unless I can bike to the store), parking is a hassle, clerks generally don't know much, and the selection is often limited or skewed to the high end. The "fun" is in leaving empty-handed. Is Anybody Else Tired of Buying and Owning Stuff? (September 7, 2012)

Here is Marc's commentary:

"Yes, online shopping has much room for growth. Given three days the "Brown Truck Store" has an infinite breadth and depth of inventory. A good example are the $39.95 Asic Gel running shoes I'm ordering from an eBay vendor. "Free shipping". They have my size and are much cheaper than local shoe stores which are also often 'out' of my preferred size and style. I can wait four days.

And it's infinitely cheaper in terms of fuel and energy for one Brown Truck Store to deliver to 600 consumers a day than it is for these 600 consumers to sally forth in 600 vehicles to local stores that are more expensive and aren't nearly as well-stocked. Once delivery densities in neighborhoods grow large enough UPS and FedEx will add additional men to trot the packages up to doors while the truck rolls slowly down the street. They do this at Christmas time already. Soon it will be standard. But this is only an interim solution.

Once delivery density is high enough UPS & FedEx ground will do what Waste Management has already done. Waste Management compelled the use of standard green wheeled bins that can be picked up by a mechanical arm. And they fired the 50% of the labor force that was riding the back end of the truck and emptying garbage cans manually. UPS/FedEx/DHL/USPS will organize the compulsory installation of secure standard delivery bins at curbside. Then the vehicles will be fitted with chutes and computer-controlled equipment that will dispense packages into the bins. And once enough navigational aids are installed the drivers will be fired, too. We will end up with gas-electric robots rolling down the street making deliveries.

The main reason people want cars for shopping is to carry large quantities of 'stuff'. Once this task is replaced by home delivery it will become possible to massively expand public transportation. And this is more easily done than is supposed. Consider the airport style auto rental shuttle vans that carry people to and from the rental car lots. This size of van can run routes in residential neighborhoods to and from stops on the main arteries. Larger buses (which may well be electric trolleys with overhead catenaries) will run on these routes. I've just described the suburbs of the average Russian and Eastern European metropolis.

Similarly, it's unnecessary for one soccer mommy to make 14 trips a week to a grocery in her minivan or SUV. Two or three soccer mommies can make one trip a week and save huge amounts of fuel. These huge available economies and telecommuting (for those who still have office jobs) are why I don't believe in "Collapse" discontinuities even if "Peak Oil" is accurate and occurring now.

Local Shopping

I personally never got used to shopping. I hate it. But a close friend designs merchandising displays and graphics for shopping mall kiosks, "carts" and inline stores. I occasionally lend a hand fabricating and installing merchandising devices that aren't available "off-the-shelf". (Actually off the Loaded In Asia container). This has forced me to spend a great deal of time in and around malls in the last few years.

What I have observed makes me think that we're in for a long transition. Or a steady downward decline depending on your perspective and hopes.

1. The shopping malls will mainly survive at some level. Look at Simon's Malls stock price if you don't believe me. Most cities no longer have real "downtowns". And even the ones that do were generally reinvented as corporate office centers. These malls will primarily survive as women's clothing and accessories centers. Women love to physically shop for clothing, shoes, jewelry, accessories and cosmetics. Caveat: increasing numbers of them just browse and subsequently order online at a discount and have UPS/FedEx deliver. It's not just Best Buy that has become a free Amazon walk-in showroom.

Other mall staples such as movie theaters, food courts, restaurants and "Something Unique For This Christmas Season" carts will survive along with this. Margins are tightening up even more. Caution! You must be a big box retailer, a corporate chain rag store or an immigrant with solid connections back in the home country (or to people buying in China) to buy product at a low enough price in container size loads. The native American owned small independent retail store is an extinct business model. You cannot buy from domestic USA wholesalers, resell and live.

Think about the stores that have already disappeared from most malls.

--- Bookstores.

--- Independent electronics retailers. That local space is broadly down to Sears, Best Buy and Walmart. Only Sears is present inside the malls.

--- Music and video stores have terminal diagnoses.

--- Small housewares. Only anchor big box retailers still handle these inside the malls. Sears, Macy's, etc.

--- Childrens clothing.

2. It's all the strip centers around the malls and located near residential neighborhoods that are in big trouble. Here we can start talking about 25% - 50% vacancy rates. Anyone holding their breath waiting for consumer retail to lead a recovery can breathe now. We are in for decades of stagnant and declining local retail/commercial real estate prices along with vanished jobs. This sector is even more overbuilt than residential housing.

--- We have already lost the store front video rental stores and travel agencies. The store front insurance agencies are following close behind. All three were killed by the Internet. Mortgage companies? Surely one jests!! (Falstaffian laughter) Branch banks are also starting to close in rising numbers. Borders, B.Daltons and Waldenbooks are in advanced decomposition. Books A Million will follow them soon enough.

--- Office Depot, Office Max and Staples are clearly on the way out. Q. What do they sell that Walmart/Sams/Amazon/eBay doesn't? A. Nothing. That front corner of copy & printing services is not enough to sustain them.

--- Target is a tough call. Despite the current high share price (due to 2% cash dividend at current price) I see Target disappearing along with its lower middle class base. Target does not sell food. Go to any Walmart Supercenter and watch. At least 75% of the customers at any moment are in the grocery or pharmacy areas. Even the people in the non-food merchandise area have lots of food items in their baskets.

--- Furniture. This business generally moved to a local showroom/regional hub n spoke delivery system over a decade ago. Ikea has been the major semi-exception. Although what Ikea has really done is extend the Sam's Club format to furniture.

I think the next move will be to robotic factories making furniture to order from standard components such as Medium Density Fiberboard, standard steel and aluminum mill shapes, glass, fabrics and other synthetic coverings. "Furniture" consumes a lot of air in transit and incurs inventory holding costs. Even disassembled furniture incurs high inventory costs due to the diversity of product designs. It's best to ship this stuff around as bulk commodity raw materials that are palletized, carried on flat bed trailers and handled by forklifts (which will begin to lose their human operators). We already know that stepper motors and computers are eliminating the profit formerly available from long distance labor arbitrage.

--- Car dealerships. A casual drive down any major retail thoroughfare will show the large and growing number of vacant car lots and abandoned showroom and service buildings.

--- Cell phone, smart phone and tablet dealers and 4G network subscriptions. Considering that Walmart handles all the major providers and hardware, this field is clearly overpopulated. Many more vacant storefronts are enroute.

--- Local appliance dealers have been in mortal danger ever since Home Depot and Lowes started selling major appliances. btw, Home Depot and Lowes both use Sears' appliance service network to do their appliance warranty and repair work. This is another reason for SHLD's seemingly magical powers of share price levitation.

--- Non-mall local retail is swiftly resolving to Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, major grocery chains and Ace/True Value Hardware stores."


Thank you, Marc, for sharing your experience and observations. Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog has issued an eye-opening analysis of "big-box" retail overbuilding that concludes big-box retail is overbuilt as well: Are You Seeing What I'm Seeing?

The most troubling aspect of the shift to online shopping and networked distribution directly to consumers is the destruction of jobs. I have often addressed the consequences of technology and globalization, a topic I call "the end of work." For example, Labor Day 2012: The Future of Work (September 3, 2012)

The optimistic view is that technology will create more jobs than it destroys. I see little evidence of this in the real world. Many high-tech industries that are viewed as magical engines of growth--for example, biotechnology--are limited in scope and employment. The reality is there are few "blockbuster" drugs or applications that scale up to make a lot of money. If you issue 100,000 PhDs a year in bioscience, it doesn't follow that they will all find jobs waiting for them.

Retail has long been a source of both low-skill entry-level jobs and well-paid careers. Yes, people love to browse and stroll down the mall or shopping district, and this social/novelty function will continue. But can retailers make money off of people browsing? If retail contracts, what does this do to skyhigh commercial property valuations?

The same can be asked of cubicle-farm office parks. As telecommuting and contract labor expand, the need for energy-wasting office parks and long commutes will also decline.

Technology cannot be stopped, and neither can the drive to cut costs by cutting what can be cut, labor. We can legislate certain aspects of how technology is used, and fiddle with tax incentives and trade restrictions, but we cannot make people drive somewhere to go shopping or stop the 3-D printing/fabrication revolution.

What all this calls into question is the entire financialization (debt-based)-consumerist model of "growth" and employment. Decades ago, young men were employed to pump gasoline at gas stations; these jobs all went away as self-service fueling became the norm. At least one state (Oregon, I believe) mandates that all gasoline is pumped by an employee of the station. This rule has created hundreds of jobs that are not necessary in terms of market-demand but that are certainly welcome.

Choices like this will have to be made on multiple levels.

It doesn't help labor that the U.S. sickcare system costs twice as much as our developed-economy competitors pay, and this acts as a 9% of GDP ($1.4 trillion) tax on labor. It also doesn't help that parasitic banks and cartels effectively tax our economy with their skimming.

It's all related: technology that eliminates labor, high costs resulting from cartels, fraud and crony capitalism and the follow-on consequences of those technologies.


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Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:27 | 2811531 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

And to back this conclusion up, I present

The transcript has been annotated with graphs and tables...

Absolute top shelf....

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:32 | 2811549 Precious
Precious's picture

No worries.  UPS can ship an empty box just as easily as it can ship a box of frozen steaks which are sold out.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:47 | 2811887 avidtango
avidtango's picture

A note. "Peak oil" (or rare metals) does NOT mean using everything. Rather, it's the rising cost of extraction.  Whereas it once took 1 barrel of oil (energy) to extract 100, the figture has fallen to around 1/5, making $100 the new normal.   Easy oil is gone.  The North Sea oil (predicted to last for 100 years) peaked in early 2000 and the UK is now an importer with declining production.

Our future is not oil but solar or some other alternative.  The author is too reticent in his forecasts - nano 3-d fabricators, ultra-efficient solar, a bigger employment problem due to dying industries (manufacturing, publishing, health care & traditional factories for a start).

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 05:00 | 2814141 Western
Western's picture

No, it's actually EROI.


Billions of fiat won't help you when all the energy you put in only extracts 10% on your ENERGY INVESTMENT.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:13 | 2812046 Silver Bug
Silver Bug's picture

Commerce is moving online. Until the government destroy that also.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:36 | 2812765 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

Another peak oil fanatic. I'd like to see a peak liberalism story or chart to brighten my day.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 19:19 | 2813273 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Was that you I saw in the reality show "Knucklewalkers of Orange County"?

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 04:58 | 2814140 Western
Western's picture

that was pretty fuckin funny

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:30 | 2811544 mrktwtch2
mrktwtch2's picture

very true but what can be done to stop it ??  limit parents to 1 or sterilize the poor since they multiply like rabbits..

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:45 | 2811613 fuu
fuu's picture


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:01 | 2811978 Vince Clortho
Vince Clortho's picture

Why not sterilize the rich?  Look how many of them turn out to be obnoxious pricks.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:44 | 2812791 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) asks the chief Phillips (who runs the boat).


"How long as he (Mr. Clean played by Lawrence Fishbourne, a 17 year old kid) been on board?"

Chief replies: "7 months" or some number like that.

Willard replies: "I think he is specializing in busting my balls."

Chief replies: "It could be that he thinks the exact same of you."


So who is the prick and who is to decide it won't be you or your ancestors that get sterilized?


Thu, 09/20/2012 - 10:03 | 2814798 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Offer cash to the poor and tax-cuts to the rich for VOLUNTARY sterilization.

Best of both worlds!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:32 | 2811547 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

<----- My next video on doctored images of dead retail space after the collapse

<----- My next video on Snookies impact on teenage sex drive


Shopping is a dying art.  We have so much mal-investment in retail consumption space I am mulling the idea of buying these dead malls and turning them into micro-communities repleat with park, housing and some shops so you can actually live, walk and enjoy a community of like-minded people.

MDB- you can come to.  We will need a village idiot.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:42 | 2811599 vortmax
vortmax's picture

I shit you not, my local authorities were for a while considering converting one of our dead malls into a "Criminal Justice Center," replete with courtrooms and a jail. Only the cost of converstion killed the proposal. Welcome to the police state!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:47 | 2811622 Jay Gould Esq.
Jay Gould Esq.'s picture

Turning an Orange Julius into a detention cell. How very novel.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:52 | 2811647 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

All Hail the New Debtors' Prison...

Under the early Roman Republic, a person could pledge himself as a collateral for a loan, in a type of contract called Nexum. If he failed to pay, he was liable to become his creditor's slave. This practice was outlawed in 326 BC by the Lex Poetelia Papiria.

All Hail NEXUM contracts!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:04 | 2811702 Hippocratic Oaf
Hippocratic Oaf's picture

Whats the dif now? Anyone with mounting debt is a slave.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:41 | 2811868 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Anyone ruled by a government is a slave.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:10 | 2812029 sgt_doom
sgt_doom's picture

Jesus H. on a Harley, is this Charles Hugh Smith supposed to know anything about finance? 

Anything about economics? 

Anything about simple arithmetic???

Earth to Charley, earth to charley:

The vast majority of that 70% consumption figure derives from the uppermost 20% of the population, and many of those goods and services which enter into that 70% number are sold by the top 5 banks, who make up the majority of the GDP.

What part of fantasy-finance based economy don't you frigging understand, son?

To think there are uneducated, incompetent members of the species, ignoramus americanus, out there who still can't comprehend the arithmetic and the rather simple arithmetical relationships?

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 18:54 | 2813212 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

"Nexum" must be Roman for "student loan".

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:49 | 2812244 MillionDollarBoner_
MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

MDB has been sectioned.

I'm his half-wit half-brother.

How may I be of service?

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 18:12 | 2813100 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

I'm considering gallows if you would like to reside there.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:36 | 2811554 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

""Given three days the "Brown Truck Store" has an infinite breadth and depth of inventory.""

So......does this mean I never have to leave my bunker? :)

<Yes..........but will UPS deliver freedom?>

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:50 | 2811636 WALLST8MY8BALL
WALLST8MY8BALL's picture

You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:04 | 2811703 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

A sofa is an incredible investment... It's what holds all nickles & pre-1982 pennies...

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 19:16 | 2813261 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

As a kid, my mother ran a house for homeless Vets. I used to check the couches in the TV lounge for coins. One day I'm taking some snacks to them in the lounge and I see a couple of the guys 'loading' the couch with coins for me to find. They were keeping my candy habit fed...kinda wish I had all those coins now.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:14 | 2811755 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

Is that verbatim from Fight Club?

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:20 | 2811778 WALLST8MY8BALL
WALLST8MY8BALL's picture

YES - I am Jack's smirking revenge!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:39 | 2811861 moneymutt
moneymutt's picture

I just had a garge sale...I never, ever want to buy anything again, but I do want a sofa in front of my fireplace.

Things do take over...

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:51 | 2812254 MillionDollarBoner_
MillionDollarBoner_'s picture

And the first rule of fight club is...

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:16 | 2812391 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture buy a real comfy sofa?

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:07 | 2812659 ZeroAvatar
ZeroAvatar's picture

Paint a smiley-face on the Eccles building?

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:05 | 2812652 frenzic
frenzic's picture

I buy all that crap once, in a thriftstore. Solid oak for zilch. It takes a lot of cleaning and it sure as hell is not "modern" but I don't give a shit. I pay cash, no trail and no fucking bank involved. I am not giving them any business if I can help it. Thing is I don't give out signals to produce more crap. When I got this place there were drapes and stuff. They are fine. Who cares. I got better things to do.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:52 | 2812829 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

You obviously don't have a "significunt other" who hasn't yet seen the big picture.

...and, no, that's not a typo.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 18:11 | 2813098 frenzic
frenzic's picture

The big picture is consumption is killing us and enslaving us. My girl is young enough to still live with her parents who as luck would have it have a similar lifestyle (born out of necessity though). Works out great. One day she'll turn into that cunt and that will be the day she's out. I don't let women rule me. Fuck it I don't even like women, girls on the other hand... Check my profile.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 19:26 | 2813284 frenzic
frenzic's picture

Haters gonna hate. Juicy is goood.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:34 | 2811558 falak pema
falak pema's picture

the inevitable decline of :

suburbia living, energy effect and infrastructure needs.

Brick and mortar economy, as jobs don't come back except in "government" or "subsidised" sectors. 

Retail chains as both ends polarise and middle income implodes. 

Transcontinental entrepreneurial transport; only the mulitnationals can afford hi-oil prices

small business enterprises; except in NEt society niche.

What will grow ::

Local economy models

Net oriented industry and services with 3D printing exploding

Alternative energy economy once the fossil spike arrives and we go down the experience curve in alternates. In 5 to 10 years time.

Social services economy, as protected and subsidised. 

Porn and sex industry, as individual single home living will increase; as will young and idle.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:23 | 2811792 WALLST8MY8BALL
WALLST8MY8BALL's picture





Sometimes feel I'm running around
When I'm running around
Running around
Round round round
Sometimes I feel lost when I'm found
Yes I'm lost when I'm found
Head in the ground
People feel so free when they're bound
To the circular pound
After circular pound
Wow, wow, wow
I believe in death after life
Yes in death after life
Switch off the light
Neo consumer
Neo consumer
Neo consumer
Neo consumer
Sometimes I get lost in the mall
Well I'm feeling so small
No longer tall
Uh, uh, uh
Insignificant and in thrall
Of the force of it all
Back to the wall
Bang, bang, bang!
Shit hole made to look underground
Where I'm buying my round
Oh, oh, oh
Spending all my time buying stuff
When I've more than enough
More than enough
Cough, cough
Neo consumer
Neo consumer
Neo consumer
Neo consumer
Neo consumer
Neo consumer
Neo consumer
Neo consumer

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:40 | 2811561 Duke of Con Dao
Duke of Con Dao's picture

that Romney camp is full of dumb jackasses... his team called the Dream Team by Brooks of the Times back in Jan. 2012

doesn't look so dreamy now... 

the minute I heard Obama's 'You didn't build that' speech I had a mash-up out the door within 24 hours....

YouTube - "Howard Roark, You Didn't Build That!" says President Obama


nothing against Bonzai but this is much harder to do compared to a Photoshop 45 minute whack-up!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:39 | 2811573 Duke of Con Dao
Duke of Con Dao's picture

of course my favorite remains: YouTube - 'Nazi Party? Adolf Hitler... You Didn't Build That!' sez President Obama 


ok, it makes fun of that fat fuck Karl Rove and that other fat fuck Limbaugh and let's old Adolf have it... but

you can't say its not inspired.... el Dukerino

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:38 | 2811579 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

The native American owned small independent retail store is an extinct business model.


Who's that? The Native Americans have been declining due to 'american' imperium.

Funnily enough, the descendent of an well connected immigrant cannot keep them if she wants to be a native 'american'.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:43 | 2811600 pods
pods's picture

I hate shopping because I am starting to hate people on the whole. Slovenly beasts all around me.  WTF?

And Amazon will quickly let me know if the model of drill or whatever has been Walmarted.
(Walmarted means to underbuild the product to the max so that it can barely squeak by the most lenient of QC controls.)

I got so sick and tired of buying single use crap that I now research and buy only top end shit that will last, ie Vitamix.

This is not limited to Walmart either.  

Got a rock solid garbage disposal online for like $50 bucks. Made in the USA and will not have a leaky seal in a year like the garbage at HD or Lowes, unless you spend $500 on one.


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:56 | 2811666 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

pods you are correct.

We all need to buy local and solid quality where possible. Screw China, Walmart and while I am at it, all those global corporations.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:25 | 2811801 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

I'm with you YY, but out in the boonies, it can be hard. The two local Ace hardwares (good stores and good owners both) have cheap shit, made in you know where bolts, nuts and screws. Bought a half-dozen 5/16th by 5" lag bolts for a hardwood bench I was building, broke two of them while tourquing down moderately - not a real arm-busting tourque. Had to go to a bigger town and custom hardware store to get real shit made in the US bolts with real steel in them.

Like pods, I too only buy really good tools, after years of buying cheap or mid-range stuff that broke, burnt out, or didn't do the job well, and my life is a lot better for it. Now, if I could only find a really good keyboard...

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:45 | 2811876 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

Try talking to the Ace manager.. tell him you would buy more if he did not have crap. I have found this works locally. His salary depends on return customers. Local people will listen. Big corporations could care less.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:17 | 2812393 I only kill chi...
I only kill chickens and wheat's picture

If you're looking for a good keyboard check They bought the original buckling spring tech patent from some IBM spinoff, lexmark? I got 2 Classic 104 Black Buckling Spring USB models. Just checked the back and holy shit it says made in the USA.

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 10:08 | 2814810 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

They're not quite the old steel-framed keyboards you used to get from IBM, but yep, they're as good as can currently be found.

Alternatively, you can get server-room hardware which is built better and three times the price, but you won't get the tactile effect.  Server keyboards tend to suck for extended use.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:51 | 2812821 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

Sounds great.


However, check the manufacturer of the products of your local retailier. Quite often you will find those same products made in China, Taiwan, South Korea.

Only difference is a higher mark up. They are business people and look for products that sell at the best profit margin, most often regardless of where it is manufactured.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:58 | 2811948 avidtango
avidtango's picture

Shopping has gone from "I need" to "This is fun" to "Oh god, not again".  What's infuriating is watching the junk folks buy without a thought. Years ago, I was waiting to pay and the woman in front said, "I don't care. Anything for $50."  That's when it hit.   Today, my wife and I do not give each other Xmas gifts but instead help those who really need it.

The whole point is that retail shopping is a chore that few except the young and the hooked practice regularly. Right - buy quality and breathe easier.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:49 | 2812558 marathonman
marathonman's picture

Milwaukee brand makes great drills.  Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:44 | 2811606 Arnold Ziffel
Arnold Ziffel's picture

The Internet Sales Tax will kill any mojo left in Sears, JCPenny's and few others.

How many people does Sears employ? Analyze that.

Unemployment is headed much higher. The good news is you can still buy a house with zero down in many cities.

It's a wonderful world!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:11 | 2811741 KidHorn
KidHorn's picture

I thought Sears and JCPenny would benefit from Internet Sales Tax since they charge sales tax for all purchases.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:37 | 2811851 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

Keep analyzing: now that Amazon has to pay sales tax on internet purchases from (say) California, they might as well have a 'presense' in the state(s) they have been staying out of to avoid said tax in the past. 

So they build large warehouse facilities near major metro centers in the Bay Area and So Cal and can start offering one-day/same day delivery = advantage Amazon. In effect, they become warehouse sales places with delivery...

What Sears and its catalog did in the 19th century, Amazon is doing with the net in the 21st.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:04 | 2811992 chunga
chunga's picture

Our pool pump motor has been making noise for a while, so I knew we'd need to eventually replace it.

So for the last few months I've been checking the prices at the local pool supply store when picking up chlorine.

Nice folks, pleasant, knowledgeable. They've helped me out a few times with pool chemistry. I like them.

I was chatting with the owner and had to tell him that for what he was asking for just the same exact motor I could buy the same exact complete pump (motor and shipping included) from Amazon for nearly half the price.

He shrugged and told me "I know, I can't even buy them in bulk from my distributor for that price".

As much as I like to spend what little money we have locally, and will pay a reasonable premium for that, I can't pay double because I don't have it to spare.

Hopefully the little shop stays open but unless his distributor lowers prices (or he buys from Amazon) they'll both be out of business.


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:46 | 2812226 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Exactly.  Fighting this process is pissing in the wind.  If you want to support local people, then you need to support the locals who are productive...  walmart nor anywhere else can sell even mediocre quality farm products for as cheaply as you can get them directly from the grower at a farmer's market...  it's a no brainer.  Retailers are not productive...  find someone else to champion.

The entire grab for market share has already happened...  the war already won or lost...  we're just going through the motions now... 

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:51 | 2812564 chunga
chunga's picture

The old pump did pop late on a Friday.

That meant I wouldn't have time to replace it until the following weekend. A pool down here for a week with no pump would turn in to a swamp. That made me buy a POS from Home Depot the next day (for even more $$$) that is modular and cannot be repaired. Plus, it is mandated by law that all new pool pumps sold in the state are two-speed because they "save electricity".  I wired the pump for the "high" speed and the head pressure is no where near the original pump (same HP).I doubt the energy saving low speed would work at all.

I paid cash, and of course saved the receipt and box. Before the 90 days is up I'm bringing it back to Home Depot for a refund. LOL

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:33 | 2812747 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

No shit.  I think pods posted it somewhere else, but realistically all you can do is consume much less and just save up for high quality goods (often times very expensive) because they're the only ones that have a chance of being worth a shit.  Clearly a higher standard of living...

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:51 | 2812566 marathonman
marathonman's picture

The small shop owners will have to be the Amazon distributors.  Probably a better business model.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:58 | 2811929 Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture

Sales will plunge is what i read. People shop online for the free shipping, zero sales tax and the product is delivered to your door (you don't spend on gas, time, etc).

Some of those advantages are now gone. Who in their right mind wants to pay 8-9% more to have an item delivered the next day?! Sounds almost as stupid as that Netflix move. I know two fairly big Ebay sellers and they both say people want CHEAPER not faster.

I like Amazon but they may lose their shirt on this move.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 17:21 | 2812917 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

You now know 3 big eBay sellers and I can add an AMEN to the other 2 folks' sentiment.  But eBay makes the sellers ship for "free" and within 1 day with postal tracking number if you want to maintain top rated status.   Fools at eBay...   It's almost as if they survey the crap outta the buyers to find out what they want, and do the opposite!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:02 | 2812327 dobermangang
dobermangang's picture

JC Penney is in a death spiral.  The new CEO got rid of sales and coupons and doorbuster sales.  He replaced it with "every day low prices", which were only 40% off.  So guess what happened?  All those coupon loving shoppers looking for sales and values and great bargains stopped shopping at JC Penney.  Raising prices during a depression is never a wise thing to do.  Anyway, they've had 2 straight disaster QTRs at JC Penney.  I expect more pain with their next lack of earnings report.  And JC Penney is getting rid of their cashiers.  They will have self checkouts in their stores.  Expect lots of shoplifting going forward. 

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:44 | 2811609 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

One big advantage the article did not mention:

when shopping online, 'americans' do not see people toiling for their welfare.

All those involved in shipping, handling packages are well hidden in large factories and their sight is removed from the average 'american''s sight, protecting the 'american' pleasure of buying things.

Things are that 'americans' are going to squeeze closer and closer from themselves and this will translate in people employed in those stores getting less for working more.

If 'americans' are compelled to see the consequences of that reality, it will spoil their fun.

So much better to buy online and preserve the average 'american' from seeing poorer and poorer people serving them.

That or substitute the employees with semi-automatic cash registers that are operated by the customers themselves who actually perform the previous employees' job, for the same purchase price (no discount, it is 'american' economics)

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:04 | 2811989 Son of Loki
Son of Loki's picture

60% of the jobs created this year so far are "low paying" compared to 20% in 2008.

The only explanation for the home sales numbers is the zero down one. And that does not bode well since many of these will eventually default as proven by the FHA default numbers thus far.

It's amazing. You can walk into almost any builders office and buy a $400,000 house for $500 down and minimal checks on your job status... as long as you use their own lender. They don't care since they simply pass the loan on to FHA (aka, Taxpayers).

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:45 | 2811614 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Yet SPG stock is only two days removed from its ALL TIME HIGH...


Don't shoot the messenger kids... I'm just channeling a little RobotTrader here to help remind everyone how utterly broken these markets are... 

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:13 | 2811749 KidHorn
KidHorn's picture

I learned long ago that shorting commercial properties is a losing venture. I believe there's a secret FED manadate to keep commercial property solvent no matter what.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:48 | 2811615 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Great insight, Charles.  One other caveat:

In most states (where corporate retailers are trying to buy legislators to change this), there are NO taxes on items bought online.  This gives Amazon/eBay a HUGE advantage (that I love), especially when it comes to mid-to-high priced items like TVs. 

For example, my buddy Patrick wants to buy a TV for the upcoming football season.  He goes online, and finds a 48-inch Samsung for around $700 (before tax).  The tax on it is around $50 dollars, and the shipping around $25-30.

He doesn't want to pay tax, but is impatient and also doesn't want to pay shipping.  What does he do? Goes to Best Buy, where he talks to a 19-year old sales rep who is excited to the HILLS he wants to buy this TV.  Pat exclaims the problem, says he'll buy online if he has to, to save the $50. 

Best Buy and the sales rep AGREE to pay the tax for him! He buys the TV and ends up saving on the shipping AND the tax.

I've never head of this before in any retail store, but yet again, these are different times.  And Best Buy is desperate, and so are the people that work there.  Ironically, Patrick is ALSO in retail, and like Al Bundy: he sells shoes and sportswear.  Thankfully, people still buy shoes and still like the idea of going out and trying them on before they buy (although in the article, this trend is slowly changing).

To be honest, how do retailers counteract this (minus raising sticker prices)? 

I used to do stand up comedy.  Like how cable television gutted the comedy club biz model, the internet is doing for the retail store.  How the comedy clubs, those that stayed, survived? By charging higher covers (to also cover rising cost of talent) AND instituting 2 drink minimums, in order to patron the establishment.  I'll guess, that retailers will actually experiement and FORCE consumers to pay a buck or two to walk into the store at some point to make up for the lost revenue. 

And hilarity will ensue.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:58 | 2811675 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

Hate to burst your bubble but Amazon is putting warehouses everywhere. They WILL charge sales tax but you can have your stuff the same day. This is their new model.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:17 | 2811764 KidHorn
KidHorn's picture

I read about that. I think they did this in California. I think they've concluded that sales tax is going to be charged on everything and figured they would get a jump on the competition.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:30 | 2811818 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

Pretty damn smart on their end. Satisfy the timelag online and they will impact retail hard. Fast sales and returns maybe one day pickup at warehouse?

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 10:14 | 2814832 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

The funny thing about the sales taxes is that you always "had to" pay them.  If you bought from Amazon out of state, the law "required" that you keep your receipts and settle up with the state at the end of the year.

The fact that no one ever DID THAT demonstrates the problem government will always have with enforcement of anything that applies to everyone.  They just can't do it. 

Ignore them.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:46 | 2811618 californiagirl
californiagirl's picture

Are you one of the authors of Agenda 21? Online shopping is great, particularly for price savings and avoiding traffic and parking, but only for some stuff. It doesn't work well for clothing and many other things. Can't tell you how many times I have been disappointed by the quality of something ordered online that was not quite what it seemed, or that I would not have purchased had I seen it in a retail location. Besides, you have to get out once in a while. Who wants to stay in the house all the time turning into a computer zombie?

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:51 | 2811640 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

Who wants to stay in the house all the time turning into a computer zombie?

I do, but yet again, I (secretly) hate people.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:00 | 2811686 EvlTheCat
EvlTheCat's picture

+100 for spotting the Agenda 21 angle!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:47 | 2811780 californiagirl
californiagirl's picture

Your avitar reminded me of an article in a mainstream science magazine discussing the genetic modification of gelatin with human DNA for use in pharmaceuticals (like gel capsules) and processed foods. Yummy! Every day it seems more and more like the kids that used to pull legs off of insects, or burn them with magnifying glasses, have grown up to become the leaders and scientists of today.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:55 | 2812836 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

Are you really a girl? I assume you are from your handle. Anyway, you should know men shop differently from women. And I would surmise that most posters on this website are men.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 18:59 | 2812982 californiagirl
californiagirl's picture

Yes, I am.  And I will agree with you about most men shoppers.  However, many of our local stores/boutiques have gone out of business more as a result of the economy than because the predominantly women shoppers have all decided they prefer online shopping instead.  There are some things we just don't want to buy online, even things men prefer to buy online. And in some cases, we have to check the item out in the store first before we order it online for a cheaper price and free shipping.   And while we are there, we might find something else we like.  You would have to get rid of all the women to do away with bricks-and-mortor retail. 

I shop online for easy stuff like books, DVD's, shampoo, various repeat items.  I still prefer bricks-and-mortor for clothing, shoes, purses, jewelry, nail polish, food, etc.  And I like to look at power tools, home repair/maintenance items, large and small appliances, kitchenwares, gardening items, electronics, smart phones, and more complex items in person for quality and other attributes at a B&M before deciding which to buy and whether to buy online.  I would be pretty bummed if I had to rely on online shopping for everything. The choice in B&Ms is already greatly diminished.  I would never buy a TV online without first inspecting it in person, particularly for the picture.   Would probably waste a lot of money on shipping returns back.

And while this is not specifically a female trait, I prefer to look at everything to determine where and how it is made. I had the exact same problem that "Nobody for President" had, and returned a bunch of wood screws to Orchard Supply last Saturday because the phillips head stripped the second I had to apply any torque using a hand screwdriver.  Of course, I could not find one wood screw in the whole store that was not made in China.  Often online stores will not tell you where something is made.  they will also often not tell you the content of the materials so you may be surprised with plastic when you think something is metal, or may get aluminum when you are expecting steel.  My Agenda 21 reference has more to do with the Agenda's desire to keep us cloistered in dense, highrise cities, take away our cars, particularly the larger ones, and controlling/limiting our energy usage.  They prefer we do not venture out and travel less.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:52 | 2811645 10mm
10mm's picture

And Jersey will pump your gas as well.Stay in the car,relax.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:53 | 2811654 Essential Nexus
Essential Nexus's picture

You are correct about Oregon.


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:05 | 2811699 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

Here is a good story that is true.

I needed a washer. Found best price online at Sears. Found local Sears that had 8 in stock. Went there to pay and pickup and was told they don't match their own online price. I said "REALLY"?

I asked to use their computer in the department to lookup washer. Put in my info and was ready to buy it online inside the Sears store and asked one last time... See my finger on the buy button, one touch and no commission for you.

Nope can't do it.... heh

I completed the online sale, went to package pickup and had the dude load it in my truck. 10 minutes tops.

Sears is sooooo screwed up!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:07 | 2811719 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

Best story all day.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:38 | 2811854 Rearranging Dec...
Rearranging Deckchairs's picture

Yeah that's like the time I bought some stuff at REI that went on sale like 31 days later and the clerk tried to tell me he couldn't adjust my prices because it had been more than 30 days between my purchase and the sale. Well I just told him as an REI member I could simply return the items ( for any reason) and just repurchase them right there. I would have done it too. But  the clerk or manager or whoever simply relented and adjusted the price anyway. He said next time I couldn't and I was like "yah right bro" sarcastically ( not unless you change your return policy).





Wed, 09/19/2012 - 18:45 | 2813201 ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

I have done this HUNDREDS of times.  Always got the lower price.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 18:46 | 2813202 ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

I have done this HUNDREDS of times.  Always got the lower price.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:11 | 2812358 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

it's a shame... Sears was one of the good guys..  now they are like that old blind grandpa that can't take care of itself


I was in my local hardware sears the other day.. brought back the old riding mower battery for the $15 credit..  well... lots of confusion since i didn't do it at the time of buying the new one months ago...  manager paged ...  never showed up...   left the dead battery there.. keep it kids - gotta go  

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 04:25 | 2814117 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Sears used to be a great place.... decades back.  Lately.... godawful business model - surprised they're still in business.   Needed to buy a freezer.  None of the stores that supposedly had one in stock (going by their web site) actuially had any.  Wasted an afternoon making the rounds - bought at a regional family owned chain - delivered the next day.  Sears would have it in a couple of days.

My father swore by Craftsman tools.  His old ones are great - the new ones...... An old box wrench is 1/3-1/2 the thickness of the new ones and STILL stronger.  Same with socket walls   Lost track of the number of sockets I've cracked - at least they wer still guarantteeing them.  

Have an old Sears table saw.  25 years old - can't kill it.  The new ones.....forget it.


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:05 | 2812651 James
James's picture

When I was in Oregon once I asked the attendant why they still insist on an employee pumping gas and was told that 40+ yrs. ago the Governors son,the attendant, was killed by a careless smoking customer who blew up the place.


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:38 | 2812771 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture


I lived in Oregon for a long time and never saw this. I also pumped my own gas when ever I was on my bike. Of course I lived in eastern Oregon, which is kind of like the Appalachia of the West Coast

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:59 | 2811679 Cursive
Cursive's picture

Well, Target does sell food (cereal, chips, dip, ice cream, milk) and SuperTargets do have a grocery component.  What does Marc A. think about CVS and Walgreen's?

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:01 | 2811693 Cow
Cow's picture

"The "fun" is in leaving empty-handed."

How true.  I love to do that.

20% off? Forget it!  I've got 100% off.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:12 | 2811746 El Tuco
El Tuco's picture

No Kidding.....



Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:06 | 2811712 skipjack
skipjack's picture

They're going to have to fix sizing issues with women's clothing before you can reliably buy online only.  A size 8 from walmart is not at all the same as a size 8 at Ann Taylor or even Talbot's.  And furniture like safa/chairs?  I won't buy it if I can't sit on it first.  It's like buying a Japanese car - the seats are sized for short Japanese people, not taller Americans.  My one and only back problem came after I drove a Subaru station wagon for 3 hours.  I couldn't stand up after I got out.


I also disagree that suburbs are finished.  While many may be, there are enough clustered around train service into the nearby city that the suburb is still viable.  Hell, on a one acre suburban lot you can grow an awful lot of food.  No, I don't see suburbs going away entirely.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:52 | 2812266 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

The easiest thing to do is limit the number of sizes.  After about a size 8 or so, the size is "tarp"...

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:58 | 2812849 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

What is this numbers crap in womens clothin?

I've always focused on size C, D, DD, DDD, E, etc.

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 04:31 | 2814121 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

That - like almost all sizes, varies by maker - which is why women prefer trying those things on..... A DD in one is too small in one brand or too large in a different brand.  One of the reasons I gave up buying dw such things.....  

BTW the really high end clothing lines are all much larger - vanity?  you can wear a size 8 or 10 instead of a 12......

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 04:50 | 2814135 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Without silicone you'd never see a D on today's anorexic females..... 

Prefer some curves myself.


If a size 12 is 'plus' (pretty average for most women) no wonder we have so many women with eating disorders.

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 10:06 | 2814805 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

Without silicone you'd never see a D on women that are in shape.

fixed it for you

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:12 | 2811744 AT
AT's picture

Target does sell groceries...ever hear of SUPER Target? 

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:31 | 2811822 Rearranging Dec...
Rearranging Deckchairs's picture

The new "City" Target in my neighborhood sells groceries except for real produce. Amazingly its two floors down from a Ralphs (Kroger) sharing the same parking facilities. The processed food at the Target is lower at its regular price than the sale price at the Ralphs. I hope Ralphs got some lease concessions for allowing a major competitor in right next to them. Otherwise whoever negotiated that anchor tenant lease years ago really f-ed up majorly, or whoever renegotiated it recently. Big Box canabalizing big box.





Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:06 | 2812351 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

gotta get them EBT credits!!!!!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:15 | 2811756 Troy Ounce
Troy Ounce's picture



Charles. I would vote for you.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:24 | 2811800 MedicalQuack
MedicalQuack's picture

We can take this one step further into healthcare as the parcel companies as they expand their warehousing fulfillment areas will end up being an extension of the pharmacy benefit managers to keep the cost of medical devices and drugs down.  Interesting here too on how UPS already employs a couple pharmacists so keep your eyes open at that may be the next decline in retail locations are more of this moves to fulfillment warehouses.  They are integrated with Medtronic to immediately ship out some of their consumer devices and you know more will jump on this bandwagon.  Gosh can we stomach all of this change:)  Sure we will still need drug stores but how many and will those without a retail clinic stay around?  I think the retail clinic additions to the stores will assure their existence in one way or another.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:36 | 2811843 Ying-Yang
Ying-Yang's picture

Hospitals are setting up clinics across the street from ERs to transfer people to instead of dumping them on the street. They are setting up neighborhood ERs with 15 minutes to doctor times. They are setting up mobile clinics. Much change coming as there is a shortage of docs and nurses. They call aging boomers the "Silver Tsunami" and it won't be pretty.....

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:31 | 2811823 moneymutt
moneymutt's picture

Who is Marc A and I wish he knew retail a little better, I know nothing on topic but know all the Targets around me in St. Paul MN sell food, and most are being converted to Super Targets that have a full medium sized brocery store in them. I do all my grocery shopping at Costco (on my way home from work), SuperTarget (0.25 miles from home on way home) and Trader Joes (on my way home from work). I have gotten groceries delivered to home before but prefer shopping on way home..takes a little less planning, keeps things fresh, always me to examine produce etc. There are a few things I wouldnt mind having delvired as my use is regular, its non-perishable and its sort of heavy, like cans of cat food/kitty litter but its tough to beat Costco prices on those things and I can load up on such things in one trip a month, not such a great inconvenience, and since im getting those things, Ill get a few other things. I will stop by Costco to get jsut 2 items, a roasted chicken and clear box of organic salads greens for less than $10 and use self-checkout and never wait in line, and I doubt my walk thru Costco takes longer that it takes for a Parisian to walk thru 2-3 small food shops on way home from work, although I would prefer the latter, but it would be costlier.

So I think food and furntiture will persist in retail.

Maybe its age, but I think the kids will be like this too, but Im just finding I want less stuff around house and need less for my entertainment. Now that I have Iphone and Ipad I dont need the following things that cluttered my house: books, CDs, DVDs, DVD player, CD player, game consoles, TV, laptop, desktop, GPS device,   etc...Now what is it that Best Buy sells? I get plenty of leisure entertainment from one device now. Still want sports equipement, bikes etc. But I think young kids will be like this too, I hear Ford VP say on marketplace teenagers once so wanted a car so they could have freedom to see their friends, hang-out etc but now they want a smart phone to be online.

So we will need less physical stuff and more and more of us will have less reason to leave house for work or for play, so gradually things will erode for commercial real estate.

I wonder what this will do construction, infrastructure? I think we will need to build less and less.

Funny, our cities built for modern world or cars and highways are less suited to next wave of future than cities built for old world. Kids prefer cities, dont feel need to move to suburbs, like walkable neighborhoods, and these cities provide density and economies of scale datalines, cell towers, deliveries etc.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:25 | 2812431 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

Kids have always liked cities - back when I was a kid there was much talk about the 'brain drain' from rural areas as the 'smart kids' went off to college and never returned, generation before they went off to WWII and never returned.

But what happens is those kids start to have kids, and realize the city is both expensive and a shitty place to raise children, so the suburbs or the country beckon once again. 

Cities will always lure the bright-eyed kids, but keeping them there for their lifetime - not so much any more.

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 04:42 | 2814128 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

There are suburbs and ther are suburbs.  Older suburbs - pre WWII - were located closer to places of employment and grew up around mass transit.  They usually have well defined shopping areas - usually near a train station and within walking distance (as is the station).  They are grids - easy to get around.  Schools are often 'neighborhood' - walking distance for elementary and even high school at times.

Post WWII suburbs are car centric - lots of cul de sac developments - one way into the rat maze (loads of fun during rush hour when everyone wants in or out and the access is onto a two lane road that's bumper to bumper - and no traffic light. No central  town or village core - malls - stirip and big ones along the highways.  No mass transit - or horrible if there is.  Schools require bus rides (fun when you're in sports or extracurricular activities).

I live in the former - prefer it immensely to the latter.  And the city is a couple stops, 30 minutes to Grand Central.   DW grew up in the latter - have friends living there as well.... an hour on the train after dricving to the station.  Drive EVERYWHERE.  

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 16:37 | 2812769 californiagirl
californiagirl's picture

People who use their iPhone or iPad to do all their shopping online and social media to communicate, will turn into iZombies if they don't actually get out once in a while.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:32 | 2811827 Westcoastliberal
Westcoastliberal's picture

By this time next year, none of this will be relevant.  We are just about at the end of this cycle and a new one will begin.  It will be well beyond what many call a "game-changer".

I have spoken.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:37 | 2811847 dirtbagger
dirtbagger's picture

Suburbia and the ascent of retail chains vs independent retailers has marginalized the brick and mortar shopping experience.  The MO of the chains is less inventory and more turn.  Cookie cutter stores make shopping the same deja vu experience in every urban area.

The beauty of the internet is, it allows for low cost entrance into the market for startups and small independent businesses   These businesses give consumers more choices and a much greater product diversity than one will ever see at physical stores.   Case in point - I was looking for a replacement baseball hat with my University logo.  The internet store had 208 choices - still trying to decide - perhaps too many options!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:53 | 2811909 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Target does not sell food...


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 13:56 | 2811931 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

The Shopping Mall will never go away.  During the Summer people need a way to get out of the heat.  Try having UPS deliver 5000 lbs of crushed ice.


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 19:22 | 2813281 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

I guess they don't get Summer in Michigan.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:03 | 2811987 Abiotic Oil
Abiotic Oil's picture

Brick and mortar retail = paying for gas, driving, parking, shopping, dealing with idiots, touching filthy shopping carts and credit card terminals (see that study where they examined shopping carts and found lots of fecal matter?), paying extra so the biz can cover overhead, loading it up in your car, driving home.

Online = ruthless price shopping, lots of inventory, "one click" and a few days later it appears on my doorstep for a better price and zero hassle.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:08 | 2812019 koaj
koaj's picture

target sells food at least the 3 by me do

the clientele of target vs walmart is what will keep target afloat. walk into an walmart, do your shopping and then do the same in a target. its a different feel...i cant quantify it but in walmart i think i may be the only one who does not use an ebt card

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 19:27 | 2813295 californiagirl
californiagirl's picture

Target is not filled with the overwhelming, headache-inducing smell of toxic chemicals, plastics and other petroleum-based products and actually carries some products not made in China.  The merchandise is shelved/stacked more neatly and the aisles are wider so it is easier to manuever and avoid being bumped into constantly. There are plenty of clerks around when you need help. And I have never had to walk a guantlet of loud and obnoxious petition signature-hunters to get into a Target store.  Of course, I have only been to Walmart once.  But that was enough for me. 

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 20:05 | 2813385 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Yes, but the majority of their house-brand clothes are so flimsy and foreign-made that they are barely worth clearance-rack prices. Food is horribly over-priced; $1.59 for a single green pepper, $5 for a 'personal' watermelon, and limited-selection except in a major market Super store. I hit several stores in different markets and buy almost all clearance items. Takes patience but I only visit them on client runs. Electronics are the best clearance buys, then housewares, and seasonal. Only one store stocks Buffalo and Bare chicken products but sales are rare; good natural food though. And the other reason to visit Target? Oh, the eye candy in them...sorry, sounds sexist, but the demographics are hard to beat.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 21:10 | 2813501 californiagirl
californiagirl's picture

Which is why I do not buy goceries or clothes there.  But it is great for household sundries like detergent, paper towels, etc.  I prefer organic food that does not contain RoundUp or Bt.  At least I can wash an organic vegetable.  It is impossible to wash the Bt off of GMO produce because the plants produce it themselves inside every cell, and the RoundUp it takenup into the plants systemically.  GMO farmers sign contracts with Monsanto that require them to purchase a certain amount of RoundUp with the seeds and dictate how often and when the RoundUp is applied (I looked at the fine print language on Monsanto's website for several of their GMO products).  Keep in mind that "natural" does not mean GMO free.  It may be full of RoundUp and/or Bt-containing ingredients like soy, corn, canola and cotton and their various derivatives (ie. Lecithin in chocolate) as are most of the vitimin and mineral supplements, and "natural" meat may have been fed solely on GMO grains, or worse things during the animals entire life. Even grass fed "natural" meat may have been feeding on GMO alfalfa fields. There have been studies that show gene transfer from livestock feed to the host animal that has been eating GMO grains for long periods of time. If that is actually occuring, the gut linings of the animals may have become pesticide producing factories.  However, I am not a scientist so I cannot attest to the validity of the studies.  I just prefer to play it safe and limit my exposure to potentially harmful foods. I don't want to turn into one of those people that has to pop a handfull of prescription pills for all kinds of medical problems every day, not to mention the potential for cancer down the road.   Plants can be made RoundUp proof.  However, as far as I know, they have not yet modified humans to be RoundUp and Bt proof.  Fortunately, in the area where I live, more and more people are becoming aware and eating organics so there are lots of sources.  Stores like Whole Foods are packed and even large chains like Safeway now have Organic sections. New organic markets are also popping up. Even places like our local Target stores have a few organic items on the shelves.


I have resigned to food becoming a larger part of my budget as organic does not come cheap. I would rather give up something else first.  However, I hope I am making it up with reduced medical and prescription bills, particularly as I become older.


P.S. Your eye-candy comment does not bother me at all. I spent much of my career working in male-dominated environments.  It takes much more than that to raise my hackles.  If I couldn't handle it, would I be reading this website?

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 00:04 | 2813893 Mike in GA
Mike in GA's picture

What's the beef with Bt?  (I could google for some opinions but I've seen you mention it twice on here so I figure you've already done your research...)

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 03:27 | 2813980 californiagirl
californiagirl's picture

I just don't care to consume anything that produces crystalline proteins that will bind with cells in the gut causing them to burst. There is a lot of info available on the internet from studies discussing the effects of Bt, so if you are curious, go ahead and research.

Transgenic crops have also been shown to have detrimental effects on the bees that are necessary for the pollination of our crops. Neonicotinoids, produced by both Bayer and Monsanto coat the vast majority of GMO corn and soy seeds. There were three separate studies published earlier those year (two in "Science") linking this pesticide to bee colony collapse disorder. The evidence of detrimental effects from GMO crops is continuing to mount all over the world, yet our Monsanto-run FDA continues to allow the GMO companies to release these products into the food chain without proper long-term testing because they are supposedly substantially the same as unmodified crops. GMO companies like to compare GMO to hybridization. However, the organisms that are created in GMO labs would never combine in nature or by attempted hybridization. The most invasive viruses and organisms are used as carriers to aid in the lab created gene transfer. There have been studies showing that some of these agents survive the process and end up in the guts of the animals that ate the modified food, greatly multiplying the risk of further horizontal gene transfer. The potential ramifications merit a bit more study before we rush head long into something we may regret later and may not be able to undo, don't you think?

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:14 | 2812050 905ozs
905ozs's picture

Normally there intellect here...not today.

Tesco, whom I worked for, and WalMart whom I work for, do .com shopping as a marketing asset, turnover is neglible & cost to infrastructure supply chain is a -60% ROI.

Meanwhile; fiatdeath, proper warIII breaking out, a "NWO" seemingly assured with centralized everything, a sheeple blissfully waiting to be culled.

And so we sit.

.......but we continue to discuss & live an unreality that presumes "this" will still exist in the future

I blame Americans for not seeing the obvious & letting Ron Paul get slapped down, ditto the rest of the World.

I blame the Us...the "clever knowing" for Our sanctimoniousness in talk & action.

I blame, most of all, that Few Elite... that have set this up and have been profiting for centuries from killing us & centralizing whatever they can.

....of course, around 1890 they understood a World BIS fiat was the key.


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:19 | 2812079 Unbezahlbar
Unbezahlbar's picture

I now do 90% of my shopping online after being robbed in front of 'a nice store' at North Park in North Dallas at gun point at 10:30am....that's 10:30 in the freak'n morning! Both teens were of a ....mmm... diverse nature and had guns.  After they took my purse and shopping bag they told me they were not going to shoot me since I "looked like nice person." Both put their guns back under their shirts and calmly walked away to the DART station.

There are many reasons people shop online. That's one of mine.  With the eocnomy grimmer then ever and worsening, I expect crime to soar.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:21 | 2812088 payment expert
payment expert's picture

Comming from a company that specializes on online and mobile payments we do do see the increase on the migration from a small shop owners in to the venture of an online business.

Interestingly we see a high rise in the space of auction driven platforms, where a customer can get the worth of a better penny.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:41 | 2812142 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

"I have often addressed the consequences of technology and globalization, a topic I call the end of work." 

Yes the shills were out when agriculture got mechanised... then when industry became mechanised

the same will happen to retail but something else will come along

"Once this task is replaced by home delivery it will become possible to massively expand public transportation."

Dream On Statists. We don't give up our personal technology for public piles of antiquated crap. 

Notice how the technology in a private car (or aeroplane) has accelerated while the shit of public transport, trains and buses, has stood still for 100 years. Todays trains and buses are just seats, that's it! No hi-fi, wifi, videos and no safety devices (belts, airbags) whatsoever ...just a fucking dull boring seat

100 years of zero progress, that is how absolutely pathetic Govt is


Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:35 | 2812177 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

New Jersey also mandates gas be pumped by an employee.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:36 | 2812182 1000yrdstare
1000yrdstare's picture

Well said 905ozs

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:49 | 2812245 Dermasolarapate...
Dermasolarapaterraphatrima's picture

Seniors are going to get slapped again, this time by the online taxes. I volunteer every few weekends at a local assissted living center and these poor folks are desperate due to the 0.001% on their CDs and savings account. Most planned on at least 5% return.  Most of them also shop online since they have no car, etc.


The Law of Unintended Consequences is going to bite.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:54 | 2812280 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Fuck em...

They grew up in the Golden Age of America and benefitted from unequaled prosperity, too fucking bad they didn't know how to live within their means....

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:05 | 2812343 Rearranging Dec...
Rearranging Deckchairs's picture

Who Knew Idiocracy was almost right. It turns out it won't be a Costco that everyone goes to buy everything ,it will be Amazon. That way we can swell up like the humans in WALL-E and go to law school at some future Amazon online university ( "I was lucky I was a legacy").

Thu, 09/20/2012 - 04:45 | 2814130 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Brawno or Soylent Green....

either way the future ain't so bright..... (or is it, with decreased ozone and increased skin cancer) 

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:08 | 2812361 Grand Supercycle
Grand Supercycle's picture

Due to QE3 and short covering spikes, all these daily charts are extremely overextended & significant correction expected very soon ~ SPX, NZDUSD, GBPUSD, AUDUSD, COPPER, CRUDE, GOLD, SILVER.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 15:20 | 2812405 jojomama
jojomama's picture

New Jersey also mandates that gasoline be pumped by professionals, not by individuals. 

And they've had 13 Republican governors since 1929, the "beginning of Socialism."

Doesn't add up, does it.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 23:11 | 2813792 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Nice perspective, a tad starry-eyed on the robotics, tho. 

At some point, it becomes cheaper to pay wages than to buy the electricity or oil that powers the machines, or to finance the CapEx to buy 'em. 

I've heard of labor gluts, too, somehow...

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