Thursday, December 08, 2011

Empty stores

So this season I've visited two Target stores and one Wal-Mart store. And... uhm. Hello? Helloooo? Anybody there?

The two Target stores were virtually deserted. At one of them, two checkout counters were operating, this during a prime shopping time. The other had four checkout counters operating. And no lines. The place virtually echoed.

Wal-Mart was a little busier, but nowhere near the zoo that it was before the Great Recession. Only half of the checkout lanes were open, and there were no lines. Before the Great Recession, all the checkout lanes would have been open, all the parking in the parking lot would have been filled, and the store would have been so jammed with people you would have had a hard time moving. Now... not so much.

All that happy happy joy news about how great the economy is doing yada yada? Uhm, yeah. Not seein' it. Just sayin'.

-- Badtux the Observant Penguin


  1. Maybe people have finally decided that they want something different than a big box store? I haven't been inside either a Walmart or a Target in years myself because I live someplace with great local stores and work someplace else with even better local stores.

  2. I won't even go into a fucking Wall Mart.

    Pretty fond of Costco, though.


  3. I have to admit that I am a regular Costco customer. They are a notable exception to my big box store aversion. I have been very happy since they announced that they're going to build one just a few miles from my house. I can also say, that the Costco store where I shop is anything but empty lately.

  4. Maybe all those Mall-Warters are doing so much better, they've gone to Nordstroms! /snark/

    No signs of depression here, but I haven't done any Christmas shopping. I do plan on going to this holiday-only conglomeration of merchant stalls downtown, because the husband in our neighbour's family has set up a booth there.

    The guy is a construction contractor, which should be a great business to be in at the moment. On my block alone, FOUR houses have been torn down in the past month, and they're building new ones. Probably two dwelling units will be put in on each of the lots, which are the typical 33-feet-wide but relatively deep configuration that's standard in Vancouver. The real estate bubble is still going on steroids here.

    Anyway, the guy has gotten into Scientology over the past few years, according to his wife, who is sane. He's decided that he doesn't like construction. (He's in his 40s, has two kids with her, and incidentally, is an American, born in the NYC metro area.) This guy borrowed who knows how much money to buy, get this, a CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN! Have you seen those? It has liquified chocolate running down, and you can dip bits of fruit or cookies on shish kebab type skewers into it. For a price. This guy goes into debt (without telling his wife) to do this crap for the holidays.

    I feel it's my neighbourly duty to go to where he's set up and splurge on his goodies. He gave us free admission tickets. It's one of those holiday markets where they expect people to PAY for the privilege of going inside to spend money at stalls. If there's any signs of a slowdown in Canadian holiday $pirit$, I should see it there. I will let you know, for your amusement. I also hope you have been amused by this fable of foibles from my 'hood.

  5. P.S. I like Costco too, Lynn. We used to belong in San Francisco. They had quality wine selection for a chain store. They also have a reputation for treating their workers decently. But we stopped going because the two of us just couldn't consume enough of the masso-package sizes to justify buying them. Good for stocking our natural disaster/civilizational collapse hoard, but otherwise...

    When Costco opened a bigbox in Melbourne, Australia a few years ago, it was a major civic event there. People loves 'em some American bargain.

  6. We saw the same thing last year. So far, down here in LA-LA land, same old, same old.

    Chocolate fountain costs, I don't know, south of $250 US, I think. You just won't catch me dipping my goodies into the same sauce that a bunch of children with less-than-hygenic parents have been snuffling in. Kind of like a chocolate bobbing for apples. Yuk.

  7. Well, my local Costco was jam-packed last Saturday, but it was the usual crowd of Asians (both southeast Asians and Indians) who as far as I know don't celebrate Christmas as such, so (shrug).

    Which reminds me, I went to a Wal-Mart in Ridgecrest when I was traveling to/from Death Valley over Thanksgiving (had to pick up a couple of last-minute items that I had forgotten or lost), and it took me about 5 minutes to figure out what was wrong. Virtually everybody was *white*! I'm so used to being one of the only white faces in the crowd here in Santa Clara that it took me a few minutes to acclimate to such a... non-diverse... atmosphere. Hrm.

    - Badtux the Diverse Penguin

  8. @Badtux I used to have similar experiences when I first moved out of Detroit. It took me a long time to get used to being surrounded by only white people. But I didn't know that Santa Clara was especially diverse. Amazing the things you can learn just by farting around on people's blogs. :)

  9. The parking lots at our local mall are pretty empty up here in Chico also. I don't go in. BadTux is practically a neighbor down there on the Peninsula. The nice thing about Santa Clara/San Jose is Pho shops abound along with the ever present taco trucks. Cheap food heaven.

    This is a, big "D", Depression and it's not going away anytime soon. The root causes are far deeper than the financial turmoil and go into the declining per-capita availability of energy in first world nations.

    The $52 Billion dollars in climate-related weather damage the U.S. suffered last year isn't helping much either.

    Deal with reality or reality deals dirty.


Ground rules: Comments that consist solely of insults, fact-free talking points, are off-topic, or simply spam the same argument over and over will be deleted. The penguin is the only one allowed to be an ass here. All viewpoints, however, are welcomed, even if I disagree vehemently with you.

WARNING: You are entitled to create your own arguments, but you are NOT entitled to create your own facts. If you spew scientific denialism, or insist that the sky is purple, or otherwise insist that your made-up universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees is "real", well -- expect the banhammer.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.