I get a lot of questions from people when I say I try to shop at small local stores instead of large chain stores. And I guess the easiest way to answer is – working in a small store I can understand how hard it is to struggle against the monolithic chains. Its extremely difficult and in dealing with them sometimes is more headache then its worth.
Example – I work next door to a Target. The Target stores seem to think that because they are Target that they can do pretty much whatever they want without thinking about any other stores. Last year it was the reconstruction they did to expand their store. We found out the day it started even though being right next door, they didn’t think to let us know that they would be blocking the entrance to our store for 7 months. Making the old ladies that want to buy a Jesus statue or a few prayer cards or a rosary have to wade thru a construction zone. Not they have to worry about that – their entrance was moved to the far end of the shopping center. Their customers need not worry. This also added on the constant blocking of our back entrance where we receive delieveries of large amount of candles. When we would talk to them, they would just hand us to the next person in line. It was a complete and utter pain in the ass.
And I like Target. I really do, I shop there all the time. But I would rather not but sometimes you just can’t get what you want unless its from a chain store. Because the small stores that tried to compete with them no longer exist. Because you can’t. If you try – you lose.
Another example – we just found out that because a home improvement center wants to be in our shopping center (their closest location is 6 blocks away, oh dear!) we may have to disappear from a location we love. Because the owner of the shopping center doesn’t care. And the home improvement center definatly doesn’t and when their construction may start – well, it will happen during the Christmas season. One of the two seasons that keeps us alive thru the summer time. Yeah, that will suck ass big time.
But the biggest example of all is Wal-Mart… I do not shop there unless I absolutly have to. They are the worst of the worst. They will go into a small community and carry the exact things being sold in the small stores and undercut the costs to get people to shop at Wal-Mart. Because if you go in for one thing, you will keep shopping for everything else while you are there. They don’t want you to go to another store for anything. The main reason – they want to be the only store that exists. There is a real evil behind that smiley face. And when I mean undercut – they will sell under the actual costs, to get people to distrust other stores who sell at the Suggested Retail Price. An average customer will think – if I can get this movie for 13.97 at Wal-Mart why do I have to pay 24.95 at so-so store? Why? Because the so-so store can’t even buy that movie at 13.97. Add in the fact that they are not good to their employees and pretty dang sexists (I experienced this first hand when I worked there and wasn’t allowed to take a break from cashiering until 7 hours into my 8 hour shift). You can find out more about this monstrosity here: http://walmartwatch.com/
Sorry, Wal-Mart gets me a little worked up from time to time. So, why do I shop locally… because I feel for the people who are suffering because Target, Wal-Mart, GNC, Chili’s, etc need to have just one more location a few blocks from the last one. Because people who put their entire livelyhood, finances, life, peace of mind, health on the line to fulfill a dream of owning a store happen… only to be destroyed by the Elephants of industry who only care about how much money they can make and how much they can destroy small businesses (that is mainly wal-mart). These small business’ don’t get bought out by bigger stores, they pretty much can lose everything because its easier for us to go to a Barnes & Noble then it is a small book store. Or to a Chili’s because its known then trying out a new small family owned resturant whose food is just as good if not so much better. Its also another reason why I try not to shop online unless its something I can not buy in town. But thats another blog…
So, in today’s retail world its Ant vs. Elephant… and then Ant’s don’t seem to have a chance at all.