Even I wanted to go shop on Black Friday, because of a deal at Old Navy involving a free camera. But since everyone else will want the same deal and I hate crowds, I blew it off.
Most attempts by small businesses and commercial districts to compete against the chain stores and their super-duper deals fail. It's just too hard to compete, e.g., the deal I wanted at Old Navy was to get a free Kodak camera worth about $80 at retail, when you buy $40 of merchandise.
The Washington Post
story, "New research reveals the reasons we shop on Black Friday
," has some disturbing discussion about what makes us buy so much junk, when stores want us to do so:
1. Crowds make us happy
2. Those who plan, push
3. We love the hunt
4. It's about togetherness
that our rituals and sense of togetherness has been commodified.
And if that isn't enough, traditional shopping centers are being made over along "traditional commercial district" lines ("lifestyle centers"). See "Main Street replacing the shopping mall
" from the Washington Post
The American Express-initiated "Small Business Saturday
" is a good counter to "Black Friday" and its hyper chain focus.
Small Business Saturday
is an attempt to focus consumers on shopping at locally owned businesses and in traditional commercial districts.
Shopping local matters. Local businesses spend more money in the community than chain stores. And they are typically tenants in local (neighborhood) commercial districts, in locations that chains aren't normally interested in.
So this holiday season, make the time and take the effort to shop and purchase at local stores, in local commercial districts.
These days, the drop in consumer spending is crushing retail businesses, large and small, especially in the music and book retail sectors (e.g., "Plan 9 Music files for bankruptcy
" from the Richmond Times-Dispatch
But independent businesses have access to fewer resources and therefore our purchases make a bigger impact there.
Top photo: Takoma Park, Maryland. Middle photo: State Street, Media, Pennsylvania. Bottom photo: Carytown, Richmond, Virginia.
Labels: commercial district revitalization, formula retail, retail enterpreneurship development