Aunt Sadie’s Wit and Wisdom — Death to the old ways…

So, the other day, Mr. Backyard Poet and his wife were trenched deep in a conversation about the demise of what you call Brick and Mortar retail stores. That’s what they call a place where you have to go into to buy as compared to them places that you just do it on your computer or new smart ass telephones. She was a talking about how she liked to get all feely touchy with things that she bought. And there was kind of a little rouw a going on with some of the youngsters.

So it gets me to thinking as to how hard it probably is for them youngen’s to understand what we’re saying. I mean they have lived their entire lives in a different world than what those of us with a few miles under our belts was brought up in. They aint got no idea about some of the things we enjoyed in the old times. It aint just the retail stores, theys other things that have disappeared. Like Drive-In movie theatres, roller skating rinks, land line telephones, antennae TV, vinyl 45 records, face to face talking and sealing a deal with a good ole handshake. With no proper places to do your sparking, it aint no wonder kids now a days don’t get married any more.

So as to make a long story short, that’s just the way life is. You have to be able to change in order to adapt to new ways of doing things. It was that way with our parents, it is that way now with us and some day it will be that way for the kids. Imagine, someday they might hear, “Geeze grandpa, you mean you actually had to drive to a place to buy your food and then you had to cook it for yourself? What was it like to live in the Stone Age?”

So all we can do is to grasp ahold of what technology we can manage to understand and do our best with it. Cause one thing is certain, change waits for no one.

Till next time friends…

OK Google…Post this message.

The Future of Retail – A 100 Word Story

“Hello Mr. Brotherton, welcome to our store,” has been replaced by “Please make a selection from the following menu.”

Instead of feeling the fabric, checking to see how easily it wrinkles and finally taking it to the fitting room. I get, click here to add to your cart.

What once was, “That color looks good on you, have you seen these shirts, they’re on sale today.” Became, continue to checkout.

“Thank you for shopping, have a nice day,” is now, your order has been confirmed.

Soon it will be, we’ll send you what we want, just go back to sleep

Free Form Friday – My weekly rant about things that no one else gives a hoot about

Retail Me Not

I saw a post the other day, more than likely as I was trolling Facebook, about a retail chain filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will be closing the local store. Their comment said that it was closing because their prices were too high. So being the busy body that I am I thought it prudent to butt in, as the Backyard Poet so often does, and leave my precious two cents worth. Although I realize that by today’s standards is only worth about half a cent.

Now, I know a little bit about the company that the post was referring to because I happen to work for that chain. I know it cost X amount of dollars just to keep the lights on, heat going, employees working, rent the building, etc. I know that of the 363 locations owned by this company it is closing 100 underperforming stores.

The key word we have to understand here is underperforming. If you don’t have enough people come into the store and buy more than it costs to stay open then you have an underperforming store. Not because the prices are too high but because they are not making a profit. That’s business 101.

I’ll lay it out in plain and simple language; it means that, not enough people shopped there. People decided it was better to drive the 40 or 50 miles to shop at the local Walmart or just buy online, all in the name of saving a penny or two.

Now years ago we faced the same dilemma as big retail stores pushed the ‘mom and pop’ stores right out of town. We chose then to shop at the new mega mall so we could save a few dollars. Oh we yelled and screamed about how corporate America was forcing out the little man as we loaded our carts with frozen strawberries, 10 lb. packages of hamburger in a tube, and stopped by the in-store pharmacy on the way out.

Now, those same big retailers like Target, Walmart, and Amazon have their sights honed in on the mid-sized retail chains. If we, the consumer, don’t do something about it then it’s my belief that within 5 to 6 years, they too will succumb to the same fate. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at the retail world of 2018.

There were more than 5000 store closings in 2018 and that’s coming off a banner year for store closing in 2017. Some examples of stores closing due to underperforming sales include:

Sears and Kmart – closed or closing 142 underperforming stores

Lowe’s – closed or closing 51 Lowe’s locations as well as all 99 Orchard Supply Stores

Victoria’s Secret – closing 20 underperforming locations

Starbuck’s – closing 150 underperforming locations

Kroger’s – 15 underperforming stores in saturated markets

Best Buy – 250 underperforming mobile phone mall stores

JC Penny’s – 8 more after closing 140 in 2017

Macy’s – 100 stores in underperforming markets

The list goes on and on but I hope you get my meaning. Heck, the entire budget for the salaries of all its employees in some of these smaller chains is less than what those big retail markets spend on paper clips alone.

So no, they will never have the ability to match those giant’s pricing structures. So if the only thing that matters to you is saving a penny or two then no one can complain about losing another store. It all boils down to this; if you want to keep a store in your town then you have to use it. Who knows, maybe someday, you might have to drive a hundred miles to save that dollar.

The Rest of the Story Trump Economics….

 Lots of news spouting from the Trump mouthpieces recently. But are they the truth or another example of taking credit for other people’s work?
Let’s look at the facts, shall we.

Trump’s economy has created 1.7 million new jobs since he took office…TRUE.
The rest of the story you’re not supposed to look at too closely…
Let’s examine the same time frame (January to December) of each of the years since 2010.
2010 – 951, 000 new jobs
2011 – 1.839 Million new jobs
2012 – 1.54 Million new jobs
2013 – 2.044 Million new jobs
2014 – 2.553 Million new jobs
2015 – 2.24 Million new jobs
2016 – 1.959 Million new jobs
Source: The US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Trump economic unemployment rate is at 4.1%…TRUE
The rest of the story, since 2010, when the unemployment rate hit a staggering 9.8%, it has been experiencing a gradual annual decrease since.
Let’s take a look at the December #’s for each year.
2010 – 9.3%
2011 – 8.5%
2012 – 7.9%
2013 – 6.7%
2014 – 5.6%
2015 – 5.0%
2016 – 4.7%

Stock Market tops 25,000…TRUE AGAIN.
But for the rest of the story; in this one I must give credit where credit is due.
Though the market has been rising steadily since 2009, it took a massive 23% jump with the news of Trumps election. Mostly due to big business riding on the wave of Trump’s promise of huge tax cuts for corporations. But who really is profiting from the stock market rise? The biggest winners; companies like Apple, McDonalds, and Boeing… all companies that rely heavily on overseas sales and have capitalized on the weakened US Dollar. In the case of Boeing, which has seen nearly 70% soar in shares, mainly is profiting from growing defense budget.
Let’s not forget the fact that only 21% of all households making $30000 or less can even afford to venture into the market. Most of those only with the 401k’s offered through their employment.
Who gains? Once again the rich get richer.

Now, we all know that it takes months, or even years, for an economic plan to show any signs of its effectiveness. So we will not know what the tax cut bill brings to the table for any of us. The question we must ask ourselves is though…Can we really rob Peter and expect to still pay Paul? I suppose, just because it hasn’t happened since the beginning of time, does not mean that it won’t. But, highly unlikely.

So the moral of this story remains. Just because someone said it is true… and we so desperately want it to be true…does not mean that it is true.
Always look for the rest of the story.