Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Empty Monday

A need for a particular object caused me to go shopping at Sears and Kohl’s yesterday. My usual venues are Kroger and Costco—where, no matter the day, I see plenty of customers. But visits to general merchandisers, certainly of late, meaning the last decade or so, have made me wonder about that category. In both of the stores I visited yesterday—to be sure it was a Monday—the almost total absence of people gave me an eerie feeling. When, at distances like half of a football field away, I actually saw one or two shoppers, they seemed out of place—like ants in our formal china cabinet. If you long for genuine solitude, never mind mountain tops of solo sailing of the Pacific. Go to Kohl’s on Monday. And if you want a change of mountain or of ocean, walk through largely empty mallways over to Sears. In both of these stores—and the same is now uniformly true of other general merchandisers—the only actual employees one sees is at the entrances. The checkout counters are located there. Silence. Emptiness.

This morning I looked up Kohl’s 10K, wondering if the company was still viable. Well, Monday visits don’t tell the whole story. Kohl’s seems to be doing well enough, up $3 billion since 2008, with sales of $19.3 billion, earning 5 cents on each dollar’s sale. I managed to see this retailer at its slowest moment. Must go back one Saturday afternoon to see customers. Employees, I expect, will be as absent then as they were yesterday.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds as if you were at Summit Place Mall (and ghost town).

    Speaking of ghost towns, we were talking with a friend about the old days at Jacobsen's down in the Village.
    Then The Punch and Judy Theater.
    Gadfrey!

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