Friday, January 16, 2009

Death of the Big Box?

Today Circuit City, which filed for bankruptcy in November, announced that it will be liquidating all of it’s U.S. stores; well over 500 in number. In doing so, it joins the ranks of a growing number of other “big box” retailers (Goody’s Family Clothing, KB Toys, Mervyns LLC, Linens ‘N Things, etc.,) that have crashed & burned in recent months – no doubt with more on the way – as well as others who have been shutting down dozens and even hundreds of individual locations (Macy’s, Starbucks, etc.,).

Taken into consideration along with the failures of the huge banks and investment houses that we have seen in the past 12 months, it makes me wonder if the days of all of these monolithic type corporations are coming to an end.

Apparently, bigger isn’t always better. Especially when company profits must be constantly bled off to fund investors who make money by adding absolutely no value whatsoever.

As I have downsized my life over the past few years, it has gotten better, easier to manage, and more productive, all of which have increased my own quality of life. Who’s to say that a downsizing of companies won’t do the same thing? The folks who have habitually lived at the top of these corporate pyramids won’t like that, of course, but I’ve never considered it my civic duty to support the lifestyles of the rich & famous.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get back that sense of community that we lost when everything went “big”? Yes, all of those “big” stores offered so much variety and made things so much easier for us, but in embracing those mega-stores & mega-malls, we seem to have lost touch with one another. We traded our relationships for stuff. I would suggest that it wasn’t worth it.

Maybe the trend is now moving back to what it was before; when we had a much larger number of smaller, independent stores that all mixed together to make every community unique in it’s own way.

Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.


MamaHen said...

That would certainly be nice!

Diane Mullen said...

Indeed, it would be nice to return to the days when the merchants knew their customers and truly cared about providing good products and service. The malls and big box stores have nearly eliminated locally owned stores, especially in small towns where often times the only store is the one based in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Diane in Ohio

Katia said...

Yes, I agree. Have you read "Henry and the Great Society" by H. L. Roush? It's about this whole move towards "bigger and better" and the harsh realities of what "progress" has cost us. It is available in book form and also to read online-try a google search.

Blaine Staat said...

Thanks Katia, I have not read it, but I will put it on my reading list! -Blaine

Trisha said...

Blaine -

I found your blog through your wife's, while it still existed, and I've always found your writing to be inspiring. I, too, hope that one day I can move away from the big city and to a smaller town, with smaller stores, and a real sense of community. The big city creates selfish people with no sense of respect. For now I'm stuck with the city so that I can finish university, but I'll be gone as soon as I can. Until then, I'm going to live vicariously through your blog and your incredible books.


Katia said...

I wanted to share this link to "Henry and the Great Society" online

The best part is that the author is a Christian!

A blessed week to you, your family, and all the readers of your blog!