Sunday, March 29, 2015

Post 2916 - Sunday

Hello yet again, my friends.

I returned to the city late this morning. Patricia and Newbie both greeted me warmly. After a few more episodes of Netflix's "Bloodline", a shower, and a nice chicken meal, I am down here in my recroom half-watching last week's episode of The Walking Dead before they run the season finale in 24 minutes or so. Newbie is on the arm of the chair next to me in case you were wondering.

I have noticed a couple of things in the Nova Scotia retail sector lately. I would like to comment on them. First of all, Pete's Frootique in Wolfville is closing at the end of May, just over 2 months from now.

I am deeply conflicted about this. Wolfville is one of my favourite towns ever. It is fun and fresh and eclectic and I went to university there back in the day. When I go up on a weekend, I make it a point to drive through that town at least once.  Mom and I both loved eating at Rosie's in Wolfville, which is a damn sight better than the one in Kentville.

Then there was Pete's. A nice store. A great store. But full of things that the average Joe Sixpack can't afford. Many a time I would walk in there, balk at the prices, and walk out empty-handed, while some of the staff watched me walk to my car with their noses pressed up to the glass. If I felt especially flush, or really wanted an item I couldn't get anywhere else, like Montreal bagels, then I would have little choice but to go in, unload the contents of my wallet, and leave with the desired item and a lot less cash.

In the United States, there is a company called Whole Foods. Everybody calls it "Whole Paycheck". Great food, but crazy prices. Just like what Pete's charges. We were at the Pete's in Bedford Thursday night. Patricia bought some items, not that many, and left with much less cash. That store, plus the one in downtown Halifax, will continue to do well because there are more people in those parts of the province who can afford to support that kind of business. In Wolfville, there are not that many. As my mother said the one time she set food in the store, "You'd have to be a millionaire to shop in there!" That kind of perception doesn't just go away.

I feel sorry for the 50 full and part-time folks who will soon be unemployed. But I won't miss the store that much. It was the wrong store for the wrong part of the province.

Now. Future Shop. The stores in New Minas and New Glasgow both closed a week ago Friday. And the remaining Future Shop stores across Canada all closed without warning on March 28th. About half of them will reopen as Best Buy stores. Since there is already a Best Buy store in Bayer's Lake, the FS shop there will remain closed, so all the people who work there are s.o.l.

I don't know about you, but Future Shop was a place where I would go in, look at stuff, and leave without buying anything. I marvelled at how they continue to sell dvd's and blu-rays long after the bottom fell out of both markets. People don't buy video's any more. They use streaming services or download.

Then there was the cost of certain things like sound bars. I bought a pretty good sound bar at XS Cargo (also defunct) last year for about $55. I used the mounting screws and my cordless drill to attach it to the tv stand my HD tv is on. The sound bar has two inputs, plus bluetooth and even a pretty good FM radio. Plus a remote. $55. Works and sounds great. Why, then, would I spent $300 or so on a sound bar that doesn't have the radio, may or may not have the bluetooth? Why? Just so I could say I had bought it at Future Shop? I don't think so.

In Bayer's Lake, Future Shop was right next door to the Super Store. While Patricia was inside getting victuals, I would saunter over to Future Shop and kill some time, seldom buying anything. I have to wonder how many other guys did the same thing, and what kind of effect on the bottom line that had.

What happened at Pete's, and Future Shop, shows some pretty serious changes in the Canadian retail landscape. People want the best deals they can get. They don't want it fancy. And I am surprised it has taken this long for retailers to realize that.

It's 10pm. Time to watch the season finale of The Walking Dead.

See you tomorrow.


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