A local, bricks and mortar store is more than just another place to make a purchase. It is an essential part of our community.
Yesterday, I wrote an article: “On-line Retail Fails to Launch.” It noted that out of stocks and uncertain ship dates are understandable at a time when e-commerce retailers are facing an unprecedented increase in demand. Their subsequent failure to provide adequate customer service has, however, been catastrophic for them during a time of rare opportunity.
As a result, there is a chance, that the public is going to have a new-found appreciation if not love for its local retailers. At a time when far away, impersonal distribution centers are having challenges in getting them their orders, their local operators are showing up for work and heroically providing them with food, medicines, and essentials.
We may just realize that a local, bricks and mortar store is more than just another place to make a purchase. It is an essential part of our community. Those workers who show up for work every day, manage to greet us with a smile, politely stock their shelves and ring up our orders are friends and neighbors. Without them, we would be lost in a faceless commercial void, like Franz Kafka’s character “K” in “The Castle,” trying and ultimately failing to overcome a village’s bureaucracy and reach his destination.
“When anyone here calls the Castle, all the telephones in the lowest-level departments ring, or all would ring if the ringing mechanism on nearly all of them were not, and I know this for certain, disconnected.” Franz Kafka, “The Castle”, 1926
Bricks-and-mortar retailing is going to take its licks but, one thing this pandemic has taught us is the importance of community, communication, and the existence of real heroes among us. I hope that when bricks-and-mortar retail finally reopens, this newfound appreciation shows itself in the form of dollars spent.