I interviewed a futurist today. (Such a job title. I ask you. “Hi, Bob, what’s your game?” “I’m a futurist, Ken.”) Although he was a very nice man, and our conversation was interesting. As part of my prep, I listened to a radio interview he did, and they went off on a tangent about the pandemic’s effect on retail.
This is nothing new, the observation that retail is at a crossroads. Even before Covid, malls were on shaky ground, and those stores that thrived in them likewise, well before. Most of us are old enough to remember the mall era, its glory days. I remember being in one with my sister and little preschool Kate, and I said, “Wasn’t there a Bath & Body Works on the third level?”
My sister replied, “There are two. Bath & Body Works thrives on impulse shoppers, so they put two in one mall, to maximize the chances people will pop in and buy something.”
Me: Mind blown.
Anyway, the pandemic is adding a turbo boost to the death of malls, the death of the big box store, the changing of everything. Back to the interview:
“So our challenge is, what do we do with the infrastructure?”
Ah, there’s the rub.
If it were up to me, we’d nuke them and turn it back to farmland, but that’s, shall we say, not feasible. Probably the best solution for urban areas is medium- or high-density housing, but for rural? Eh, hard to say. A lot become things like laser-tag venues or indoor go-karts, or whatever — a definite comedown.
So what do we do with the empty big boxes? Question for the room while I phone in yet another week. Sorry to miss Wednesday, but it just happened.
So accept a little bloggage:
A nice kinda-sorta appreciation of G. Gordon Liddy, hell’s newest resident.
Let’s also have a big laugh over Matt Gaetz, too. Because no one deserves it more.
Good weekend, all.