Sunday, March 29, 2015

RIP Target, Future Shop - and good riddance

Hey, first off, apologies to anyone dependent for their income on Target or Future Shop, eh? I'm not talking, below, about the employees of these stores. Basically anyone who has to wear a uniform as part of their job is given a free ride in what follows, gets my sympathy and well-wishings and so forth. I have nothing against the workers at these locations, feel kind of sorry for them - on the one level, because they ended up working at these kinda crappy jobs in the first place, and on the next, because they're going to be unemployed soon. I hope we will still be living in a world, ten years from now, where such jobs exist for people to do; the death of a certain kind of retail paradigm, in evidence here, kind of chills me, like we're looking at massive unemployment sometime in the near future, and I don't mean to seem uncocerned about that. I'm as terrified as anyone of what's coming, even if, for now, I still have a job. Pardon me if any of what I say below reads as being insensitive...

...but the fact is, I take a fair bit of gratification out of the deaths of Target and Future Shop. Whatever dark trends they point to for our future economically, the failure of these businesses is kind of funny, kind of satisfying, kind of fair and just. 

On one level, it's because I actually am one of the more avid shoppers in my circle, always with one eye out for Blu-Rays, DVDs, CDs, records, books, and other media that strike my fancy, and - from the outset in the case of Target and for the last five or ten years in the case of Future Shop, notwithstanding the latter's too-little-too-late attempt to stock Criterions - these businesses have completely failed to raise my interest as a consumer. I'm more likely to find interesting movies at a fuckin' Value Village, at a Surrey pawn shop, or in the delete bin at any department store that still has delete bins, than in either of these vastly crappy, boringly-supplied, corporate-bullshit-only stores, which both (by-and-large) stocked only the safest, most obvious, most mass-produced titles out there - stuff that movie and music lovers either don't buy, or already have. What good were either of you to me?

(Also, speakin' as a fat guy - good luck finding your size in Target!)

Sure, Future Shop had okay deals on equipment sometimes, but how often can you afford to buy a new stereo or TV? How often do you really need one, and when you do, wouldn't you prefer to go to London Drugs, anyhow? (I say that as a disinterested consumer - but they're a store that continues to impress me with their alert and savvy choices, by bringing back vinyl, having some cool things on their DVD and Blu-Ray racks, having interesting delete and sale bins, having knowledgeable, polite staff, having reasonable prices and excellent warranty options... They're just terrific by comparison to Future Shop, and will always get my return business and support).

And I mean, fuck me, Target, could you have tried harder to sabotage your own business? Step one: unceremoniously and unnecessarily get rid of all the Zellers employees, creating a feeling of ill-will and mistrust in the communities where these employees live, which, ha ha, happen to be the same communities you hope to win over as your customers. Step two: after years of being associated with "good deals across the border," make sure that your prices are higher both than the stores you've replaced AND the stores in the US that have that positive image. Along the way, impose massive renovations before opening on all buildings, doing ridiculous, unnecessary, and VERY EXPENSIVE things like making sure the escalators that ran East-West in Zellers are replaced with brand new escalators that run North-South, because, hey, that's going to really impress people, right? That's what brings you customers: shiny new escalators. And be sure to keep the buildings closed for months, too, so that all the people who used to shop at Zellers have time to find new places to shop, so that when you finally do open after months of renos, people have other shopping routines firmly in place, and look at your inflated prices and steakless sizzle and shake their heads and proceed to ignore you.

I mean: ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Fuck you, Target CEO's. You must be some of the most incompetent and/or corrupt people in the world of business. You really should run for political office, because it usually takes a government to fuck up as bad as you've done. It's too bad you no doubt made lots and lots of money regardless of the closures; I'm sure your asses are covered. But they would be stripped and whipped, if there were justice in the world. Be ashamed. Be very ashamed.

In truth, my only regret as a consumer about Target's closure is that they didn't have very much interesting stuff to begin with, so that now that they're in liquidation, there's barely anything there that I want to buy. The Maple Ridge store closes tomorrow or such, and with all remaining inventory at 80% off, I was still hard pressed to find two DVDs this afternoon: I snagged Tom at the Farm and the first season of Ray Donovan. With taxes, they'd have been $70 or more - or at least $60 at London Drugs or some other more reasonably-priced location. After the 80% discount, I got'em for $15. Thanks for that - but not to seem ungrateful, even in liquidation, your stock doesn't impress me much.

I guess all these liquidation sales we're seeing won't seem so funny when we're all homeless and reduced to begging or stealing to survive, but right now, they're actually kind of amusing. Hope you're all getting good deals, folks! See you at Future Shop, it's bound to be a bit better than the Target closure... or maybe we can meet at Chapters Robson? Or the next big box to go under... who knows what it will be...?

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