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Delight or Nightmare?

The new "Target" store recently opened in Victoria, simultaneously along with eight others scattered across British Columbia. Much excitement and anticipation preceded the "Grand Openings" as Target replaced a number of popular "Zeller" stores.  Many Canadian department stores such as "Eaton's," "Woodward's" and even some of the "Hudson Bay" stores have disappeared in a cloud of poor economy, takeovers and/or merges.  After all, it's common knowledge that foreign takeovers and invasions are now done with money and not with guns.

It seems that's what people want--another place to shop and browse with lots of choices. If not in Victoria, then it's a nice drive across the U.S. border to spend time shopping and browsing in their stores.  And if Canadians are willing to do that, then why not bring their favourite department stores and trendy boutiques to them.

Target is the first wave of American department stores to land on Canadian soil.  There has already been a flurry of smaller franchises such as "Pottery Barn" and "Abercrombie and Fitch," that helped test the market and found it fertile. Others, like England's "Marks and Spencer" and Sweden's "Ikea" came to Victoria, stayed for a while and left.  Next comes the big guns--already being built--"Nordstrom" and "Marshalls."

I like to shop, although the word shop denotes an exchange of money for a piece of merchandise.  My idea of shopping is mainly my version of ABC's--Admiring, Browsing and Comparing. New stores really know how to grab your attention and try for your wallet. It's not only the colourful displays and the skillful marketing strategy, but there seems to be an army of helpful people, willing to assist you in finding an elusive item or personally guiding you to that specific location.  I can never find that type of service in my regular stores.  I usually resort to nabbing someone to ask my question and typically getting the "Sorry, not my department" answer.  I often wonder if Management ever work the floors to see how their employees and concept of "Customer Service" differ.  Reality can be a tough lesson.

I like to meander and check out new stores.  My strategy is to wait a few weeks after the grand openings and the flurry of curiosity seekers have died down. By then, a shopper like myself, gets a true idea of what the store is really like--under  normal circumstances.  And you know what?  It truly is an education in human behaviour.

Despite the hype and fanfare of "Grand Openings," I still favour small clothing boutiques, individual family-owned businesses and the rapidly disappearing "Mom and Pop" convenience stores.  There is something appealing and likeable about these small businesses that have yet to be merged or taken over by larger giants.  It's the same with the neighbourhood restaurants and/or coffee houses.  Their charm, friendly consistent service and always reliable menu would bring me back any time.  The family businesses are rapidly disappearing because the next generation or the generation after, just aren't interested in carrying on.  It's really sad, but inevitable for this to happen.  After all, Life goes on and the Goliaths will win over David most times--at least, if one waits long enough in any big buck businesses, it usually holds true.





6 Comment count
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I'm a small shop person ~

'David's' shops are often more expensive but they offer more unique products and better quality.  Retail shopping in malls, shopping centers and big chain stores becomes a bland venture through the same sort of "me, too!" offerings seen in grocery store.  Everyone carries variants of the same prices in a spectrum of prices dependent upon the sales season and how the chain's quarterly revenue figures are doing. 

In the west coast world, outlet shopping centers are the latest Goliath but as they're more specialized, they seem more benign. 

A study conducted a few years ago showed that of the large box stores, WalMart had the reputation for having the best prices but actually did not.  I don't know if the practice is still true but WalMart used to advertise low priced items on end caps to draw customers in.  But the end cap items were the lowest quality and customers usually went up a grade or two in their actual purchases, and that's where WalMart's prices were higher compared to other stores. 

It probably is hard to tell but my wife and I are very experienced comparison shoppers so the WalMart revelations didn't surprise us at all.

Great post, as usual.  Cheers, M

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The old adage "You pay for

The old adage "You pay for what you get" definitely holds true in today's throw-away world.  I agree with you that the snall independent stores may cost a bit more but you get better quality products. And it really is an education in comparison shopping.  As always, thank you for your  comments, Michael!    Cheers, J

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I, too, prefer independent

I, too, prefer independent shops.  There are too few left in London, because of the rise in rents.  Norwich, thankfully, still has many independent shops – bookshops, restaurants, cafés, clothes shops, etc.

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It's like finding treasure

It's like finding treasure when there is an independent store but a city full is like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow!  Now, you have a reason to travel back to Norwich when you are in one of your rare shopping moods, Katherine. . .Cheers, J

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ABC's of Shopping

I like your shopping method, which is a lot like mine. I, too, favor small stores, boutiques, mom & pop. I'm rooting for the indies!

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Me too!  Sadly, those giants

Me too!  Sadly, those giants are moving in but it's fun to find the indies and enjoy them while we can. . .Nice to hear from you Eva.   Cheers, J