Friday, January 16, 2015

Another Mom and Pop Store Out of Business

[Note: This is sort of a rerun. I previously posted about this store, but this post is, obviously, the final one.]

The other day, I decided I needed a few more small plastic containers to house my endless supply of beads. So I took a walk to a nearby discount store. The store was closed. Permanently.

I’m not sure when that happened as I hadn’t been there for a couple of months. Maybe the owners decided not to renew their lease on general principles. Then again, maybe the national discount chain that is currently remodeling a nearby store had something to do with the decision to close the Mom and Pop store.

Although I previously had bought beaucoup small plastic containers and a few other things there, I wasn’t impressed with the place. It was a dark, dusty, disorganized store filled with mostly low quality merchandise. Like the store that will supplant it soon, it wasn’t actually a dollar store. Most of the items sold for more than one dollar. The most expensive item I noticed, a personal cart, was priced around seven dollars.

As I mentioned before, I will always wonder if the store owners thought their customers didn’t deserve a clean, well-organized store.

And as I mentioned before, the store was owned by members of one ethnic group, but the majority of customers were mostly low-income members of another group. During the past two years, I  went there maybe once a month. I usually noticed one or two customers and/or their children trashing the displays, but most customers were respectful of the inventory and the owners. 

Just my opinion, but I think the owners should have made more of an effort to keep the place picked up out of respect for the people who kept them in business for years.

Sorry if I’m perceived by some readers as being insensitive or politically incorrect, but, honestly, I’m not really sad to see that one go.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Next Time, I'll Remember When the Store Opens


One Friday morning not too long ago, I think I inadvertently surprised and, most likely, upset a shop employee. Honestly, I didn’t mean to do it.

I needed one or two inexpensive plastic containers for my beads. I wasn’t sure if the store had opened yet, but I decided to walk down there and find out. What I found were two ladies standing on the sidewalk in front of the store. “Is the store open?” I asked. They frowned, and one of them mumbled something. Uh, oh, they didn’t speak English. Or maybe they just weren’t speaking it to me.

I peeked through the door. The interior looked dark, so I figured the store wasn’t open yet. However, the lighting there is dismal, anyway, so I tugged at the door. Not locked. I pulled it open and saw a shop employee (SE) stacking up toys near the register. She frowned and told me the store didn’t open until 10 a.m. I was ten minutes early. I thought, Hey, if you’re not open, keep the door locked. I started to close the door, but she told me come in.

I walked in, followed by the women who probably just assumed they were included in the invitation. I don’t think SE noticed them standing behind me. She didn’t look happy to see them. I suspect that SE is probably well acquainted with them.

Supposedly, the store is one of those dollar-type places; however, items generally sell for between one and five dollars. Although I’ve found a few good things there (like inexpensive plastic containers), most of the merchandise isn’t the best quality. The displays are drab, dingy, and disorganized. And the place could use a good scrubbing.

The immediate neighborhood is composed of members of one ethnic group who, I would guess, are mostly low income folks. The store owners are members of another ethnic group. I would bet that the owners are not neighborhood residents.

The majority of the store’s customers are neighborhood residents. Every time I shop there, I notice one or two customers and/or their offspring tossing merchandise around or dropping it where it doesn’t belong. Their behavior always reminds me of the several times I worked at retail jobs and seemed to be constantly picking up discarded merchandise and putting it back where it belonged. That was a never-ending job.

I suspect that maybe, just maybe, the owners of the neighborhood store intentionally keep the store drab, dingy, and disorganized. Maybe they think the neighborhood residents wouldn't “appreciate” a clean store. No matter how many times the store was cleaned up,  shoppers would just trash it again, and again, and again.