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Consumer Culture – Now With Extended Hours!

December 12, 2011

‘Tis truly the season to shop.  As the holidays approach our stress over gift buying increases (mine does especially come Dec. 23rd when my entire list is still needing to be checked off.).  But fear not consumer, our retail outlets have you covered.

In case you haven’t noticed all of our ‘big bog’ retail areas are amping up their hours to meet the needs of the consumer.  The malls are now open late, the big box centres have extended hours, and in case you get the itch to shop at 2am, WalMart is now open 24 hours at most locations.

I at least partially ‘feel’ for these retailers.  They employee local people, and I am sure must beef up their staff for the holiday season.  And now they are forced to compete with the online retailers, where you can literally buy anything, at any time, and without even putting on your undies (is that a selling point? I wonder if the big boxes would do better if they offered naked shopping…).

Now imagine how this must feel for local retailers.  Most have small staffing budgets that don’t allow for more staff even during the busy holiday season. How can our local retailers compete with the big guys who can afford to keep their doors open longer, accommodating the schedule of the consumer and not the other way around.  I can only imagine how frustrating this must be.

This is our fault.  We the consumer have demanded that retailers fit our busy schedules.  It seems to me that we are working more, looking to make that extra buck so we can go out an buy the latest consumer goods (now I admit, I often lust over new electronics, I am in no way immune to this).

Honestly I long for the days when businesses were closed on Sundays.  Where we could have one day not to focus on purchasing items.  Where our visits with friends weren’t focused around a trip to the mall, but around cozy conversation at home on the couch.

But again this is up to us.  We need to curb our consumerism.  We must stop demanding that retail outlets be open at all hours of the day, and choose to shop less, and shop local.  So long as we buy at the mall, or the big box we are sending a message to our local business to compete, stay open longer, later and more often.

I want to challenge this.  And I challenge you to take one day a week away from our consumer culture.  Take Sundays off, visit with friends and family, go for a walk, or sleep all day!  If you must shop on a Sunday do so at your local business, your dollars will mean more when spent at a local retailer, and maybe we can start changing retail behavior.


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