All well put.
When Amazon let its bid for Whole Foods the other day, there was a siege of articles about how great it was going to be to be able to order your groceries online and and then just drive over and pick them up.
Of course, this is what you now do for books, for music, and a host of other things. Except you don’t even have to drive over anywhere, for most of it. It downloads to your device or gets shipped to your door. And we now have a generation of people who have grown up with this “convenience”.
It used to be considered a remarkably pleasurable thing to go to a record store and flip through foot-square record albums, remarking on the album art, putting on a pair of heavy headphones, pushing a button, and listening to a few tracks before you decided which to buy. It was pleasurable, of course, because it was a social activity; there were other people there, you may strike up a conversation with one. And many of high schooler’s first date, or even a person’s cheap evening out, was to pick up their date and spend a few hours in a record store.
Same for books. Go to the bookstore (there used to be locally owned ones, it wasn’t all just Barnes and Nobel hanging on for dear life), see what was on sale, grab a book, flip through it in a comfortable chair, deciding what to buy. With other people. WITH OTHER PEOPLE.
Amazon is turning us into a society of hermits. Is that what we really want to be?
We need to recreate social shopping environments, with entrepreneurs figuring out how to use technology to make social shopping inexpensive and enjoyable again. Perhaps it won’t be hard, because there’s about to be a huge glut of retail space driving down rental prices.