May 22, 2020

"Retailers that have spent years trying to get customers to linger, in hopes they’ll buy more than they need, are reimagining their stores..."

"... for a grab-and-go future filled with deliberate purchases. Gone, they say, are the days of trying on makeup or playing with toys in the aisles. The focus now is on making shopping faster, easier and safer to accommodate long-term shifts in consumer expectations and habits.... Entryway displays once piled high with apparel have become 'welcome tables' with bottles of hand sanitizer, disposable masks and sticky blue mats that clean shoe soles. Clothes are even folded differently, to encourage hands-off browsing.... The retailer, which now limits the number of people in stores, is using a mobile app to notify customers when it’s their turn to shop. And it has spelled out its new protocols in a 65-page employee handbook, including how to fold jeans and T-shirts to allow shoppers to examine them in detail without touching them.... Employees are encouraged to smile from behind their masks and pay attention to nonverbal cues. 'With masks on, you may feel a bit awkward at first, but don’t let that hold you up!' the employee manual says. 'We don’t want this to feel like a sterile or clinical interaction. Even though you may be 6 feet apart — it’s your job to still create a connection!'"

From "How the pandemic is changing shopping/American Eagle, Sephora and Best Buy are among the retailers reimagining their stores to make shopping faster, easier and safer" (WaPo).

There's always the alternative of shopping on line, so it's hard to see why anyone would shop for clothing in person now (unless it's crucial to try things on). I'm not that interested in wandering around browsing in stores, but obviously, it's an important activity to some people. Are they going to enjoy this new system?

I'm afraid a lot of these stores are going to go out of business. I see that Pier 1 died, but I couldn't understand how it could still be around after all these years. What was all that junk they were selling? Did anyone need anything they had on offer? Was it supposed to be exciting — it was in the 1960s and 70s — that it had lots of miscellaneous things that had been imported? The company's official history says:
Peace, Love and Papasans

Pier 1 Imports started as a single store in San Mateo, California, in 1962. Our first customers were post-World War II baby boomers looking for beanbag chairs, love beads and incense....

Still Fun at 40

Pier 1 Imports celebrated its 40-year history of retailing in 2002. With the mantra “From Hippie to Hip,” we featured year-long special promotions and merchandise to honor the occasion.
It was supposed to be fun. Wander around in there and find who knows what? But that's not life in America anymore. We're only going to be going into stores with sanitized determination and efficiency. It never made sense to go into Pier 1. You never needed love beads and incense. You had to be mysteriously hypnotized into wanting them, and that's what stores were set up to do.

Not anymore.

If I owned a store, I'd be angry to see how long it took this piece of information to get straightened out and publicized: "Virus ‘does not spread easily’ from contaminated surfaces or animals, revised CDC website states" (WaPo). Here's the CDC webpage:
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads....
Good! So maybe people can touch things in stores? I've got to say, I am a toucher of merchandise. If I go into a clothing store and browse, I don't just look, I touch. The feeling of the fabric matters immensely to me, and it is something that you can't get on line.

61 comments:

Jim said...

My ex and I bought the breakfast table I’m sitting at right now from Pier 1 in the late 1980’s. I got it in the divorce and still love it. Four chairs too. We felt rich to be able to buy a new table and chair set.

tim maguire said...

How can you be a toucher of merchandise and not understand why people wouldn't want to buy clothes online?

David Begley said...

I’m sorry. This is nuts. People want to get back to the way things were. The way they were.

I’ve lobbied the administration at Creighton for an exhibition baseball series against the Huskers in Omaha. Baseball will help us get back to normal.

Darrell said...

I can now unleash my Pier 2 concept that's been on hold for decades. Woo hoo!

Darrell said...

Shop 'til you drop.

One way or another.

jeremyabrams said...

We need to infect each other with bacteria and viruses in order to maintain our immune systems. This path we're being persuaded to take is suicidal.

Curious George said...

"I'm afraid a lot of these stores are going to go out of business."

Not a month too soon.

Lucid-Ideas said...

So in other words, making their stores more like 'the way men shop'.

'Gone are the days when you could' spend hours in the store trying on makeup, clothes, or going through the discount rack looking for the 'perfect' thing (which btw she'd end up returning anyway).

'Gone are the days', and thank god for that.

Chris said...

It's a virus. A Corona virus. It maybe a novel Corona virus, but nothing new. What makes this different than any other RNA virus? They all live on surfaces for a time, they all float around in the air after someone sneezes, coughs or breaths heavy? Why should THIS virus behave differently from any other? Yet we were told this was different. It lives on surfaces for days, you need to disinfect your mail! You need to wear gloves! All BULLSHIT. You don't walk around with gloves on for any other flu season, like you don't disinfect your mail for any other flu season. Does the Wuhan virus kill? Yep, those who are already sick, especially old and sick. But 99.987% get it and live. What we have here is a confluence of events, between media with no virtue or rather false virtue, and a power hungry left. Since the earth cooled, there has been a war on between the micro and the macro. We are built for this. This is EVOLUTION in action. I'm surprised, that the left, who want to believe all things "Science!" especially evolution, somehow don't want to let evolution do it's thing. Should we protect the sick and the old? Yes that is our usual operating system. But now because of SCIENCE! we lock up the healthy and kill off the sick by putting the infected into nursing homes.

Temujin said...

There will be many many chains and independent operations, unique boutique operations that will not make it. The small ones, the small business operators live with such small margins to begin with anyway. They put it all on the line, risk everything, to open their vision. Work crazy hours, use up their savings, borrow money, miss family time, miss creating a family at all. And then one day the government sends out an edict that you and everyone around you must close down. Months later when it's reopened, it's with caveats. Only so many people. People are scared. They must wear masks. Not touch items, certainly not open items (goodbye Sephora). And they must move along. Businesses will close unless we're able to get past this.

As for Pier 1. I've talked about this with many friends and not a one of us can believe they survived all these years. Not any of us had been in one since, what...college? (70s). Maybe once or twice since then. I view Pier 1 the same as I view The Walking Dead. They got many many more seasons out of it than they expected. So everything they had after year 3 was gravy. With Pier 1, every year they had since 1990 was gravy. They did great. And now its time to say good night.

John Lynch said...

Grab and go sounds very male. That's why I'm not sure this will work since most shoppers are not.

I hate shopping because the whole experience is designed to take longer than it should. I was using grocery pick up and delivery before COVID solely because I hate wasting time. Spending an hour or more looking for things at the grocery store was maddening. Check out lines drove me crazy. Five bucks to avoid all that? Sign me up.

Quaestor said...

Touchy-feely. Touchy-feely.

Just don't touch the merchandise with your tongue, Althouse, even if it's guaranteed to go viral.

Temujin said...

On the other hand, Spencer's Gifts is still operating. They are clearly a speces of cockroach.

Temujin said...

That's species. Self editing is off today.

Curious George said...

"I'd be angry to see how long it took this piece of information to get straightened out and publicized"

You believed them then and you still believe them now.

Matt Sablan said...

As soon as there is no risk of being boycotted, protested and shamed for operating normally, much of this theater will end, and we'll shift to basic precautions of giving people personal space, washing your hands and not sneezing on people that most people do on a daily basis anyway. In places where there are high risk people, there may be extra precautions, like maybe we won't send people with a highly contagious killer virus to nursing homes, but for the average store, things will shift back to normal once the risk of being run down by the people who call in their neighbors for sitting on the deck without a mask is negligible.

rehajm said...

The feeling of the fabric matters immensely to me, and it is something that you can't get on line.

Yah. It seems a small detail of personal preference but it's one of the many human behaviors we've been prohibiting. Humans being humans we are starting to take these things back and when we see people aren't dropping dead because they want to fondle a sweater the dam will burst.

Not anymore won't last long.

JackWayne said...

While shopping during the lockdown, I touched lots of stuff at the grocery and Home Depot. No gloves because wearing them is irrational. Glad to see I was right about anything told to us by the Government. They are reliably dishonest at all times.

RNB said...

"Everything is going to be so different in the post-COVID-19 world!" How long did it take people to get back to their old habits after the 1918 Flu? Were there any permanent changes at all? (And that was far more deadly.)

Birches said...

There never really should have been a reason to believe that we were getting sick from touching things that infected people had touched. Everyone was so CYA they let the media amplify the most extreme because panic sells. And yet Grandma is still dead because no one bothered to keep the nursing homes free from sick residents. But where's the shrieking media now?

Churchy LaFemme: said...

Pier One has been failing since well before COVID.

James K said...

"Virus ‘does not spread easily’ from contaminated surfaces or animals, revised CDC website states" (WaPo)

It's hard to keep track of all the CDC flip-flops, but the website says it was last updated on April 13th. So is this really a recent change? If so, they're not being transparent about it. It sounds like what I've heard before, but that could have been several iterations ago.

At the same time, the WaPo is even less reliable than the CDC, so who knows?

gilbar said...

Gone, they say, are the days of trying on makeup or playing with toys in the aisles

Replaced by buying ALL things Online, through our Lord and Master; Jeff Bezos
You KNOW It's True! you read in in the WaPoo!!

{which, of course, is owned and operated by and for our Lord and Master; Jeff Bezos}

Ann Althouse said...

This post disappeared for a while!

I had it in 2 windows and pushed some buttons the wrong way....

It's restored to the original that you commented on.

Sorry for the confusion.

Francisco D said...

tim maguire said...How can you be a toucher of merchandise and not understand why people wouldn't want to buy clothes online?

My wife does not understand why I buy 95% of all clothing items on line.

1. I hate shopping in clothing and shoe stores.

2. I tend to buy newer versions of the same clothes and shoes by LL Bean, Keen, Levis, New Balance and Columbia.

3. I like reading reviews of "new" clothes on Amazon and LL Bean.

4. As I get older, I become more resistant to change.

Sebastian said...

"I'd be angry to see how long it took this piece of information to get straightened out and publicized: "Virus ‘does not spread easily’ from contaminated surfaces or animals, revised CDC website states""

Right. First, virus has to accumulate on surfaces. Then, it has to stick and remain spreadable. Then, you have to get quite a bit of it on your hands. Then, you have to stick your hands into your mouth or nose long enough to move the virus into your system. Then, your system has to be weak enough for you to notice the effects and fail to fight back.

Anyway, is the spreading by surface any different from any other panic meme, and any more reason to be angry than all the other memes used to kill the economy while Cuomo was busy killing seniors in nursing homes?

Sydney said...

It is good that the CDC clarified that business about the virus and surfaces, because surface disinfectants are hard to come by. Can't buy them at all from my usual vendors and they aren't available in the stores, either. Yet, as part of opening up here in Ohio, public places are told to have hand sanitizers (also hard to get!) and to disinfect surfaces frequently. The fear that I will run out of EPA approved disinfectant is one of the things that holds me back from bringing in a full schedule of in-person patient visits. I am sure other businesses are having the same issues.

Jim Gust said...

This reimagining nonsense provided a lot of highly paid work for someone during the lockdown. It will have proved pointless by the end of summer.

Jamie said...

My mother-in-law is a huge fan of Pier 1. She loves dishes, and she could pick up a set of 4 plates (usually from their clearance areas, which she would hit at least weekly) and placemats for a relative song. She used to boast that she could serve a month of dinners without having to use the same set of dishes twice.

So, for Mother's Day one year, she (I suppose in an effort to shepherd me onto her path) bought me a set of colorful, fun dishes. Four place settings. We have three children, all of whom were still at home at that point. And of course, because she is where my husband gets his frugal gene, she'd bought the last four extant sets, on clearance. They were pretty dishes - but when she realized that they were insufficient for our family...

I love her very much. When her time comes, I'm going to cry as much as my husband does. But some of my tears may be related to having to figure out how to dispose of all her stuff.

Charlie Currie said...

Pier 1 became Crate and Barrel lite, just like Banana Republic is the Gap heavy.

Birches said...

I thought I was going crazy! Thanks for the explanation Althouse.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Pier 1 was the place to go if you needed throw pillows. My last visit was in February, but didn’t buy anything. The last clothing store I was in was a small one in Townsend, MA in March. At the time, I thought it was OK to touch things so long as I washed my hands after leaving. Is hand sanitizer at the door sufficient? Probably.

What I am most apprehensive about at stores is the checkout counter. We wipe down all the items we get from the grocery store. I want a way to scan items without having to touch anything. At the gas station, we use alcohol wipes on the display pad and pump handle.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Wander around in there and find who knows what? But that's not life in America anymore. We're only going to be going into stores with sanitized determination and efficiency.

Speak for yourself. Lot of people love to wander and browse. Last weekend our favorite estate sale outfit opened back up and it was packed with people of all ages. Masks optional and worn by most. Last night I went to Target and H-E-B and both places were also stuffed to the gills, and both places have robust BOPUIS options so there's no reason to go inside. (I'd say only about 10% of the customers at Target and 50% at H-E-B had masks; side note). Restaurant parking lots are full. Plenty of people at the mall when I went by there earlier this week. Sure there are sanitation stations and everyone has the requisite note saying that masks are recommended, but I'm seeing an awful lot of aimless strolling and browsing and not much 'sanitized determination and efficiency.' I also live in a place full of fat, happy, laid back Hispanic people and basically devoid of skinny neurotic white women, so that probably plays a part too.

(Not referring to you personally, Althouse, but having lived in liberal cities up north, I'm referring to a particular kind of person and you living in a liberal city up north, know exactly what I'm talking about.)

But the browsing has to be fun. I don't want to wander and browse for lightbulbs and command hooks. That's what online shopping is for. But fun stuff to look at: vintage home furnishings, books, stuff for the garden, the clearance rack at Target--count me in!

hawkeyedjb said...

Most retail stores have long been "grab-and-go" experience for me, because of the loud, screechy, unpleasant and completely unnecessary music they play over the cheap, tinny speakers in the ceiling.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

surface disinfectants are hard to come by

Safety theater: last night at the grocery store employees were spraying down the rows of grocery carts with giant pump sprayers. The grocery carts that all day take trips out to the parking lot where they sit in the late-May Texas sun until they are rounded up and returned to the store. The heat index yesterday was 110. I'm sorry the material Ohio says you must have to run your business is not available because it's being bogarted and wasted by a huge grocery chain in Texas.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

And by the way, I guess we're done being told to stop using hand sanitizer and antimicrobial products because we're breeding super bacteria.

I'm moving firmly into 'do what you want because the experts don't know anything about anything' territory.

Fritz said...

My #2 son owns a guitar and music lessons shop near Pittsburgh that just reopened. The shop, of course, had to close, but his rent didn't stop.

One of his questions was how to sanitize a guitar after someone has touched it. It turns out there's no single way that's appropriate; it depends on the chemical makeup of the finish. News that surfaces is not that main route of infection is certainly welcome news.

I do worry about how long it will take the lesson part of the business to revive. That was the steadiest part of the income.

Fortunately, his wife has a pretty good gig with a data company, and can work from home most of the time.

Howard said...

It's tough to buy clothing online. There is so much weight deflation self-esteem boosting in the sizing going on in men's clothing. It's all over the map.

I don't see what the big deal is we're all going to grocery stores. No one seems to have a problem with that except for the elderly who look absolutely terrified.

it's easy to stay safe in any indoor establishment where the venue isn't designed for the purpose of shoveling s*** into your pie hole

Howard said...

Left Bank of the Charles. If you are worried about surface contact and transfer just wear nitrile gloves. They can be reused wash them like you wash your hands just be sure that if you are concerned about that only touch things with your gloved hands, don't pin items against your arms or torso in order to bolster the weight.

This is probably Overkill but properly executed use of PPE can be a stress reducer.

Howard said...

Soap is the best surface disinfectant that's available everywhere unlimited supply works way better than alcohol.

I'm Not Sure said...

"The retailer, which now limits the number of people in stores, is using a mobile app to notify customers when it’s their turn to shop."

They won't be notifying me. My time has value. If there's a line, I'll go somewhere else where the retailer recognizes that.

Yancey Ward said...

No one needs an Audi either.

Michael said...

This is just part of the on-going attempt to abolish "fun." It was said (unfairly) that the Puritans were driven by an obsessive fear that someone somewhere was having a good time. But modern Progressives, feminists, etc., really mean it. Unless you are doing precisely what they do and approve (of), you are a Bad Person and must be stifled. For them, the Virus is a golden opportunity.

wholelottasplainin' said...

I'm just waiting to see if Facebook and Twitter will allow this new "science" to be published, because they have banned and censored people for disagreeing with the old "true" and "scientific" consensus du jour.

Whaddabunchafuckwits.

wholelottasplainin' said...

I keep wondering, in view of the Kelo decision, whether forcing private businesses to shut down for purported public health reasons, is a "taking" under the 14th Amendment.

Any legal beagles want to weigh in?

KellyM said...

There was a Pier 1 store in downtown Boston in the 80s and occasionally I'd go. They had lots of gauzy, Indian print dresses, tinkly bells on strings, and the place reeked of patchouli. I wanted a papasan chair for my first apartment but decided a futon was more practical.

I haven't been in one since about Christmas and was underwhelmed. The displays looked tired and the offerings were not that great. I'd rather take my chances at TJ Maxx/Homegoods or Marshalls.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Gone my Aunt Fanny. People will revert to their prior habits the second their fears abate. The media seem to have zero understanding of human nature.

Pianoman said...

Maybe I'm naive, but I'm still confident that all of this social change is going to go the way of the dodo once there's enough HCQ to go around.

Oh, and a vaccine of course, since that's what all the Karens demand.

Andrew said...

Pier One and Spencer's were originally "Head Shops". Now days smoke shops are "Head Shops"

I don't have a problem buying clothing on the internet. I know what brands fit me. I also wear the same brand of shoes I've worn since age 12, I'm Althouse's age, maybe a few months older. The only real problem is buying suits or sport coats, feeling the hand of the fabric and fitting.

The trick for a man is to not chase fashion like a greyhound chasing an un-catchable fack rabbit around a track.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

All this stuff about how everything is going to change because of the Chinese Kung Flu is nonsense. Sure, online shopping is going to change retail, but that was already happening. And retailers have been going out of business and being replaced by newer players more attuned to the current business environment ever since the concept of retailing came to be.


For example, Sears could have easily made the move to selling online long before Amazon. They already had a catalogue and plenty of money to finance the infrastructure. But they didn't because they thought it would cannibalize their current business model. Same with Blockbuster vs Netflix. Kodak had the first patent for the digital camera back in the 60s. They didn't get into the digital camera business until it was to late because they had 80% of the film market. By the way, Fuji had much better film. I learned that while stationed in Japan.

Caligula said...

The ability to feel clothing fabrics (and perhaps get a better sense of colors than one can get from a screen) remains one of the few advantages physical clothing stores retain over online. Perhaps it's unhygenic to allow customers to touch the clothing, yet by now it seems apparent that whatever lab results have shown, actual COVID transmission via contaminated surfaces just doesn't seem to be much of a problem.

So, if it were my store I'd let customers touch and feel as much as they please (or dare). It is, after all, the customer who is choosing to take that risk.

I suppose lingering might be more of a problem for supermarkets, as these have long known that customer purchases are mostly proportional to time spent in store. Yet perhaps that's not true anymore, as customers are now arriving with lengthy lists and filling their carts full very quickly. Nonetheless, "no lingering" seems likely to translate into fewer sales of high-profit impulse items.

I strongly suspect that whatever risk of infection exists in a store is likely to be proportional to the length of time spent in the store. If so, one would think a relatively small grocery store (e.g., an Aldi) would have a huge advantage over vast megastores such as a Woodmans.

gbarto said...

I love browsing in bookstores, first to see if there's anything odd, and second for the smell of the books. I pretty much always buy something, not because I need or even necessarily want it, but because if bookstore people don't there will cease to be bookstores for us to browse in.

Honestly, though, I like to browse most any shop, just to pass the time. With the pandemic, the places you can browse are sorely reduced. I have browsed at least 3 or 4 Walgreens since we went to shelter in place and have the browsed the one closest to my home sufficiently that I could probably find things in the Home and Tools, As Seen on TV and Office Supply aisles with my eyes closed, just using visual memory.

Looking at this post, I see I'm using an awful lot of commas. Maybe just another way to linger and pass the time.

James K said...

We're only going to be going into stores with sanitized determination and efficiency.

The "grab and go" style of shopping is typical of men, whereas women are more inclined to browse. In any case, this "sanitized efficiency" sounds vaguely Soviet-style to me, especially now with all the Soviet-style empty shelves for certain items. I presume this is viewed by those on the left as a feature, not a bug. Who was it that said, "Why do we need 20 brands of toothpaste?" or something to that effect? Sanders? Anyway, it's un-American, and I'm convinced before long we'll go back to the way things were, especially when people realize that all of this safety theater was a terrible waste.

Churchy LaFemme: said...

Gone my Aunt Fanny. People will revert to their prior habits the second their fears abate. The media seem to have zero understanding of human nature.

Spade had not been told very definitely what to do when he found Flitcraft. They talked in Spade's room at the Davenport. Flitcraft had no feeling of guilt. He had left his first family well provided for, and what he had done seemed to him perfectly reasonable. The only thing that bothered him was a doubt that he could make that reasonableness clear to Spade. He had never told anybody his story before, and thus had not had to attempt to make its reasonableness explicit. He tried now.

"I got it all right," Spade told Brigid O'Shaughnessy, "but Mrs. Flitcraft never did. She thought it was silly. Maybe it was. Anyway, it came out all right. She didn't want any scandal, and, after the trick he had played on her--the way she looked at it--she didn't want him. So they were divorced on the quiet and everything was swell all around.

"Here's what had happened to him. Going to lunch he passed an office-building that was being put up--just the skeleton. A beam or something fell eight or ten stories down and smacked the sidewalk alongside him. It brushed pretty close to him, but didn't touch him, though a piece of the sidewalk was chipped off and flew up and hit his cheek. It only took a piece of skin off, but he still had the scar when I saw him. He rubbed it with his finger--well, affectionately--when he told me about it. He was scared stiff of course, he said, but he was more shocked than really frightened. He felt like somebody had taken the lid off life and let him look at the works."

Flitcraft had been a good citizen and a good husband and father, not by any outer compulsion, but simply because he was a man who was most comfortable in step with his surroundings. He had been raised that way. The people he knew were like that. The life he knew was a clean orderly sane responsible affair. Now a falling beam had shown him that life was fundamentally none of these things. He, the good citizen-husband-father, could be wiped out between office and restaurant by the accident of a falling beam. He knew then that men died at haphazard like that, and lived only while blind chance spared them.

It was not, primarily, the injustice of it that disturbed him: he accepted that after the first shock. What disturbed him was the discovery that in sensibly ordering his affairs he had got out of step, and not into step, with life. He said he knew before he had gone twenty feet from the fallen beam that he would never know peace again until he had adjusted himself to this new glimpse of life. By the time he had eaten his luncheon he had found his means of adjustment. Life could be ended for him at random by a falling beam: he would change his life at random by simply going away. He loved his family, he said, as much as he supposed was usual, but he knew he was leaving them adequately provided for, and his love for them was not of the sort that would make absence painful.

"He went to Seattle that afternoon," Spade said, "and from there by boat to San Francisco. For a couple of years he wandered around and then drifted back to the Northwest, and settled in Spokane and got married. His second wife didn't look like the first, but they were more alike than they were different. You know, the kind of women that play fair games of golf and bridge and like new saladrecipes. He wasn't sorry for what he had done. It seemed reasonable enough to him. I don't think he even knew he had settled back naturally into the same groove he had jumped out of in Tacoma. But that's the part of it I always liked. He adjusted himself to beams falling, and then no more of them fell, and he adjusted himself to them not falling."
--Dashiell Hammett

Eventually the beams stop falling..

Lurker21 said...

The great advantage of going shopping in person was being able to do things that you couldn't do ordering from a catalog or a website - things like trying on clothing or cosmetics to see if they fit or suit you. If convenience is the all-in-all, how can stores compete with Amazon?

The future starts to resemble all those sterile, empty cities seen in science fiction, but without consumers to pay the wages, rent and taxes, cities don't stay clean and well-maintained for very long. Asia probably won't let its megacities go down the drain and Europe will probably hold on to its historic urban centers. I hope we don't think that we can let the cities go to hell and live a purely suburban existence.

RigelDog said...

Pier One was not your father's Hippy one-stop anymore. We completely furnished a brand-new house 7 years ago and discovered that Pier One had some interesting furniture and decor choices that were similar to what you find in Marshalls/HomeGoods, but overall better quality. For instance, we found a large round shabby-chic kitchen table that was unlike any others we saw, and also a huge mirror with a mosaic glass-tile frame in soft ocean blues and aquas. I'm really sorry they are gone, I made it a point to check in once or twice a year just to see what there was and it was always decent quality at a decent price.

Sydney said...

Howard said: "Soap is the best surface disinfectant that's available everywhere unlimited supply works way better than alcohol."

True, but not on the EPA approved list to be used in healthcare. Sadz

Bruce Hayden said...

“I don't have a problem buying clothing on the internet. I know what brands fit me. I also wear the same brand of shoes I've worn since age 12, I'm Althouse's age, maybe a few months older. The only real problem is buying suits or sport coats, feeling the hand of the fabric and fitting.”

Three months older than Ann (and Rush Limbaugh) here. Brands have changed a bit for me, but not style. Indeed, that is sometimes the easiest way for me to determine how old something is. For much of the year I wear button down shirts with Levi’s. Added polo shirts about 25 years ago for the summer. That is what I wore in HS, and my 50th reunion came and went. I did run into a short sleeved buttoned down the other day in my closet. Knew it was one my mother had bought me in HS, since I never buy short sleeves (when I was in college, my father always wanted to check my arms for needle tracks). That one wouldn’t fit. I am 20-30 lbs heavier now. I also found a yellow LL Bean button down shirt about the same time (we were moving). That put it from the mid to late 1980s. Haven’t worn yellow for almost that long. My partner thinks it doesn’t go with my skin. Gave away most of my shirts over a maybe 30 years old during the big move last month. Any shirts from LL Bean or earlier. Weird running into old labels like Denver Dry Goods, May D&F, etc in my older clothes. Those stores have been defunct for 30-40 years now.

“The trick for a man is to not chase fashion like a greyhound chasing an un-catchable fack rabbit around a track.”

One nice thing is that it is cheap. I buy shirts any more mostly on the discount tables at Sam’s Club, or sometimes Costco (but they are on my shit list for their virtue signaling in requiring masks). Maybe 5 years ago, I picked up a bunch of blue button down cotton shirts for prices as low as $2.45. I have a couple of boxes of unopened buttoned down shirts, and one of unworn polo shirts. I exclusively buy my jeans from those two stores too. Levi’s since maybe 1965 (my junior high didn’t allow jeans), but I keep looking into converting to something else, since the company went PC crazy a little bit back.

But it is not just I who is this way. My brothers and most of my male friends are the same - our day to day attire is not that different from what we wore in high school. Whenever I think for a minute that women have it easy in our increasingly feminized society, I just remind myself that I don’t have to deal with fashion. Never have had to. Or the complexity of soap operas. Even my suits haven’t changed - the last suit that I got that I couldn’t wear for business anymore was from the early 1970s. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the color (brown pattern) and vest dates it almost exactly. The next suit was a gray pinstripe, followed by a navy pinstripe, bought later that decade. Both with vests, that I quit wearing soon after buying them.

Gospace said...

As I read Left Bank of the Charles describing all he does and is apprehensive ab, I was torn between two thoughts. One, he’s mentally ill like the TV character Monk. Or, he’s a complete idiot.

What have I done different? Absolutely not a thing. I haven’t kowtowed to Dictator Cuomo and donned masks as soon as I leave the house. Anything and everything I’ve changed is because others have submitted to his will. It’s tough to eat out once a week when there’s no place to go. Haven’t been able to take the Scout troop camping because Dictator Cuomo decided fresh air and sunshine in the great outdoors is hazardous to their health. While I’m willing to ignore his edicts, I can’t ask others to do so.

At one month shy of 65, according to the media, I should be sheltered in my house, avoiding all contact with others, fearful for my health. I’m not. This slow reopening of business is complete and utter bullcrap. It’s obvious to any casual observer shutting down our economy was completely unnecessary. And the more you look at the numbers, the more you look at the people who’ve actually died from this fearsome disease, the more you realize how stupid the shutdown of basically the entire world was.

There is one unknown. What actually happened in China? As far as numbers go, I suspect it was far, far worse than the Chinese government will ever admit. They’re Communists, so nothing new there. I am fairly certain intelligence agencies around the world saw something really bad going on there, and that’s the actual cause of panic. It’s not unprecedented for one or even a few countries to take some extra precautions. The entire world? Deciding at once to do so? Democracies, autocracies, socialists and capitalists, all doing the same thing at once?

Whatever caused the big brouhaha in China is, IMHO, not the same as what escaped from China. Maybe similar, but not the same. While historically Chinese governments have never cared much about peasants and working class no matter who was in charge, the reported welding people into their apartment complexes seems a little extreme. Why did they go that far?

Bruce Hayden said...

My partner didn’t like Pier 1 that much. She thought that it’s stuff was too cheap. She did like Bombay a lot better for eclectic furnishings. They had some weird home office policy where they ended up turning over much of their inventory every quarter, resulting in great sales. We don’t have room for any more stuff, of course. Occasionally I wonder how she was able to pack as much novel stuff into her house, without it looking really cluttered. Then I remember that this is a combination of two or three previous houses. She sold her house maybe 21 years ago to her daughter, but bought back the expensive stuff when the daughter hit hard times. Meanwhile she had furnished a new house, and had to sell that to me maybe 19 years ago. Much of that all stuff went into storage for better than a decade. Meanwhile she had furnished another house, partially with an estate bedroom set she won as the top salesperson nationally for blinds and carpeting for JC Penny’s. Etc.

In any case, biggest furniture sore around AZ (and CO) is American Furniture Warehouse. We bought the replacement for the lost set of estate furniture there. But even they didn’t have nearly the inventory we needed of small stuff we needed. Ended up buying stuff from a well known online company (Wayfair). One piece fit perfectly in a corner of the bathroom. We store TP and cleaning stuff in it. But it was cheaply made. Took me 10-15 minutes to assemble it, and I was able to hide my screwup. For us, at least, the thing that you can’t really determine with buying furniture online is it’s quality. You need to be able to touch it, feel it, check to see how it is put together. What type of materials they used. I have an oak kitchen table from my grandmother, whom I think got it from her mother-in-law (my great grandmother). We needed chairs for it. Looked around west PHX, and found an Amish wood furniture store in Sun City. Took us 4-5 months to get them built to suit. But they are solid as a rock, and match the oak of the table almost perfectly, despite the table being over a century older. Going to get a swivel oak secretary’s chair for my oak roll top desk this fall. That store didn’t have anything in it that wasn’t going to last. But you really couldn’t tell until you went in and kicked the tires. We had tried several other oak stores, and there was a big difference in quality - much bigger than price.

walter said...

Matt Sablan said...As soon as there is no risk of being boycotted, protested and shamed for operating normally, much of this theater will end,
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The legal/liability uncertainties are keeping a lot of it alive.