Tag: retail

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Waiting to Buy an iPhone

On this exact date six years ago (also a Friday), Apple started selling Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 7, and 7 Plus. Available as of today: timepiece Series 8 and Ultra; iPhone 14 and 14 Plus; iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. Starting price for new iPhones in 2016: $649. In 2022: $799 (14) or $999 (14 Pro). A maxed-out Max model, with 1TB storage, sets back buyers $1,599. Does anyone remember when a cheap laptop cost as much?

I used iPhone 6s Plus to capture the Featured Image on Sept. 16, 2016. People wait outside Apple Store Fashion Valley, San Diego, to buy the then newest gadgets. Vitals: f/2.2, ISO 25, 1/60 sec, 29mm; 7:51 a.m. PDT.

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The Public Market

Before California’s governor shut down businesses, organizations, schools, and other establishments under the guise of combating SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19, my wife and I frequently visited Liberty Station in San Diego’s Point Loma neighborhood. The former Naval Training Center offers great space to walk around; I relished the green outdoor area with dirt paths, flanked by buildings of intriguing architectural style.

Nearly 30 months after the first of several “stay-at-home” orders and about a half-year since the last meaningfully oppressive mandates, we have yet to resume some pre-pandemic habits—like Liberty Station, which visit was so long ago that I can’t recall when.

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Billy, Don’t Be a Zero

Someone else would call it a nightmare. Yesterday morning, I awoke from an odd retail sales dream. Apple had released a new earphone model that resembled an oversized paperclip crossed with a pear-shaped Carabiner. Of course, the Bluetooth music devices, in various sizes, were white, and a long line of people waited to buy them inside a smallish Apple Store that reminded of a cramped cellular mobile shop.

I grabbed a box, only to find it empty. While I waited with other people for a cashier, an employee approached. He reached for the carton, while saying the size I had chosen might be out of stock. I stared into the face of Bill Gates. Selling gear in Apple Store!

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Gone But Not Forgotten

Two years ago last month, during business-crushing SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns, Microsoft unceremoniously announced the closure of all 83 stores, signaling the end of a too-short-lived retail expansion. In 2022, three flagship shops—in Australia, United Kingdom, and United States—remain, converted into so-called “experience centers”.

Rummaging through old photos—the Featured Image from Aug. 2, 2016—I stop for another moment to remember what was and could have been better. Microsoft Store should have succeeded like Apple’s massive retail experiment started on May 19, 2001. 

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Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

Last week, my wife and I drove out to La Mesa, Calif. to reminiscently walk around Grossmont Center, hoping to beat planned changes that could close many of the stores. Eleven months ago, Federal Realty Investment Trust announced acquiring controlling interest in the outdoor shopping mall from San Diego’s Cushman family. But the new owner won’t become sole proprietor for another three years, which will present a “unique opportunity providing an unencumbered ‘blank canvas’ for redevelopment”.

To my relief, most of the long-time tenants remain, even Barnes and Noble—a marvel of retail survival in the era of Amazon electronic and print book online sales dominance. But missing is what I photographically looked for: Flower beds down the center way separating stores. I clearly remember them, if nowhere else, near the Walmart.

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Mystic Mocha Marketing

One of University Height’s fixtures is Mystic Mocha, which through change of ownership survived the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 shutdowns mandated by California Governor Gavin Newsom and also San Diego County health authorities.

Today, as my wife and I walked by the place, we happened upon a sign at the corner of Alabama and Mission. I pulled around Leica Q2, knelt down low, and shot the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 100, 1/320 sec, 28mm; 11:39 a.m. PDT.

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In the Windows

In a sudden, surprising retreat, Microsoft announced the closing of all 83 retail stores, on June 26, 2020. Yes, it’s reasonable to wonder if SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns played part in the decision. During normal times, the location at Fashion Valley Mall was never as busy as Apple Store, but the shop served vital brand, sales, and services roles. I am disappointed to see Microsoft Store gone.

I used iPhone 4 to capture the Featured Image, looking inside the San Diego location, on April 19, 2011. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 80, 1/125 sec, 3.85mm; 3:30 p.m. PDT.

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Killer Branding

For the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, I had planned to go with a nature theme. But plans changed after shopping at Grocery Outlet and seeing the wicked instant brew that my wife discovered during another visit. The company and its coffee are about a decade old but they’re new to me (obviously). The instant variety debuted in 2018.

The connotations of Death Wish, “world’s strongest coffee”, and skull-and-crossbones logo are loaded in all the right ways. It’s killer branding. K-pods are called “death cups”.

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Something Strange for Pi Day

Last month, I shared with you the pizza face mural on the side of a restaurant soon to open at El Cajon Blvd and Louisiana in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. Day before yesterday, when returning from checking gas prices at two Texas Street stations, I caught cheesy boy’s reflection in the Postal Convenience Center across the way.

The 34-year-old business suddenly closed on July 6, 2021 after losing its lease. That whole corner block, including several houses on Louisiana, are slated for demolition and redevelopment, presumably as another ugly apartment or condominium complex. Oh joy.

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I Wasn’t Prepared for This

On Valentine’s Day, we rushed to be among the people signing up for “The Prepper’s Roadmap”. Initial enrollment ended on February 18, and we paid $197 for the privilege. The course seeks to educate enrollees about how to prepare for calamities, whether they be natural disasters (like earthquakes or wildfires here in San Diego) or crisis of human instigation (like cyberattack that takes down banking systems or power grids), among others. I would recommend the educational series, if the first-round of registrations hadn’t closed. You can’t sign up today; in the future, though.

My wife and I aren’t so-called preppers—and we never expect be. Meaning: If you’re looking for a horde of food or supplies during an apocalypse, we won’t have it. Our apartment is small and we aren’t of the mindset. That said, we do recognize the increasingly dangerous times in which we live, when looking at advancing economic crisis or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for example. Not being naturally paranoid about catastrophes and preparation for them, Annie and I liked the idea of getting some no-nonsense advice from someone who is sensible rather than the typically fanatical.

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‘Growing with Passion’

Whenever walking by this mural, I often regret not photographing the lively, colorful Yipao Coffee outdoor café that once occupied this location. More importantly: What the place displaced—trees and lush green space that the (permanently closed) florist had used. Hence the irony, if you don’t see it yet, of “growing with passion”; because all that remains is dirt, on top of which vehicles park. Nothing green grows, nor the vitality of human interaction.

In late June 2018, I shared about the departure of Florabella, which had to abandon its 24-year commercial space after the landlord informed the owner that rent would triple effective July 1. I wondered: What will replace the florist? Well, Yipao took up residence in the not-long-later clearcut corner area. Interesting aside: John Adams disappeared and was discovered to be accidentally locked inside the closed floral shop, which Yipao used; perhaps for storage. He is among the “Cats of University Heights“; June 2019.

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Seriously, California?

Sometime last week, my wife asked about getting brighter lightbulbs. IKEA-purchased LEDs are 1,000 lumens and loaded into most of our fixtures, whether ceiling or lamps; but not all. Then, three days ago, I observed during a Zoom meeting that one participant’s ambience so much more appealed than mine—his room being bright and white, while mine was dank and yellow. Color temperature is reason: 5000K lighting vs 2700K. I thought: Why not buy brighter and whiter bulbs?

So I tried shopping locally but ran aground. Is 5000K lighting unavailable because of supply chain problems or is 2700K simply wildly more popular? No San Diego store—not even the place specializing in bulbs—stocked that color temperature in a 100-watt equivalent with brightness greater than 1,000 lumens. That brought me to Amazon and a big surprise: The affordable product that also met my criteria can’t be shipped to California. Huh?