Tag: retailers

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The Estate Sale

Today, my wife and I drove down Texas Street from University Heights into Mission Valley and our local Bed Bath & Beyond. About 24 hours earlier, liquidation sale started—as the retailer begins to wind down all operations in U.S. stores following an April 23, 2023 Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing. Some people will say that  SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns killed the company, and they would be mistaken.

Bed Bath & Beyond’s demise is more complicated but two causes are fundamental, and one was exacerbated by the nation’s pandemic response. The first: Unnecessary debt. I told my wife years ago that too many public companies used cheap credit to buy back, and therefore bolster, shares. That’s the real reason for tech stalwarts like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and the like laying off tens of thousands of workers. Trust me: It’s not the economy but cost-cutting because of debt.

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A Christmas Tree for Lent

Wicked winds roared through San Diego on this Ash Wednesday, which is also President George Washington’s birthday (in 1732 by the Gregorian calendar). Sustained, from the West 32 to 40 kilometers per hour (20 to 25 mph) and reaching 72 kph (45 mph) or more.

When the gusts were greatest, my wife and I chose to walk around Westfield Mission Valley rather than endure blowing debris and risk being pelted (injured or killed) by falling/flying palm fronds. We started at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, which was absolutely deserted. I mean, day-after-apocalypse abandoned.

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Do I have Egg On My Face?

Two days ago, I smugly boasted about finding plenty of egg-dozens—and same price as the previous week—at my local Trader Joe’s. Happening by the store this afternoon, I passed the cooler where eggs are supposed to be and—as you can see from the Featured Image—there were none. Goodness me.

“Decrease in chicken population” is a great excuse that fits with all the bird flu hysteria. I don’t doubt that supplies are somewhat constrained right now. But I also recognize that fear of shortages drives people to panic purchase, leading to the predicted predicament. That TJ’s receives “deliveries every morning” means the supply chain flows fluidly enough that not only are eggs available but prices stay stable.

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IKEA Santas

The autumn season has been unusually pleasant here in San Diego—not seen since our first in 2007. Cool and cloudy, while often wet, is more typical. But sunny and mild was the climate’s character until this rainy and wet Sunday. As such, my wife and I decided to keep dry by taking our afternoon walk around IKEA, which is a 4.2-km (2.6-mile) drive from our apartment.

The retailer’s 2022 seasonal collection, VINTERFINT, sprinkled about the store. Most prominent: Santa Claus, in two sizes—$7.99 or $19.99, respectively, for card carrying Family Members. The large dominate the Featured Image and the smaller the companion pic, which odd cropping removes a shopper. The things were stationed everywhere—all departments. This dedicated display was near the checkout lines.

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Please Remind Me, Whose Birthday Do We Celebrate?

As my wife and I were about to leave Fashion Valley Mall today, she pointed out something odd, which you can see in the Featured Image and companion. Santa’s house in the lower center court is extremely non-sectarian.

From one perspective, since St. Nick is a secular invention, I can understand. But from another—and vastly more penetrating—viewpoint, “Merry & Bright” defies the spirit of the season and the birth for which it celebrates. Wouldn’t “Merry Christmas” be resoundingly more appropriate? Or did I miss something about the holiday’s name including that of he whose birthday we commemorate with gift-giving? (And mass consumerism.)

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Beating Black Friday at Banana Republic Factory Store

I wish there was a better way to combat inflationary pricing than Black Friday discounts. Banana Republic Factory emailed about the big 60-percent off storewide, topped by another 15 percent with special code. Since, coincidentally, two years ago nearly to the day I last purchased boxers—and none since—time had come to follow my wife’s advice: resupply. BRF’s undies are comfy and durable, which is why I buy them.

Two BRF stores are about equally far, North and South, from our San Diego neighborhood. We chose the one farther from Mexico’s border, for no particular reason. Decision was figuratively a coin toss.

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Good Grinch or the One with the Tiny Heart?

My wife and I are infrequent Walmart shoppers—at best estimation. But on Nov. 19, 2022, we ventured to the store in La Mesa, Calif., because eyedrops were in stock and priced considerably less than other retailers—whether local or online. We made the trip more meaningful by walking around the quaint downtown district and shopping at two bookstores, one stocking Christian reads (including Bibles) and the other tomes of all varieties; both shops sell new and used inventory.

Inside Walmart, I laughed at—and so had to take the Featured Image of—one of the displays. I can think of so many ways that this Dr. Seuss character is the wrong choice for promoting anything. He steals Christmas from Whoville. That said, some adults (and their kids) might delight in what they see as the good Grinch. No disrespect to them, but he wears a sinister grin.

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Turn a Page

For the longest time, I have wanted to explore Maxwell’s House of Books—and yesterday opportunity presented after Annie and I bought Bible and C.S. Lewis set at the Christian shop a few blocks away. No bookstore can be found in my San Diego neighborhood of University Heights, but La Mesa, Calif. has two downtown. Shucks. We are so denied.

You gotta love a chiding George Orwell quote warning anyone who dares to go inside. Given the state of American politics, we’re all accomplices. We entered to see 18-year-old black cat Rorschach cross our path. (Gulp, is that bad luck?) The kitty has his own calendar, which could be yours for fifteen bucks.

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Another Bible Story

I recently realized something is missing from my Harper Study Bible, which is Revised Standard Version. Verses are omitted, which greatly surprises. My go-to Good Book is a compact New American Standard acquired during the mid-1980s. In that translation, verses that scholars suspect were later added to the original text are bracketed. They are omitted, often without explanation, in RSV, I discovered earlier this week. As one of many examples: Mark 15 skips verse 28.

The 1980-edition HSB is a used purchase, from Amazon in April 2017. The seller failed to indicate that a name is gold-embossed on the cover—and not even his own. But that gotcha aside, condition was quite good. But five years later, the leather shows significant wear, cracking and separating some places. As such, retirement was an eventual destination for the book.

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The Meowers of Bark Boulevard

Hurricane Kay brought nominal relief, on Sept. 8, 2022, as it skirted along the Pacific coastline of Baja California and San Diego County. Cloud cover made muggy air and peak temperature of 32.7 Celsius (91 F) more tolerable. My wife and I took advantage, setting out on a mid-morning walk. While trudging down a side alley perpendicular to Mississippi Street, we came upon a mural that I hadn’t seen before.

We had passed by Bark Boulevard, which fronts El Cajon Blvd, often enough. The family-owned business provides doggy daycare and overnight boarding services—hence the name. So I was surprised to see some homage to cats, along the back.

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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.