It is growing. Everywhere you turn. The evidence is there. It is all about retail!


You go on a trip with your faithful carry-on luggage. It has been your carry-on luggage for years. You approach baggage check in and there it is, right in front of – “the box”. The box appears much as it has for every other trip, but hmmm, could it be – gasp – smaller? No, of course not. What would be the point? Planes are not smaller; they are larger to go along with the expanding population – after all we hear news story after news story talking about how the population is expanding (yes I do mean it that way). Why would the box for our luggage be shrinking? It is a retail conspiracy!


In all seriousness, or perhaps not, it seems to be inevitably built in by most business that we will be somehow be “forced” to replace, upgrade, or otherwise expand our range of things – whether it is luggage or software – through forced obsolescence – because if it don’t fit the box and we want the convenience of carry-on, we are going to get a new bag which fits the box. Or if we want product support for our computer software, we are going to buy the new versions.


Whatever the motivation, the effect is “retail”. We must buy and buy and buy. More and more often it seems that the conspiracy theory popping up behind every event is “The Retail Conspiracy”, because to everything there just seems to be a retail component. For instance, you can’t take your own beverages with you through the airport check in now unless, of course, you are using your 1 quart bag and 3 ounce bottles to do so. As result, while you are arriving earlier and staying longer in the airports to make your flights, and the airlines have all but eliminated complimentary food service on the flights, you are purchasing your beverages at the airport or on the airplanes! RETAIL! RETAIL! RETAIL!


Another innovation which has caught my attention is in the bookstores. I am an avid reader. The ever-increasing price of paperbacks (and I do shop the used bookstores) keeps me watching the prices. Inevitably though, when my favorite authors’ newest titles start hitting the shelves, I have to shop. The latest bookstore innovation is the “easier to read” paperbacks. I don’t know what is “easier” about the reading, but I have noticed the prices are a substantial increase over the “harder to read” traditional paperbacks…I also notice that the books are available only in the “easier” to read version. That has to make it “easier” to make me pay the higher price to get my favorite author’s latest book. Or maybe not…because instead of easier to read all I saw was RETAIL CONSPIRACY – wait for the used copy!


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