My eldest son spent his Stimulus money to get a laptop. His old one had got him through college, but it’s 5 years old and showing it’s age, so why not?
And, because impatience, he ordered it from BestBuy and waited for an email saying “It’s ready” and picked it up curbside.
Time was, there was the concept of “the Back Room”. The shopkeeper would go back and get what you ask for, and the front would be filled with all the displays that looked good, because rows and rows of boxes and cans are ugly.
I think it starts with the end of World War Two and the rise of the Post-War Boom. We started to switch from the market to the Supermarket where the Back Room opened up, and instead of them getting it for you, you got it yourself.
And the ultimate end of this model is the Big Box store, where there are more and more rows filled with more and more racks and shelves filled with more and more things. Y’know, your Wal-Marts, your Home Depots.
There was another way. There used to be Catalog Stores, where you would go in and there were catalogs filled with their available items, and maybe some display items. You would fill out a card or something, take it to the cashier, and the boxes holding the things you wanted came out on a conveyor belt.
This town had one when I moved here, but it had shut down, and as is the way for all prime commercial real estate, it was torn down and replaced.
Replaced with Barnes & Noble and, appropriately enough, the BestBuy where my son picked up his laptop.
Things will get back to normal once we’ve gone through the Lockdown and have adapted to this. We’ll get back to a normal. We’ll buy and sell things. It’ll happen.
But it used to be normal to have the clerks get your stuff. Then it became normal to go get it yourself. I expect that the end of the Big Boxes will be the New Normal. And eventually, economies of scale and the like will allow for the big again. Or maybe Amazon and FedEx will be the new Sears & Roebuck and Wells Fargo. (If you remember The Music Man) Things were kinda leaning that way anyway.
Whatever it will be, it will feel normal, and will be normal.