Gephyrophillia | Watch This Space #157
Originally Posted on 09/07/2007 by Jeff Harris
I try to write down the things I dream about. Sometimes, these dreams inspire me to create. Sometimes, I figure out what they're trying to tell me. The following story is one of those dreams trying to tell me something.
A couple of nights ago, I dreamed I had to get somebody something from Toys R Us. I took a bus and went to the Toys R Us. When I looked around, I noticed that instead of a vast amount of toys in the aisles, there were a small assortment of the same toys in every aisle. Aisle after aisle, the same toys. I got confused and asked a clerk, "Why are there only THESE toys in the whole store?" The clerk said, "New management wants to sell only the stuff that works, get rid of the older things, and try something new."
"Something new?" I asked.
The clerk led me over to a section that was just growing. What I saw kind of shocked me.
"A grocery store?"
"Yup. We put it in a couple of years ago. A lot of our customers like it."
I scratched my head because I could hardly believe what I was seeing. A grocery store. In a Toys R Us.
"You can't be serious," I told the clerk.
"See, people got to do shopping anyway. People like groceries. The management felt that if we put a grocery section in the store, more people would shop at Toys R Us."
"That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."
The smart aleck looked at me as if I fell off a turnip truck.
"Well, you're here, aren't you? Didn't you come here to get some groceries?"
"No! I came here to buy a couple of toys for someone. If I wanted to buy groceries, I'd go to a grocery store, not a toy store."
"We're still a toy store. But today's consumers want more than just toys. They also want toy-based food products. Food companies already make them. We might as well sell them."
"I stand corrected. THAT'S the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. I don't have to shop here."
"We have enough customers that enjoy our new arrangement. Have a nice day."
At that moment, I wanted to hit him with a Nerf-covered baseball bat, but all the good toys were already gone. So, I left. I felt kind of sickened that Toys R Us decided to create a grocery section in their store. I mean, their first name is "toys." I forgave them for the babies section, but that was too far. As I left the parking lot, I figured I'd pick up a couple of DVDs and blank CDs from Best Buy. I walked inside, and the first thing I saw was racks full of clothes.
"What the hell, man!" I shouted. A clerk, who looked just like the clerk from Toys R Us, walked in my direction.
"Welcome to Best Buy," he replied. "Can I help you?"
"What's the deal with the clothes?"
"What do you mean?"
"Why are you guys selling clothes at Best Buy?"
"Because we want to, that's why?"
"But why? You're an electronics store."
"We still are. But management decided to put a couple of apparel sections in the store. People like to shop for clothes when they go out, so, management decided to put clothes sections in the store."
"Where are the electronics?"
"Over there and in the back."
"But you're Best Buy."
"Right. If Circuit City did this, people would be pissed. But Best Buy doesn't have anything electronical in the name, so I think that's why we get away with it."
"If I wanted to buy clothes, I'd go to a clothing store. Not a store that I know is an electronics store."
Then, the clerk sat down on the box in front of a manniquin.
"Don't you get it, man? This is the way business is these days. OfficeMax sells lingerie in the back. Borders just started selling power tools. Toys R Us sells groceries. Everybody is doing it. They have to compete with Wal-Mart and Target, places that get better business than we do. Is it stupid? Of course, but why complain? If everybody complained about something, then maybe business would get back right to the way it used to be. But people don't complain like they used to. In fact, a lot of people like these changes, and that's the people management appreciate. I work here, man, but I'd complain loudly if I were in your shoes. A lot of folks around here would too."
And he walked away.
Then, I woke up, realizing that I live in a world where Toys R Us doesn't have a grocery store, Best Buy isn't selling clothing, and Borders doesn't sell power tools. A world where folks stick to their original mission statement and continue being specialty shops rather than an all-in-one shop. It'd be nice if everybody did that.
Wonder what the dream was trying to tell me . . .
The X Bridge Creator/Webmaster
September 7, 2007
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