Five reasons people hate going to stores

Sharks in storesSoon we will reminisce on when people used to actually go into retail stores.  It wasn’t all that long ago.  It even feels like it was only yesterday.   The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday had a story entitled ‘Shoppers are fleeing physical stores’.  My first thought was that Sharknado 3 had a surprise early release.   After all the vision of shoppers ‘fleeing’ stores was different than not bothering to actually go to the stores in the first place.

I admit that I personally avoid going to stores for the most part.  It’s not just that I don’t care for shopping, I don’t.  As a man I am most interested in buying and leaving a store as opposed to ‘shopping ‘which for many women is a gender team-building experience not unlike going to the ladies room while at a restaurant.

Why do I (and so many men AND women) despise actually going to the store?  Here are five reasons as a longer list was significantly pared down.

Traveling to the stores costs time and money.  And we all know time is money right?  If I know what I want to buy there really is no reason to physically go into the store.  Just between Amazon and Fresh Direct I can pretty much buy anything I want and have it delivered to my residence insuring that I always have the potential to be a housebound agoraphobe.

  1. Carrying around your purchases.  People don’t like to have to carry around their purchases.  As anyone that has ever lived in a five-floor walkup will tell you – the least fun part of buying something is carrying it home.
  2. The staff.  The people that work in most retail stores are overworked, underpaid, and just so unhappy to be there.  You can feel it when you walk into the store.  And it’s not a good feeling.
  3. Returning something at the store always seems to result in standing on a long line of dissatisfied people who are primed and ready to jump ugly at the first sign of resistance to their return.   A little risk management advice – if you ever have to return something to a hunting store don’t do it in person.
  4. Stores run out of the thing I want to buy.   Sure you can check online if the store has your item in stock but it could run out of the item by the time you get there and it should not be any surprise that not all point of sales systems are real-time updated with the local website.  And since you are online already why even bother going there in the first place?  Have it delivered.  Duh.
  5. There are occasions when I don’t mind going into a store.  At the airport it’s ok since my flight is delayed and I’d be happy for the option of as many stores as there can be since sometimes the flight delays are interminable (could not resist).   If we’ve gone out to dinner and want to take a walk around afterward, having some stores to walk into is a mindless and not unpleasant pastime although I sometimes prefer to stand outside and look in while I enjoy an occasional cigar.

The trend is becoming clear.  There will be fewer and fewer retail stores as time goes on.  Do you have any of your own reasons why you despise physically visiting a retail store?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver
This entry was posted in Consumer Behavior, Internet Shopping, Shopping and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Five reasons people hate going to stores

  1. Hallie says:

    The weather also has a lot to do with it. Who wants to visit shops during a heat wave or a blizzard? (Malls, though, might alleviate this problem.) Most likely the Internet will replace “automatic,” routine purchases — groceries, paper goods, toiletries. However, at times shopping is a visceral experience, especially with larger items like furniture, appliances, etc. — items that need to be seen, tested, felt — even tasted. I would never buy sight unseen. In addition, “showrooming” — visiting the stores, then going to Amazon for cheaper prices — is unethical in my community. My prediction: specialized stores, like libraries, might stay in business. Anything quirky, which offers a sensory experience.

    It will be interesting to see the impact of Internet shopping on our urban areas, which were attractive partly because of the convenience & proximity to stores, restaurants. etc. Perhaps in the future the city will become one giant coffeehouse, full of people & cultural centers, while basic or sundry items are stored away in warehouses somewhere else.

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    • markkolier says:

      Good point on the weather Hallie as this past winter in the U.S. showed that consumer behavior can be truly impacted by weather. I also can see that ‘stores’ will offer ‘product experiences’. While that may make some stomachs turn it’s obvious that the attraction of local retail stores has changed forever. Thanks as always for reading and for the comment.

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  2. Mark, it is so difficult to change this kind of ingrained behavior. Shopping from home via TV or online is a new phenomenon. I’m sure generations from now people will be asking what a store was. I, for one, hate shopping for clothes since there is almost nothing that is sold in retail stores that can fit me. But I will suggest that golf, to us, is like shopping. We visit multiple sites over a few hours. Sometimes we get what we want, sometimes we walk away dissatisfied demanding a return.

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    • markkolier says:

      I agree that in time the notion of stores will be so different than what we was when we grew up. Incremental change is hard to see but it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Thanks David.

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