Thursday September 22, 2005
So, today The Wife and I were at the mall (yes, we shop at the mall). We went into The Gap to buy me some socks (yes, we shop at The Gap), and were surprised to discover that the whole store had been rearranged since the last time we were there—the men's section had been swapped with the women's section. WTF? Did the Feng Shui Police pay a visit and write them a parity reversal ticket?
Next, we went to Barnes and Noble (yes, we shop at Barnes and Noble—get over it), and the two escalators, which have been the same ever since we've lived here, had had their directions reversed: up was down and down was up. WTF? This was making me nervous.
More evidence for a Bizarro migration: we received a solicitation from our local public radio station that reads, in part:
Please consider increasing your gift this year. Last year you supported K*** at the [X] level. An increase to [less-than-X] will help strengthen the K*** programming you trust.
Worse, the address reads:
Mrs. and Mr. [The Wife's name]
Eeep! Maybe I've flipped over into the bad-Spock universe. Is The Wife going to start asking me for my agonizer?
[Update: When I read this to her, she said, "Oh, I am your agonizer." My sweet girl!]
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I've noticed that Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch switch the men's & women's sides of their stores with alarming frequency. I have absolutely no idea why.
I live in Poland where large supermarkets (and Walmart type things) are constantly rearranging themselves. My best guess is they're trying to confuse shoppers and have them wander around more in hopes of generating more impulse purchases.
I wouldn't be surprised if some similar principal is operating. Off the top of my head, I'd say they're trying to keep mens wear in the line of vision of female shoppers (who are more likely to buy clothes for their significant others than are men).
Posted by: Michael Farris at Sep 22, 2005 10:47:53 AM
.lamron si gnihtyreve taht swohs hcraes elgooG kciuq A .si melborp eht tahw ees t'nod I
I think I'm missing something -- what's so odd/objectionable about shopping at malls, The Gap, or Barnes & Noble?
Oh, my private-sector friend, you've been out of academia for too long. They're bad because they're corporate. And did you know some of the books sold at Barnes and Noble aren't shade-grown?
Posted by: The Tensor at Sep 22, 2005 9:39:37 PM
There are two kinds of shoppers: those who browse through stores and look at nearly everything, and those who go inside knowing exactly what they want. Big stores constantly rearrange the stuff on their shelves so that the second category of shoppers have to wander around more and are therefore more likely to succumb to impulse buying.
This is why milk is always at the back of supermarkets: you have to walk past everything else to get what you want.
I'm a community college English teacher, and one of the things I know about my students is that they simply don't read very much. I think the school library should keep thousands and thousands of comic books (2000 words per comic book times 100 comic books each year would be a good start at becoming a real reader), and we should keep them in the back of the library so students would have to pass through the stacks on their way to the comics. Chances are they'd see something interesting and maybe pick it up.
It's too bad we can't market literacy as well as we market nearly everything else in our culture.
Posted by: plop75 at Sep 23, 2005 8:43:01 AM