Growing up, my Mom shopped at the A&P, Sears, F. W. Woolworth and Kmart. Before we made these shopping excursions she filled-up her Plymouth Fury III at the Phillips 66. Now in my neck of the woods, A&P, F. W. Woolworth and a full service Phillips 66 no longer exist. We have a Sears at the mall and one, just one Kmart left (there used to be six).
These are all brands that give me fond memories of my childhood. Eating a grilled cheese sandwich at the Woolworth counter, the arrival of the Sears Christmas Wish Book in the mail, buying dungarees (I don’t know why they weren’t called blue jeans in the Stone Age) at Kmart and riding on top of the bag cart at the A&P.
Things have really changed in the last 50 years. No more fix it shops where you took the toaster to have a new electrical cord put on it. Hell, it’s hard to find a shoe repair shop anymore. Our society and the products we buy are cheap and disposable. When they break, we buy a new one and send the old ones to the landfill. No one is smart enough to fix a television anymore let alone a toaster.
What happened to the Kmart’s of world? Society changed, consumers changed, and sadly Kmart didn’t. My children would cringe to think that they had to wear clothes purchased at a Kmart. It’s all about image, labels, and brands. Sadly Kmart become synonymous with a low image, uncool labels and a cheap brand.
Back in the day Kmarts were hopping. Bright, clean, plenty of parking and crammed full of everything a household needed. And god help you if you were standing in the way of a savvy customer armed with a shopping cart who heard “Attention Kmart shoppers blue light special in aisle 9”. I remember several close calls as a kid, almost being trampled to death even by my own mother a time or two. Death by shopping cart would certainly have made for an entertaining obituary.
I got lost in the Kmart once as a five-year old. My mom’s back was turned and I wandered off. I found my way up to the front and over loudspeaker they called my mother’s name to come pick me up. She was mortified. What kind of mother loses a child? Better yet, what kind of human being gets lost in a Kmart? Maybe I am still lost.
Yea, I am not a big fan of choices. I like maybe two or three for my simple taste and brain. Amazon is sensory overload for me. Too much, pages and pages of stuff. I still like to touch a product, look at, put it back, think about it, and come back to it. Thank god for Home Depot and Sears, manly stores, laid out like a man thinks unlike Target. I can’t really quantify that for you. Target just doesn’t feel right to me, to bright, to happy, to peppy. I don’t do peppy.
I realize that time marches on. I accept that. I am sure my kids will reminisce about the good old days too when they get to be my age….“Remember when all we had was Wi-Fi?” I hope I am around to hear that conversation.