2018-10-10 / Editorials

Don’t Forget Your Mom And Pop (Shops)

While some local shops have shut down, shopping online is not a replacement for the shopping experience—there is nothing like shopping in person: trying clothes and shoes on is essential, because everyone is shaped differently and even if something is your size, it may not fit since designers and manufacturers all have their own sizing. And if you know your size in a certain brand, you need to try it on to see if it is flattering when you wear it. Even inexpensive items are costly if you can’t use them. The same goes for makeup— and forget buying perfume without experiencing it first. Even scents you know—have you ever ordered perfume online and when you finally receive it you find it’s stale? Also, in person you can turn something around, see the exact color, read the label for fabric and whatever else you want to know, ask questions, and there is no shipping to pay for, wait around for, or get lost or stolen.

We grant you that in general it’s convenient to have things delivered to you, but there’s nothing like actually trying before buying, from sofas and mattresses to hats, pants and shoes. We treasure our local bookstores where we can browse various sections, flip around in each book quite easily and get an immediate sense of the content and style; bookstores also can have author visits, book clubs and writing workshops. Going with a friend or two to browse and compare notes for clothes or games, or at boutiques with one-of-a-kind crafts and styles is still fun. Even just chatting with store owners and staff and getting helpful suggestions would be missed. We would surely suffer from the loss of these places; human interaction must never become a thing of the past. We are sad for our kids who don’t know what it is to meet up with friends for lunch and then visit Sam Goody’s, Discomat, arcades, Blockbuster, or the independent video rental down the block.

Retail shops and various industries have actually carved out and created our New York City neighborhoods, since the earliest influxes of Europeans, and they have shaped the character of entire sections of the city. Some are even named for these specialties, such as the Garment and Diamond Districts, Fashion Avenue, and Wall Street. Every neighborhood has a shopping strip such as Steinway, Broadway, 30th Avenue, and 82nd Street, to name a few.

Yes, brick and mortar shopping is undergoing a transformation. Some types of shops are getting replaced, some are holding strong, and new ones are springing up. While retail is not dead, we could still do more to support it. You can shop local in addition to online, it’s not all or nothing. Just being on your feet is better than sitting immobile in front of a computer day after day, or laid out on the sofa with the cell phone or tablet. So go out and get air, get sun, get exercise! You don’t realize how much walking you’re doing when you are thoroughly absorbed hunting for that perfect pair of sneakers—and then as soon as you get them you can wear them home!

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