Is Retail a “Safe Haven”?

Many of us who have worked, or are still working in the retail field; remember when retail was a “safe haven” as a form of employment.  We often operated on the theory, regardless of the economy, people still need to shop.  For the most part, this was an accurate assessment, on the surface. Yet, as with all “good” things, this too shall come to an end.

In efforts to pare down operational costs, many of the retail giants have had to resort to chasm of unpopular to borderline destructive measures.  As we all experience, within our own stores or other retailers we visit, customer service via an abundance of willing to help employees, is a thing of the past.  Many times, you can enter a store, select any merchandise valley and start your own game of bowling for clerks.  There simply aren’t any to be found.  For the lucky who do find such creatures, they are for the most part unhappy, incompetent, or simply uninterested in assisting you in any fashion. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  There are still very dedicated employees out there but more often than not, they are the exception, not the rule.

Then we have the corporations who see no alternative other than to shudder their doors on some, if not all, of their brick and mortar locations.  Remember the likes of The Good Guys, Circuit City, Builder’s Emporium, Osh and even Lumber City?  Well, now we have the big boys like Sears, JC Penney, Fresh and Easy, Kmart, Haggen, Kohls and even Macy’s jumping into the fray. We’re looking at another glut of unemployed, displaced workers to be hitting the unemployment rolls shortly.  I even noticed Macy’s is closing their downtown Spokane, WA store, which has been in operation since 1947 … Ouch!

One has to wonder how any of the brick and mortar locations stay afloat, now that we all possess the capability of purchasing nearly anything we want, whilst sitting in our under garments at the family computer (for those who know me, I apologize for the mental picture I just painted for and burdened you to carry around for a while. You know, until the next annoying song suddenly occupies your every thought.  Might I suggest Afternoon Delight by the Starland Vocal Band).

Regardless of the who, where or why, retail employees that have held their positions for years, must now consider what they’re going to do, once the proverbial hatchet sails in their direction.  Are you prepared?  Do you have a current résumé prepared?  Are you cultivating your professional references and contacts? These are matters that anyone past the age of 50 (and even 40 in some instances) had hoped they’d never have to face again. Well my friends, it’s time to adopt the Boy Scout motto … “Run, that scout master tried to touch me”!  Oh wait, wrong story.  I meant to quote, “Be Prepared”!

Retail, regardless of your devotion and productivity, simply isn’t the employment “safe haven” it once was. Don’t get caught with your panties on backwards, get ahead of this potential pitfall and we’ll all join you in wishing such circumstances will not befall you or your family.

Best wishes for a healthy and happy new year!


List of Macy’s Store Closings