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About this photo: Thematic Photographic explores parallel this week. Got anything that remotely qualifies? Feel free to follow your mouse here if you do. Or even if you don't, as we're an equal opportunity photographic nurturer.Before Wal-Mart paved the low-cost superstore landscape in Canada, there was Zellers. Well, if we're being absolutely precise, there still is a Zellers. But it's difficult to understand how it can compete against the menace from Bentonville when the average store is a haphazardly stocked zoo with employees who, when you manage to find them, don't seem to know how to connect you with the things you need.
In 21st century retail, it's the little things that matter. And a store that abandons its "lowest price is the law" tagline but neglects to paint over the shadows that remain when the sign is removed sends quite a different message to customers and potential customers. It suggests it doesn't sweat the small stuff. That it misses the subtle details of customer service that today's consumers look for and, indeed, expect. I'm all for supporting Canadian business, but it's hard to feel enthusiastic when it routinely drops the ball on the most basic things.
But the store anchors the southern end of the local ginormous mall, so it's difficult to miss when you're there to gawk at the lap-walking seniors as you munch on something decadent from Cinnabon. When I found myself in the parking lot one morning last year, I thought I'd have some fun with the sign high up on the wall. Corporate ineptitude aside, there's a stark simplicity to the Z that just works - and I'm not just saying that because my middle name starts with a Z.
I attracted plenty stares from strangers who probably wondered what I was doing standing in middle of the parking lot with a DSLR in my hand, but I didn't let that stop me. I figured whoever the store hired for security was probably too busy watching Family Feud on the wall of screens in the electronics department.
Eventually, I tired of exploring this antediluvian retail aesthetic and headed home. I found the whole experience a tad depressing, for some odd reason. So when I got back to the house, I plunked myself down in the kitchen and tucked into my danish from Cinnabon. Nothing like a little sugar therapy to ward off the gloom cast by a business that time apparently forgot.
Your turn: Businesses that fail to keep pace. Please discuss.
Oops, almost forgot: Happy new month! Because new years only come once a year, but we get 12 new months.