Darwinism and Business

The other day as I was pulling in to the Whole Foods parking lot to pick up less than $20 worth of stuff something on the radio caught my ear. I can’t even remember what station it was. But since I typically only listen to XMU or NPR it was likely NPR. The piece was about how many retailers were scrambling price slashes in order to make up for a year’s worth of losses. The questions were that with less than a week (I think this story ran on Monday) ‘Could retailers pull it off?’ and ‘Would consumers help them out, while taking advantage of screaming deals?’

Well I love a bargain just as much as anybody and sometimes even more but my answer to both of the questions would have to be a quick “no”. And I have no remorse.

Just a day before this parking lot moment a friend of mine was saying how she was going to be doing some heavy shopping this week. Her plan was to use up gift cards and grab some deals, because as she (probably correctly predicts) businesses are going to start dropping like flies.

It does sadden me that businesses will go down in the last bit of 2008. Consumer life as we’ve known it for the last 20 years is like to change dramatically during the next 1 year. But we all knew this was coming and I’m not simply referring to the serial spending and lending issues.

Look around at all the retail, particularly large corporate retail, building that’s been going on. Who really thought we could sustain this much shopping? Didn’t developers ever think this was too much? Doesn’t one major pastime get boring after awhile and don’t all stores seem to homogenize and look alike eventually?

So no I don’t feel guilty about not rushing out to spend a little money that I have or a lot that don’t have in effort to save retailers. The fittest will survive. Those that have been innovative, respondent to customers and resilient to economic craziness will survive. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll see a return to small local business. In the meantime, let’s also hope for good will to those people behind the companies that don’t make it. Let’s seem some real innovation come from all of this.


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