Remember the good old days when you would walk into your local grocery or convenience store and the person behind the counter would know who you were and give you personal service. It seems hard to believe given the overwhelming move to impersonal big box retailing, but only a generation ago, commerce was more evenly distributed and hence more personal. In the move to mass, homogeneous retailers delivering cookie-cutter solutions of ultimate consistency, we have certainly reduced the price for the stuff we buy, but we’ve lost something very precious in the process.
Alas, there isn’t going to be a turnaround anytime soon. While it is true that there is very much a resurgence of artisan goods with the rise of farmers and craft markets, this is, alas, an expensive option that is generally only available to those with disposable income. For everyone else, Costco, Walmart and Amazon are the name of the game.