The Store

Pretty soon people will be headed to THE STORE...the only store extant after the consolidation, merger, acquisiton and elimination of all of the interesting and unique marketplaces established by our forefathers (Abraham and Strauss would turn over in their graves)


Robert B. Reich had an interesting editorial in today's Times in which consumers face some of the blame for what has become a terrifying sterile retail environment.


There will always be retail competition. There will always be product competition. Go down the laundry detergent aisle in your supermarket, how many different detergents are there?

I just had a conversation with someone whose daughter works at Dillard's Department Store. Dillard's has 390 stores in 29 states and will compete with the new Federated-May chain. There is Sears-Kmart, Kohl's and then Target as well as Walmart. Lots of places. Rest easy.

How many brands of household products are there? Lots...but many cleaning products are made by the same company, we just as consumers are purposely not made aware of this fact.

For example: Bounty, Tide, Swiffer, Mr. Clean, Gillette, Cascade, Dawn, Joy, Ivory, Downy, Bounce, Febreze, Dreft, Dryel, Puffs, Charmin; and this doesn't include personal care types of products are all made by ONE COMPANY. Proctor and Gamble.

And all of those cereal and dairy and packaged food brands? They're almost ALL made by Altria Group (formerly Kraft), who also owns Phillip Morris. You want some cream cheese? Which do you prefer, Kraft or Philly or Temptee? Unless you seek out an organic brand, it doesn't matter; they're all made by Altria.

Household Cleaning Products Producers: SC Johnson, Church & Dwight, Benckiser, P&G, and Clorox are not the same company. You still have a competition amongst the producers and the products. For the consumer, household product prices have gone down which is good news. Lots to choose from.

In addition, you certainly aren't having a homongenous product that everyone is buying. Go to your neighborhood grocery store (not the health food store or food co-op or even the Wild Oats or Natures upscale grocery store) and try and tell me there is less of a variety of different foods than 25 years ago.

I happen to enjoy beer. I can go to my local grocery store and buy beer made in Germany, Holland, Mexico, Australia, Portland (Oregon), Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Seattle, Colorado, etc.. and all of them are not owned by Coors, Budweiser or Miller.