The supposed “end of retail” — ?

Vice President Joe Biden says that Americans are no longer worried about the economy:

“But all kidding aside, I think the American people have moved — Democrats, Republicans, independents.  They know that the possibilities for this country are immense.  They’re no longer traumatized by what was a traumatizing event, the great collapse in 2008.  They’re no longer worried, I think, about our economy being overwhelmed either by Europe writ large, the EU, or China somehow swallowing up every bit of innovation that exists in the world.  They’re no longer, I think, worried about our economy being overwhelmed beyond our shores.”

Americans are no longer worried about the economy?  Really?  You think that’s true?

I think that’s not just a fabrication, but a bald-faced LIE.

Retail is — on many levels — starting to become moribund.

Check this graphic from

Retail -- The End of Retail StoresYou can see that music stores are apparently the most greatly impacted with employee and store outlet loss, followed by camera and computer stores.

I’m sure you can see the results of retail outlet closures in your own community — no matter where you are, on the east coast, the west coast, north or south.

The retail paradigm is changing, and it is changing not unlike the replacement of the horse with the car, or the steam locomotive with the diesel-electric locomotive.

So-called Mega Malls are changing; so are regular malls.  Stores are closing.  Chain stores are closing.

You are responsible.  I am responsible.  And yet, I certainly very much miss my local Borders book stores.  They closed.  There are only two Barnes & Noble stores in Sacramento — the capital of Fornicalia — and both of them are incredibly inconvenient for me.  Yet, I go there, because that’s how I become aware of new books.

I can see them, I can hold them, I can smell them, I can read their covers, suss out their basic premise, and scan a few pages to see if I like the writing itself.

My Tower Records store closed.  Tower Books closed.  Virgin Records closed.  It was a HUGE store at Arden Fair Mall.

I step back: there was a small and wonderful music store in Grass Valley, on Mill Street, in the mid-1990s, where you could walk in and sit at a counter and ask to see a specific CD.  You could hold it in your hand, check out its cover, place the CD into a player and, with headphones donned, listen to the content.  If you liked it, you bought it.  I was generally the oldest bastard in the place, where the chicks were tattooed and pierced and dyed but here is where I found out about the groups Material, Bill Laswell, Bill Nelson, Deep Forest, Blue Man Group, and any number of artists who otherwise wouldn’t have been displayed on my musical radar screen.  My musical expanses were challenged and exploded.  I loved it.

But — moreover — what does the “end of retail” mean for younger people?  I expect: much.


We see a large and growing gap between unemployment and the employment-population ratio. There are numerous micro explanations here.

One possibility, however, is that the relatively weak growth in shopping center employment relative to retail sales since 2000 and especially recently is driving down overall teen employment levels.

However, because teenagers are especially suited to shopping center employment they are dropping out of the labor force in response. That is, the End of Retail is causing a permanent shift in teenage employment because there are no substitutes for retail jobs.

This is a true structural downturn because it means that the production function is changing such that the productivity of teenage labor cannot meet the reservation wage.

When that happens a factor of production simply goes out of use. It also implies that for a time the economic gains from productivity enhancements will be muted. E-commerce means more efficient shopping but because we are not repurposing teenage labor but losing it completely, the measured gains are less than they otherwise would be.

Retail work — for me, possibly for you — was essentially a Rite of Passage in the 60s and 70s.  You worked for a retail store and you learned how to deal with people and you learned how to work with a boss and you learned how to work with a time card and you learned how to show up at a specific time or you simply wouldn’t get paid.

You learned how to open a store, or you learned how to close a store.  You learned how to prep a store for the next day.  You cleaned up.  You mopped the floors.  Or you learned how to prep the register with cash for the coming day.  You learned how to make a night deposit.  You learned how to make change.  With no calculator except that of your brain.

I worked for the JC Penney store on Watt Avenue.  I knew 35mm photography.  I sold the greatest amount of cameras.  I helped my customers.  I cleaned their lenses, I told them how to change their ISO, I sold them SX70 cameras.  I worked in retail and I worked on a very basic and meager salary but with commission.  My commission was generally the greatest of everyone else, for the three months I worked there.

Those days — these days — are apparently dying.

Amazon and any number of .com websites are making it so.

Any thoughts of yours?  What are you seeing — if anything — in your community?

Where you live — is retail taking a hit?




The Ryan-Biden debate, observed:

This post will be fluctuous and updated in something in terms of real time, on Thursday.

I will be monitoring the debate via livestream and updating when applicable.

Live-streaming here.

Mr Biden seems to think that a strategy is to smile when Paul Ryan is replying.

A smile to a fact is not a strategy.

On the other hand Martha Radditz is favoring Biden.

And Ryan is NOT being aggressive — as Romney was aggressive.

Biden continues to smile as if Ryan is an imbecile.

I suspect it is playing.

Ryan drank water.  Biden drank nothing.  A minor point but significant to casual viewers.

Bad: just Biden was seen as interruptive.

Ryan is too deferential to Joe Biden.

Ryan needs to STEP UP and verbally SQUASH Joe Biden, to run roughshod over him.  He is entirely too deferential yet.

Biden got too many “last answers.”  UNanswered by Paul Ryan.

Biden is not coming out as an imbecile.  Assuaged by Radditz.

Biden continues to refer to Ryan as “my friend.”

So far, Romney has impressed me more than Ryan in this venue.  Ryan has been, then, like Obama, too entirely conciliatory.

I am concerned that Ryan is much more quiet than Romney.

Ryan was entirely TOO QUIET and TOO DEFERENTIAL.

Ryan didn’t TAKE CHARGE and make the debate over the Benghazi embassy!

So far Biden took charge and didn’t let up and wasn’t allowed, via Raddatz, to allow anything other than that.

Not ONE MENTION of Christopher Stevens, or his death or that of three other SEALs.

Ryan informs on his Catholic faith.  And how it informs his belief on abortion.

Biden tried to make things as Romney vs Ryan.

Too much derisive sneering on the part of Joe Biden.

Factually, a slight nod to Ryan.

A lesser nod to Joe Biden.

A + to Joe Biden.

A – to Paul Ryan.

First impressions.




Less than 3 hours to the Ryan – Biden debate

And frankly, I can’t wait.

In preparation for the debate, Joe Biden washes his Trans Am.

Any predictions?  I have one:

I think Biden is going to attempt to play “hard-ball” with Mr Ryan and ask the questions that people “wanted Obama to.”  I see Biden thinking of himself as the White Knight riding up in order to cleanse the dark arena of its Conservative Scourge.  He will be the Savior of the Leftists, come to the aid of Mr Obama with his quick wit, acerbic tongue and witty repartee.

My thought is borne out by this LA Times article.

I suspect Biden will attempt to make his attempt for the proverbial jugular.  Demorats secretly say their entire hopes rest on Biden.  That in itself is rather shocking.

However: if he decides to go there, I’m suspecting that Ryan will decapitate Mr Biden and simply watch the exsanguination.

As will I.

This, if anything, will be highly entertaining.

Can Paul Ryan continue the momentum, or will Joe Biden somehow shift that momentum?



Moron Alert: Biden speaks about “raising taxes with tax cuts”


“This is deadly earnest, man. This is deadly earnest,” the vice president said. “How they can justify, how they can justify raising taxes on the middle class that has been buried the last four years — how in Lord’s name can they justify raising their taxes with these tax cuts?”

Correct.  Read that again.  Closely.

Yes.  Biden is that stupid.


Who, after all, has control over Taxmageddon come January 1st?



Another business fleeing Fornicalia THIS WEEK: Campbell’s Soup

It comes as no surprise to those who read my blog that I live high in the Sierra Nevada mountains and work in Sacramento, Fornicalia.

There is a reason for this.

Sacramento, of course, being the capital of Fornicalia and, thusly, the proverbial Belly of the Beast.  The Demorat Belly of the Beast.

The Beast that is responsible for the continuing destruction of this once-beautiful and once-proud state.  Taken down and disassembled peg-by-peg and piece-by-piece at the hands of Leftists, Socialists, Demorats and Social Experimenters.

To the point, now, where the state finds itself in financial insolvency, disarray, and its counties and cities charged with heeding not only onerous federal mandates but those of the state itself, as well.

Resulting in the breaking and bankruptcy of various cities and counties within Fornicalia.

And, perhaps, time to reflect: why have I always termed my state, California, as “Fornicalia“?

It is because my state ends up fucking itself as well as its inhabitants, its neighbors, its friends, its enemies — damned near everyone into which it comes in contact.

And so it continues.

In Sacramento, I recently wrote about Comcast leaving Sacramento’s call centers behind for other states.  Comcast is fleeing Fornicalia.  And rightly so.

Now, this Thursday, another major Sacramento manufacturer — Campbell’s Soupannounced it is pulling up stakes and leaving the state wholesale, to the tune of 700 jobs.  No, no “relocations.”  No, no “re-training.”  Simply leaving and laying off workers.  It has been a presence in Sacramento since 1947.

In a sentence, Sacramento lost 1,000 jobs in one week.

Demorats control the state.  They control Sacramento.  They control the electorate.  They control the purse strings.  They control all the politics.  They control the bribes, the corruption, the naked causticity of that Belly of the Beast.  Republicans and Conservatives in Sacramento and my state are nothing more than an asterisk, an addendum, a bibliography.

That said, could one possibly conclude that Fornicalia Demorat Senate President proTem Darrell Steinberg would be potentially a tad bit “concerned” when two major businesses flee the state’s capital in one week?  Hello?  Even a wee bit concerned?

Uh, no.  Apparently not.  In fact, Steinberg decided to double down:

“Senator Darrell Steinberg says that despite the Campbell’s factory shutting down, the private sector in Sacramento is improving.”



Steinberg: Economic Climate Not To Blame For Companies Leaving Region

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Lawmakers reacted to the shut down of the Campbell’s plant Thursday.

At the capital, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg says despite this latest shutdown of the Cambell’s factory, the private sector in Sacramento is actually improving.

“Facts are stubborn things, and the facts are the facts,” said Steinberg.

Within the past week, Sacramento has lost 1,000 jobs, but Steinberg says the state shouldn’t be taking the blame.

“It’s not California’s or Sacramento’s business climate, in fact, evidence is to the contrary,” said Steinberg.


But another fact remains; businesses are leaving California besides Comcast and Campbell’s. Waste Connections is leaving the area for Texas due to what their CEO called an unfriendly business climate in California, and Rancho Cordova based Vision Service Plan is threatening to follow.

But here’s the frosting on the cake:

“Come on in, talk to me, talk to the governor’s office, if there’s things we can do, things that can keep you in California and we’ll be glad to act,” said Steinberg.


It’s Business’s JOB to solicit Sacramento for workable situations.

I say NO.

It’s Sacramento’s job to beg for businesses to STAY!

So: THANKS Demorats.  You resolute losers.