7 Retail Miracles
Department stores have been dying for three decades; it must be the longest time any business format has spent on its deathbed, yet they are still around, signing 20-year leases. That is a miracle.
Consultants predicting the rise of some technology and the death of others and the future that will pan out in a certain way, get it wrong more often than not. Yet they keep getting invited to prognosticate on stages all over the world as if they actually know what they are talking about, and they never get caught out. That is a miracle.
Lease agreements are anachronistic, one-sided form of institutional torture propping up archaic business models at the expense of the little (voting) people, yet these have never been mentioned in the same breath as Royal Commission or senate enquiry. That is a miracle.
When two supermarket chains control 70% of the market, 80% of the suppliers and 90% of all the good locations, and a new entrant can become a fast growing, number one-ranked in customer satisfaction business success story - that is a miracle.
When a group of companies (banks) can use publicly funded infrastructure (telephone networks) to tax citizens on so-called free trade (eftpos charges) at a rate that constitutes about one quarter of the business’s net profits) without any sign of revolt - that is a miracle.
When the Government creates a set of rules that allows non-citizens (large corporations) to use the public infrastructure (educated workforce, roads, water etc) to generate large benefits for themselves, whilst making zero contribution (pay no tax); yet at the same time the same Government rigidly clamps down on a small business (little people who vote for them) who may be a day late on their BAS returns and pay immensely disproportionate amounts of tax; and there isn’t a civil war - that is a miracle.
What to conclude from all this?
The limits of human stupidity knows no bounds.
But there is also the seventh miracle:
Every day, across the wide expanse of this great nation hundreds of thousands shopkeepers in little shops bravely set up and open their shops without a customer in sight. But somehow, from somewhere (no marketing, no brand, no strategy) yet customers start appearing, with money and their pockets and they buy - barely enough for the shopkeepers to return the next day and do it all over; but they DO - that is a miracle.
Human ingenuity also knows no bounds. And despite uneven playing fields, unfavourable odds and seemingly insurmountable obstacles - the little guys keep the wheels of commerce turning.
These are the true heroes of the nation who suffer, but persevere. And this is no hyperbole. It is one thing to face a single tragedy with bravery, but it takes a soul-destroying effort to grind it out day after day after day after day after day after day after day - with no prospect of great wealth of other reward.
These are the men and women who should be our Australians of the Year. Not another overexposed media personality or over-privileged sports star. So, this Australia Day, when you are out celebrating, have a look around and honour those little guys who opened their doors for you.
Image credit: http://www.iosho.co.in