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Word Pollution (3.18.07)

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Sunday, 18 March 2007
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I work in a shopping mall. A shopping mall that has 2 CD stores, and 3 department stores which have CD sections in it. With a new Nine Inch Nails CD coming out soon, I thought I would go and see what CDs or DVDs were in the shops and grab something I didn’t already have. You know, whet my appetite.

So on my hour lunch break I head in to CD shop #1, hmm…there seems to be a NIN header, but alas, no CDs on the shelf. Oh well, I still have a few more places to look. Into CD shop #2 I stroll. Again, NIN header, but no CDs. As for the N section of the music DVDs, all that fills that space is a single copy of Nirvana’s Live! Tonite! Sold Out!

With my CD store options exhausted I try Department store #1. There doesn’t even seem to be a NIN header here, and the DVD section also only holds the same lonely looking Nirvana DVD. (as for department stores #2 and #3, I already know they stock nothing but Top 40 so I don’t even bother.)

Now, it may appear that I have in fact visited three separate music outlets. Ah, well see, you are incorrect. What has just happened is that I have been into three different outlets all owned by the same company. With their exact same range, exact same prices and exact same specials, the only thing that varies between them are the names on their signage.

So there are a few things that I don’t understand about this whole situation. Firstly, How would these outlets survive if they have the same product at the same prices. The only difference between each of them is their location—located throughout the mall—people are lazy and will buy from whichever one is closest to them. And so they should, because if I go into CD store #1 and see that they have a CD I want on sale for $20, I might think…”ooh I wonder how much it is at CD store #2 and #3.” Well, no point wondering. It is the same “sale” price in all of them, marked with the exact same bright red sticker. No need to shop around, there is no variation.

I am disappointed. Or am I just old? Is it the case that all of the bands I like are no longer popular with the teens or tweens or whatever they are called these days, thus it has no right to grace the shelves of a modern CD store?

I think to myself that surely if one of these stores decided to stock everything that the others didn’t it would mean happier customers and better business for them all? Or what about an independent CD store moving into the center? Realistically that would not happen as the rent is so high that no one besides the big companies (who actually own most of the smaller outlets that fill the center anyway) could afford them.

I walk back to work, sad, disillusioned, and without a CD (or having eaten any lunch).

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