Nobody Goes to Stores Any More

In the "golden days" of this great nation, families would join together in their SUVs and journey to glorious "Big Box" stores, where they would wander for hours, lost, accumulating crap. Is America in danger of losing this hallowed socioeconomic tradition?

Mom and dad are divorced. The SUV was carjacked by one of the unemployed young fellas who lurk just outside the Wendy's drive-thru lane. Even worse, people these days increasingly insist upon doing their shopping on the internet, leaving our nation's grand Big Box stores as large, empty warehouses, whose depressing qualities become more and more pronounced the fewer customers they have. According to the Wall Street Journal, this is more than just an anecdote that grandpa's been muttering ever since they mentioned it on 60 Minutes; it's all too real, and it's happening with terrifying speed.

Retailers got only about half the holiday traffic in 2013 as they did just three years earlier...

Online sales increased by more than double the rate of brick-and-mortar sales this holiday season. Shoppers don't seem to be using physical stores to browse as much, either. Instead, they seem to be figuring out what they want online then making targeted trips to pick it up from retailers that offer the best price. While shoppers visited an average five stores per mall trip in 2007, today they only visit three, ShopperTrak's data shows.

Malls are dying. Amazon is booming. People are too lazy even to make their way to vending machines. Could this be the end of our hero, The Good Old American Big Box Store?

We as a nation have never been that lucky, I'm afraid. Once the Russian computer hackers drain all of our bank accounts, we'll be right back in Target, buying Cheetos with spare change.

[Photo: Flickr]