Saturday, July 18, 2015

Today's Thoughts

I was paying my Kohl’s bill today – you know the place: coupons of 10, 20,30% off that constantly appear in your mail, a perpetual massive sale, and “Kohl’s cash,” the purpose of which is to bring you back to redeem it a week later.

 (An experienced shopper friend of mine often says, “Kohls is crack”)


As I paid my bill it occurred to me how much commerce has changed over the years.

When most of us were children, retail was just grateful that you crossed their thresholds and bought something.

Now, everyone is offering you either a store card or a credit card originating from that establishment.  The goal is no longer to exchange goods for money. Now most companies’ real agenda isn’t just to sell you something.

What they’re banking on is that you’ll forget/be unable to pay on time. They are now raking in the added income of all those hapless souls who are willing to pay interest in order to extend the payment period.

Related Thought

I wonder if the catalogue company known as The Company Store (a perfectly fine bedding company, by the way) ever considered the connotations in history of their name.

As it says on Wikipedia:

“Company stores have had a reputation as monopolistic institutions, funnelling workers' incomes back to the wealthy owners of the company. Company stores often faced little or no competition and prices were therefore not competitive. Allowing purchases on credit enforced a kind of debt slavery, obligating employees to remain with the company until the debt was cleared.”


  1. How right you are about companies' agenda. They seem to get a lot of people willing to play too.
    Growing up we saved for everything. Buying on the never-never was something that was discouraged and looked down on. Now? I suspect most people buy things on credit. And some people buy everything on credit.

  2. Commerce practice has changed a great deal in my lifetime. What will it be like in the next 50 years?

    1. Our children will be dandling their grandchildren on their knees and describing a long-ago time when people actually went to a store to purchase something.

  3. TV is the same. Feeding people what they want and not what they need. I have reached the time in my life where I only buy clothing if I need it and my rule is to throw something out before I bring something in.

  4. I use my credit card judiciously, and usually pay with my debit card. I just bought some tires the other day and sighed when I saw my credit card go up and will work to get it paid off before I make another purchase. I really don't like to pay interest! The Company Store of old is now long gone... isn't it?

  5. Nostalgia blurs so much. "The Company Store" sounds so rugged, loading the mules to look for gold. The history is disregarded.

  6. Boy am I glad there aren't any Kohl stores near me. I do most of my shopping on the Internet and pay my balance off every month. I use to buy my down comforters from the Company Store. They are not like the definition thank goodness.

  7. When I was a child, there was a Company Store in the town where i lived. Only families that had someone working at that company were allowed to shop there. In later years others were allowed in and that's where I bought my high school beret, they were the only store in town that carried that item. As for stores banking on customers forgetting to pay, they haven't met me have they? I pay in full before the due date. Well, I used to when I used credit cards. Now I don't have one anymore and pay cash at purchase. If I can't afford it, I don't buy it.

  8. Your mention of "The Company Store" reminds me of Jean Ritchie's amazing song "The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore." Google it if you haven't heard it. Michelle Shocked sings a wonderful version.

    You're absolutely right about the debt/credit thing. Maybe that's why retail employees so often act like they couldn't care less when we show up in one of their stores! (Well, that and the fact that they're minimum wage employees with no ownership stake in the company.)


Thanks for stopping by and I'd love to hear what you think.