I went out early today to try and finish my Christmas shopping. I had a few items I needed to get at a mall and I thought if I went early enough, I wouldn't hit as many crowds. I even went to Plymouth Meeting thinking it would be saner than King Of Prussia.
Wrong. No parking within a reasonable distance of a door. Long lines at every checkout counter. And for items they advertised, if I wanted a larger size, they only had small; if I wanted medium, they only had extra large.
At 2 stores I visited, I was asked for my phone number or email address. Why are we complaining about the NSA invading our privacy when we let big stores do it all the time? I also had to listen to the whole spiel about how my life would be better if I only had a store credit card. At another store I was asked if I needed Scotch tape (I wasn't buying any wrapping paper, or anything else that required tape. Maybe their message was: Our merchandise is so crappy, it'll need taping back together by the time you get home.)
On the way home, I stopped in at Zachary's BBQ on Markley Street to buy a gift card. I was greeted warmly by the women behind the counter. Chef Taylor even came out to say hi. They were busy, but treated me like a human being.
I've been treated like this in businesses all over the borough. But never in a mall. We've got something really special going for us here, and we need to promote it and expand on it.
If I could have gotten those few items here in town, I would have. Sure, maybe I'd still have trouble finding parking. Maybe I'd find long lines. At least in a small business you know they aren't skimping on sales help because of greed. Frankly, I want to see lots of people in our stores, and lots of cars outside. I'd know business is booming, and that's good for the town as a whole.
So please, Norristown, let's do everything we can to bring mom-and-pop retail shops back. If only so I don't have to go to the mall next Christmas.