I shop at "big box" stores as much as anyone else. Around here, there doesn't seem to be much of a choice. We don't have a Main Street in town; instead, it's strip malls along a state highway.
As the kids have gotten older, birthday parties have gone by the wayside, so except for graduations, we haven't needed to visit the party store. I go there every February to stock up on colorful tablecloths for the Cub Scouts' Blue and Gold Dinner.
This year I did that shopping a little early, because Party Land won't be here in February. Just before Christmas, Party City opened directly across the street, in a strip mall owned by the same landlord. It's got the advantage of a location with much more foot traffic.
I told Little Brother when we first saw the signs for Party City that Party Land would close within a year. Unfortunately, it only took a month.
So yesterday I headed over to Party Land before it closes its doors for good--to pick up blue and gold tablecloths for next month's Cub Scout dinner.
As I told TheDad this morning, I felt really crummy doing so. And I don't quite understand why. I needed to get those tablecloths anyway. I was going to buy them at Party Land anyway. I just wasn't going to buy them until February. Yet when I walked into that store yesterday, it was crowded with five times more customers than I'd normally see in the middle of a school day. People were loading up carts with all kinds of things, squealing over going-out-of-business bargains.
All I bought was a dozen or so blue and gold tablecloths. That didn't stop me from feeling rotten as I stood in line behind people with loaded-up shopping carts.
I'm glad that this will be the last year I do a Blue and Gold Dinner. I don't think I could stomach getting those tablecloths at the competition.
And now my town will have one more empty storefront as one more family business owned by a local guy for over 25 years will close its doors.
That doesn't really feel like progress to me.