Since I’m old-school, I like to support local merchants instead of relying solely on the Internet for shopping. I recently had to replace my barbecue, so I ventured to a nearby mall to check out the selection. I can remember 20 years ago when this mall was still the local epicenter of retail activity and social interaction. Now, like many others, it appeared to be circling the drain.
Rows of shuttered storefronts with “for lease” signs in the window, others walled over to make them look like part of the architecture, and sales associates with elbows propped up on countertops, thumbing through their mobile devices instead of trying to entice the few remaining patrons into a potential sale. I can see why some of the major chains that are still anchor tenants in these shopping centers are now an endangered species.
So what happened? Two things, it seems. The first is that e-commerce has brought the brick-and-mortar world to its knees. The other is largely due to lack of preparedness. The power brokers who ran major chains into the ground clung to the hope that their obstinacy would pay off in the long run, spent money they didn’t have, and refused to adapt to or couldn’t foresee changing consumer tastes and technology. The businesses that were proactive, didn’t allow the body to outgrow the brain, and realized that pride wouldn’t pay the bills are largely still with us.
The retail world is a microcosm of how some prepare and ultimately survive, and how others equate inflexibility with survivability. Change isn’t easy and happens much to the consternation of those in its path. Just like moving to a new home, it’s stressful and the formalities are frustrating, but if you realize that change is a constant force, expecting it, preparing for it, and adapting to it become easier.
You were probably affected in some way by the banking crisis that happened about a decade ago. Greed often leads to manmade disaster, and recognizing this should motivate you to prepare while things are stable. Thanks to people who are short on memory and big on opportunism, it’s only a matter of time before another financial crisis hits us. Who knows how long the next one will last and how far reaching its implications will be. Don’t procrastinate — start buckling down now.
That being said, I’d like to introduce you to Dennis
Santiago, who wrote this month’s piece on preparing for a financial crisis. Dennis has been immersed in this world for many years, and I think his overview will inspire you to avoid prosecution. And if you ever saw the film The Big Short, you may remember what commodity Christian Bale’s character focused on after the recession — water. Pollution, deforestation, climate change, and a host of other reasons are causing worldwide shortages, so we lined up some content on long-term storage options we think you’ll find interesting.
And speaking of opportunism and greed, when unnatural forces affect our ecosystem, it has catastrophic effects on the rest of us. In this issue’s Survivalist Spotlight, we interviewed Daniel Lombard, a Chicago police officer who has also spent time on the front lines of anti-poaching efforts. It’s everyone’s duty to glean some lessons from the stewards of this planet like Daniel, lest we become endangered species ourselves. The balance of our planet and conservation of our resources largely depends on us. If we don’t wisely manage what we have, it’s only a matter of time before we start saying things like, “Remember when there used to be rhinos?” or “Remember when we used to have free drinking fountains?” Without a group effort to push for survival and sustainability, it’s our kids who will utter those dreadful sentiments.
The retail world is a microcosm of
how some prepare and
ultimately survive, and how others equate
inflexibility with survivability.