Last week, walking by a Circuit City store at lunch time, I noticed a few people out on the street holding liquidation signs. Tempted, I went inside the store and took a look around the near-empty and dark store with few remaining items collected in the front of store. There were slim pickings and but I left with a new Batman, The Dark Knight DVD and Saliva's Every Six Seconds CD for about $6.
I suppose getting these items at such a bargain price should have given me a good feeling but the truth is that the experience was a depressing one. Circuit City wasn't exactly the kind of store I would shop at but I remember the times when the stores were vibrant and thriving. There were lots of merchandise on the shelves with shoppers zigzagging the isles and talking to the many associates.
Today Circuit City shuttered its doors for the last time, joining the other bygone stores like CompUSA and Nobody Beats The Wiz. I couldn't help but feel a bit of guilt over the demise of this business, the throngs of people who have lost their jobs as a result, and the neighborhoods blighted by yet another failed store.
In a way the failure of Circuit City is emblematic of the ailing economy as a whole. Whatever satisfaction I might have felt for getting a bargain, quickly turned into an empty and hopeless feeling that the fabric of our economy is fast unraveling under the weight of the economic crisis. I realize that we can't wish the bad times away, but I don't want any more liquidation sales and bankruptcy-driven bargains. I want to walk into a store and see it buzzing with shoppers. Christmas and independence-day sales are just fine with me.