Is retro really nouveau?

January 29, 2009

I’m no economic expert, but like many, as I hear about all the economic woes in the U.S. and globally, I want to be part of the solution. A recurring thought for me is that perhaps our 24/7society has come full circle and we now need to try some “retro” approaches.


For example, newspapers – the actual print paper – cannot completely disappear. We need them. There is a lot of information in a paper that may be on the Internet, but in a single paper, is much easier to find.


But…do we need daily papers? Perhaps it’s time for them to go back to weekly publication. A nice, big Sunday paper with all the stores’ sale circulars, calendar of events, investigative stories and of course ads because those dollars are the bread and butter of a paper.


What about stores? Do they all really need to be open 6 a.m. to midnight (slight exaggeration there)? The great majority of us work Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Why not close one or two days a week? On the weekdays when you’re open, cut your hours to 12 noon to 7 p.m. Stay open longer on the weekends when consumers have time to shop.


For those of us who cannot work around your store hours, there is Internet shopping. The 24/7 store.


Wouldn’t that beat bankruptcy and shutdown? Isn’t it better to make use of what we have then continue to add empty, neglected buildings and warehouses to the American landscape? Let’s prevent sending more people to the unemployment lines.


For other service-oriented operations – including government – cut to four days a week. Doesn’t even have to be a three-day weekend, although that might be a nice benefit for your employees. In today’s economy most people would take a four-day paycheck over no paycheck. You cut your operating expenses as you weather this financial hurricane.


Americans are creative survivors so I have no doubt we will get this turned around. I’m tired of the panic, and especially tired of mainstream media’s push to fuel that panic. Let’s stop whining, pointing fingers, crying “woe is me” and get clever about how to fix it. Look to the past to find models that can work in 2009.


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