My first memory of commerce had nothing to do with the actual transaction of money for goods. No, my first memories are relational - specifically how Rose treated my grandparents while we ate dinner at Alpine Restaurant inside the Creston Park Mall. I have no idea how much the meal cost, how big or little the tip my grandpa left, or if they felt they received a decent value for the money spent. Rose gave my grandpa the business and he loved every minute of it. In turn, he gave it back. That's why I loved going with them each week.
The transactional piece is always the easy part. Online retailing makes it almost an afterthought and online shopping doesn’t need to bother with the relational part of commerce. Sadly, I have seen the brick and mortar retail landscape lose what made them special. At many retailers, I am only a transaction. I started seeing it after I made my first Amazon purchase in the spring of 1998…yikes I am a 20 year Amazon subscriber. If you’re at a chain/mega store, the transaction is always key. The interaction is rarely highlighted. Remember the Wal-Mart greeters in the 1990s? They’d welcome you. They typically asked how you were. In my opinion, it was Sam Walton’s attempt to keep mega commerce somewhat relational. Have you walked into a mega store recently? It’s tough to get eye contact let alone a response if I initial the ‘hello’. It's all about the transaction and for this consumer, a transaction can be made online.
Steve Knox was born and raised in Janesville before landing back in the city later in life. This Generation X guy writes on Janesville and beyond. Steve is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.