The Dinosaur in the Room: Brick & Mortar Retail

I’m absolutely in love with Amazon. Whoever created it is a mythical genius. However, I know firsthand that my love for online shopping is quickly aiding in the demise of shopping malls.

The irony is, I’ve worked in malls for almost two decades and truth be told, I am completely over them. It is such a hassle to get dressed and drive over to a mall, when I can simply sit at home in my undergarments and buy all of my must-have items. The reality is that I’m not the only shopper who feels this way. With the evolution of technology, you can virtually purchase anything so why would I choose any other way to shop?

Unfortunately this new-age way of thinking/shopping not only puts stores out of business, but it also leaves their workers unemployed in the process. The decline of brick and mortar retail has put a huge strain on the physical retail industry. Online sites are booming with sales, while many brands are closing its doors.

On the plus side there may be many positive, social shifts with all of the empty and open mall spaces. Now smaller business have an opportunity to rent larger spaces at a fraction of the cost because of the bigger brands leaving with little to no intention of returning. There’s also hope that many of these empty malls will be restored into community spaces such as churches, fitness centers, libraries and art galleries. Another possibility is remodeling those older buildings into rental complexes. These possibilities give more entrepreneurs and small business owners an opportunity to invest in upcoming projects which is huge for economical growth in many communities.

So how will we benefit from all of these changes? Well it may take time before immediate change happens, however this could be a great rebirth for upcoming generations. Instead of having a local mall for hang out, there could ultimately be a local gym, recreational center or even a hip new gallery for teens and young adults to meet and interact. With our younger generations being so tech-savvy and heavily invested in their phones, these reinventions may be just the thing needed to improve personal and professional development amongst our youth.


Philadelphia Housewifely

It was never my intention to become a stay at home girlfriend, this position kind of fell into my lap somewhat.

For months, I remained home working on a few projects, feverishly looking to utilize my degree, but ultimately taking care of my boyfriend was my biggest priority. My mother liked to call me “Suzy Homemaker”, making the duties feel a little more humbling. After waking up to shower, brush my teeth, make coffee or a smoothie and work on my own projects, the remainder of my day consisted mainly of taking care of my boyfriend. I would make sure his lunch was packed, clothes picked out, even down to his colognes which were picked out by me…

I was living a Housewife’s dream to say the least. My boyfriend made sure my phone had continuous charge before he was off to work, and I made sure to be available by it. Once he was gone, my job became household chores, errands and figuring out what’s for dinner. Of course I made time for myself, but ensuring my man had the best to come home to became my number one priority.

Initially, there were a few adjustments. Okay, many to say the least. When my boyfriend moved in, I saw firsthand of his male grooming and I was not impressed. But I loved him and he’s taking care of home right? So I thought the best thing to do was to correct and improve. In no time, I went from girlfriend to mom.

Talk about slow but sure romance killer. I was so torn because my boyfriend is the basic “ideal boyfriend”.

Flowers, candy, and jewelry. Diamonds, steakhouse and gifts. Sweet right?

But the bitter would come shortly after. He would do these lovely things and complain about how much he’d spent afterwards. The complaining would go from hours to days. Days, to me no longer being attracted. And the money complaining turned into complaining about everything, and I was still unhappy with the person that loved me so much.

And just like that, the tenure ended.

Back in May, I would’ve never seen this coming. However when the “coming” comes? Well it unfortunately leaves exactly the way it actually came in.

On Sunday, my boyfriend packed up all of his belongings in about 2-3 hours and moved out. I still, have very little to say. The truth is, I have so much to say but can’t really form the sentences to say it. As I laid in my towel on the couch watching him throw all of his clothes into shopping bags, the only words I could bring myself to say is, “It would be easier to use the 30 gallon trash bags,” followed by, “Can you make sure I get my key back? Thanks.”

That’s all I could say. I didn’t have any fight or argument left in me, and I damn sure couldn’t bring myself to beg him to stay. It’s sounds ice-box cold, but the truth is that we were way passed the point of begging one another to stay. Our relationship was the epitome of true bittersweet, because I’m sure I just might tell my future daughter to be with a man that will love her the way my ex loved me. However, the rest of his behaviors are major red flags for any woman including me. It’s also a bittersweet feeling because I really believed my boyfriend was a good man, and to be frank he generally is. But after living with one another I quickly realized this good man just wasn’t the good man for me.

My dilemma and fears of all the negative factors clouding our relationship just became too much for us to bear. I was a Philadelphia/Suburban Housewife(y), and any other woman might tell herself that she wouldn’t mess up that situation for the world. Well, meet a woman that didn’t want just that title and lifestyle, but to actually incorporate some spontaneous and spicy romance.

In addition, there was a bigger subject that secretly plagued. In this relationship, you could say that my name was, Faith and my exes’ was Fear. Have you ever heard the saying, “Faith and Fear cannot live in the same house?” Let me be the first to tell you that statement is absolutely true.

I won’t pretend to have been perfect in this second go-around relationship with my ex, but one thing I tried to maintain consistently was the “Faith” in the positive directions over our lives. Call it, “head in the clouds or overly-optimistic”, but I truly believed going into this that we were bound to come out of this on-top and elevated. I was initially so sure about our future, and I’m sure he was too. But after moving in, and shortly after my work situations changed, my ex instantly began to hyperventilate. His financial cushion was one of his major priorities in addition to getting a home.

So as I stayed home in relentless mode trying to figure my next direction out, he would go to work and overly stress about any and everything. Again, I won’t portray myself to be the perfect saint. However I can confidently say that my ex didn’t have to step in on any of my personal bills while we lived together. All of my immediate bills were handled on my dime, however things needed around the house meant my boyfriend had to step up and for a good amount of time. Until my boyfriend became a walking accountant over his finances.

So, he was in fear of the financials, and not to mention my school debt accumulation. His thought process was all about how my debt could affect him in any way. He didn’t want any parts of that, which was fair. I again, agreed that my school loans wouldn’t intervene in any financial plans we had. I had the utmost faith in the future ventures I’d get into to be able to square away all of my college baggage. He had the luxury of living home until he was 32, so his debt accumulation was non-existent. I couldn’t resent him for this, but I couldn’t praise a 32 year old man for living at home with his mother either. Especially a mother that hated me.

Now this is unfair, and again I am not a perfect being, but I am faithful. My ex was taught on the fear of people, things and places. I’m certain his mother taught him to fear me as well, but more importantly I was raised in the faith system. So how do you live with someone that is in constant fear, when your goal is to live in constant faith? No amount of money could make these realities easier to bear.

Last Sunday as I cleaned, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was losing myself by the minute and I became resentful of who I became constantly trying to be perfect for his mother and prove her wrong. I spent so much time trying to prove to them that I was the best woman he’d ever had. I may have become successful at that but I was miserable, walking on eggshells about finances and his disapproving mother in my own home. I told him that night to sleep on the couch. He decided to pack his things and leave instead.

So I laid on the couch, watching him and didn’t say much. Now five days in, I keep playing the scenario over in my head suggesting I should’ve said more. But what is there to say when you’ve said all you could? “I love you, but I can’t stand the constant bickering?” I opted not to say anything based on my new found fears and resurrecting pride. The only faith I continuously have is that I will find happiness and love because the two shouldn’t be so far from one another.