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Shopportunity!: How to Be a Retail Revolutionary Hardcover – September 19, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
The title suggests an acerbic anticonsumerist rant, but marketing consultant Newlin is entirely serious: she wants readers to rediscover "shopping's enduring allure." Decrying the "Big Box obsession with massive quantities of cheap goods," she urges consumers to shop for the right things for the right reasons at the right places—to buy from family-owned merchants that offer pleasant environments for both shoppers and workers. Few readers will be surprised when Newlin visits a dreaded Wal-Mart and finds it "a loud, boisterous, difficult place to shop" with an "essential sadness." But the reason she wants retailers to stop offering discounts and consumers to stop buying products in bulk isn't to create a more just society; it's so we'll be happier with what we buy. Newlin argues that we get little satisfaction out of buying cheap, because "we suspect it's not quite as good"—though anyone who loves outlet shopping will be more than a little skeptical. It doesn't help that much of the book is a confusing assemblage of anecdotes and musings. But there are some useful insights for consumers, retailers and manufacturers, and some readers will certainly strive to see shopping as an experience that "should thrill the senses." (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Kate Newlin is the principal owner of Kate Newlin Consulting, where she works with Fortune 100 and entrepreneurial firms. Prior to that she was president of Faith Popcorn's BrainReserve, a trend-based marketing consulting firm. During her career, Newlin has consulted with scores of large and small companies, including Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Nabisco, Waldenbooks, Title 9 Sports, Specialized Mountain Bikes, Johnson & Johnson, WeightWatchers, and Godiva Chocolatier. She lives in New York City.
Top customer reviews
Retail organizations are no different than other organizations, in that they are living, adapting organisms. Individuals serve as parts of all organizations. As individuals develop, mature, and die, organizations have their own life cycles. Some organizations live for a short period of time, others for hundreds and even thousands of years. The question is why.
Organizations, like individual life is finite and timed: there is a natural course for each. However, there are times when individuals as well as organizations fall not as a result of having finished their natural life, but because they were not able to transform at the right time as part of their development.
Newlin's journey inside the box of big box stores reveal how we may again be on the cusp of an enormous change. It is comparable to what a physician can see in a patient. Even a physician needs a physician for health maintenance because every organism has a blind spot about itself. It is through an understanding of the dynamics of an organization - its history and identification of the forces for change that conflict with the present situation - that can lead through conflict, not around it.
In a personally provocative chronicle, Kate Newlin gives us the feeling of actually being there during the heyday - in another time, in the stores and in the minds of customers and proprietors alike. Her time and effort researching the book, her personal journey through it, result in fluency with her topic and a fluency of writing that makes the reading almost effortless.
Newlin sees a joyous ritual shattered by obsession, compulsion and some giant corporations that benefit from encouraging our addictive behaviour. We didn't like hearing it about alcohol, drugs, sex, cigarettes, gambling or food -- but we've come to accept that the addiction hypothesis does have a lot to say about the way many of us behave with regard to those substances and rituals.
And now Newlin suggests that bargains and cheap, two gallon jars of pickles, can equally lead to robotic dehumanization, sucking the joy out of what can be a meaningful exploration of the artifacts of human ingenuity, craft, art and technology. An suddenly, denial isn't just a river in Africa once again!
All I can say is that you will understand America and the world better by reading this book, you will understand yourself better too. You'll appreciate shopping more, and what it can be, which is, to Newlin, no less than an art form. What gorillas are to Goodall, boutiques are to Newlin. Does that bug you and feel politically incorrect? I can understand that. But to me, it's beautiful and inspiring as it is surprising. And it's important too, because these places are habitat to a species that means a lot to me and you: the human species. And Newlin has something important, inspiring, studied and deeply felt to say about that species.
And by the way, it's a lot of fun too.
Most recent customer reviews
Read this book and "re"discover how to enjoy shopping and buying, and stop focusing on just the price...Read more
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also prompted me to thoughtfully reflect on the type of
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