The closing of a favourite store is like losing a friend. The announcement that mighty Sears Canada is closing after 65 years is sad news for people like me who at one time spent as much time shopping at the department store and studying its catalogues as I do now on social media.
I have written before about my love affair with department stores: I still miss Eaton’s. They are places to go to dream, to check out the latest fashions and décor ideas, try a new lipstick, and at one time, get a cup of coffee and a sandwich.
Sears is a part of the community. Twelve thousand people are losing their jobs in Canada, 5,500 in Ontario alone. Pensioners are also affected as the company’s financial problems will impact pensions as well as severance payments and benefits.
For some, the loss of Sears, as well as the closing of locally-owned retailers on Main Street Canada, can be seen as a natural evolution in consumerism as more people shop online.
But their loss is a blow to journalism. For more than a century, retailers such as Sears have played a large part in the democratic eco-system. Their advertising fuels newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television stations. It pays for journalists to do their jobs informing the public about their community, the country and the world.
There are a few ideas percolating about how to pay for the free press but right now things are very challenging. In the meantime, as newsrooms cut staff or even close down, the void created by a decline in honest journalism is being filled by celebrity nonsense or fake news.
What can you do about this sad state of affairs? Shop local.