Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bricks & mortar in Seattle

The New Yorker is still one of our best magazines, though it does have a tendency to over-think things. This week's issue has a perfect example: a lengthy analysis of Amazon's new and literal bricks & mortar bookstore in Seattle. The bricks are new but faked to look antique! (Who else would have noticed that but a TNY writer?) And the mall's many new, smaller stores fill the space once occupied by a Barnes & Noble superstore that closed four years ago! But the neatest stroke is the writer's likening of Amazon's warehouse personnel to our avatars. 

Yes! I only yesterday ordered a little spool of wire from Amazon, a five-dollar item that somebody on rollerskates retrieved from a shelf, somebody else put into a box or envelope, and yet somebody else dispatched to the nearest UPS facility. It will arrive tomorrow, along with a six-dollar parcel of toothbrushes. I could have taken an hour out of my day, driven to Newmarket, and visited the Rite-Aid and the Ace Hardware on opposite ends of town, and perhaps saved a dollar in the process. But it's so much more efficient to let my avatars do this work for me.

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