TWO CENTS FROM SPENCE: Darwin Was Right
Little Brother is finally old enough to hand out the beat down.
Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 16:02
The idea of the Internet becoming a daily facet in everyone's life appears to be a quaint, dare I say, cute idea. A digital world where one can get electronic mail while getting free sports, breaking news, and porn in a matter of clicks is a modern-day Valhalla. Big businesses thought the Internet was a friend too, an easy way to sell overstocked merchandise at a quicker pace with online exclusives. Everything was going great for big retail business until little brother finally kicked them in the ass.
Blockbuster Inc., the former movie rental giant, announced this week that the company has decided to put itself up for auction after plans for bankruptcy fell through. There are many factors in the scenario, but things have to be going badly when plans for bankruptcy fall through.
This comes on the heels of last week's news that book retailer, Borders Group Inc., is closing one-third of their stores as part of a Chapter 11 filing.
It's just staggering how people are still amazed that big businesses are going under because of the Internet. This is something that has been happening to the print media for years, but obviously most people care more about purchasing the umpteenth billion James Patterson novel used on Amazon instead of being informed on state, national and world news. It's almost like a cry-wolf effect where everyone declares the Internet as a harbinger of financial doom, but are still shocked when it finally happens.
For the record, financial doom should happen. It's inevitable. Not for everyone, but for Borders and Blockbuster in particular. These are antiquated models whose bubbles should have burst long ago. The world we now live in financially is completely different from the one that took Borders and Blockbuster to the their primes. For example, the disposable income that is required for these businesses to thrive is becoming a luxury, exponentially by the day. It was only within the past two years that these two businesses attempted online sales and promotions. By that time they were only an afterthought to a myriad of online companies selling the same product cheaper and more efficiently. Take Netflix for example. You can order unlimited films for a month at a slightly higher price than one Blockbuster rental.
And the same goes for Borders. Unless you're an employee (soon to be a former employee) with a 40 percent discount, the only discount for people who are actually trying to save is online.
The point is this: no one can sanely deny that the Internet is the wave of the future. But honestly, the Internet and new technology are both yesterday's news. That's the problem with the job market today. What few jobs are available require a skill set that people can't afford to learn or are too lazy to acquire. The unemployed and struggling big business, share the same problem and must learn one important piece of information — learn to adapt or get left behind.