Bear with me here. A huge chunk of Canberra’s economy turns on this hat.
Recently I was in the market for a hat. Fedoras had served me well in recent years but a man needs a bit of variety and really, if you can pick one up in Target how cool can it be? (Nerf guns excepted)
And so inspired a recent(ish) Cracked article on how bowler hats were the real hat of choice for cowboys I decided gentleman cowboy could work for me.
Sadly the hat shop has gone, even from its upstairs relocation. David Jones was boarded up at the top floor, what I really needed was a search function for the Canberra Centre down to inventory level.
A light went off in my head and I went home.
I punched “bowler hats” into google and in five minutes time I was on Hatworld where for $50 a hat was in the mail arriving two working days later.
It helps that I know my hat size. And it helps that the item I was after was very specific, albeit unusual.
It’s a very fine hat (silk lining, leather inner band, feather) and you can tune into tomorrow’s RiotWrap to see how it’s going.
But with so many people pouring their life savings into mall franchises, and so many young Canberrans relying on retail jobs we might want to think how retail of the future is actually going to look.
No-one’s going to buy an unfamiliar perfume online. But once you know what you like one bottle of Chanel No 5 is much like another.
So an occasional perfume fair at the showground for introductions followed by online sales is surely going to work better in the long run than stock being lugged around the country and locked in glass boxes by surly teens?
With clothes you have to wonder if the tailor is about to make a return.
Someone who has your measurements on file, knows the online retailers backwards, can order stock in for you from anywhere AND alter it as needed AND ideally give you some advice.
(I would pay a serious premium for this service, to some extent I do when I go to John Hanna but the model just needs a few tweaks).
What won’t we buy online?
Fresh food to some extent, hardware to some extent, anything with prohibitive postage?
What am I missing here?
Advice is something that will get us through the door, but current retail models offer us generally terrible service.
On a whim the other day I stopped into EB Games to buy Diablo 3 instead of downloading it.
There was one guy on the desk, there was a queue, it took 15 minutes to give them my money.
So buying console games in the store is right now harder than buying it through the console, from my own home.
Majura Park with its big boxes and vast parking still gets a lot of my business, but the right online retailer could wipe that out in a second, the dog food I buy out there I could in theory order from anywhere.
Is the only low level job of the future going to be in parcel delivery?