34 thoughts on “March 19, 2017

  1. It’s GNC – General Nutrition Centers. They survive because there’s a sucker born every minute. That’s not to say there is no value in nutritional supplements, but if they sold what really had value, you could find all their products in a single wardrobe. But no industry is more susceptible to the propagation of pseudoscience than the diet, health, and nutrition sector. Just say “trillion dollar industry” and you have the motivation to do and say anything to get a slice of that pie.

  2. Perhaps the better question is why haven’t they been as hard hit by the internet like the 3 prior examples? Trust?

    • My guess is, is that either people don’t want to buy that product online or they sell the kind that are hard to find. I know a year ago I had to get some niacin supplements and the local GNC was the only place selling it. I tried to find it at Walgreens or Walmart but no luck.

    • Sales people selling you on supplements you don’t need? It’s easier to ignore the upsells online than to ignore a persistent sales person.

    • I agree. Any business’ success can be chalked up to “a sucker born every minute” or “the salespeople are good at what they do.”

    • I know that the only times I ever set foot in a supplement store is to buy essential oils for when I have a cold. I know it sounds like complete hogwash, but if you put one drop each of peppermint, oregano, lemon and tea tree oils into a steaming mug of water that you hover over and inhale (seriously, don’t drink that crap) , that will clear out your sinuses *immediately* while you wait for your decongestant to take effect. Many people will be inclined to say “Well, of course the steam is what really unclogs your nose.” The steam plays a big part, but trust me, those oils do make a HUGE difference.

      • Depends on the person, I think. Peppermint (and mint, menthol, and so forth) help me a little, lemon wouldn’t do a thing, and oregano would make me stuffier. My go to for clearing my sinus is horseradish or mustard seed.

        • Well, more than anything else, the lemon is to make it smell nicer. The combination of peppermint, oregano, and tea tree doesn’t smell *bad* to me, but I know that if I don’t have any of the lemon it’s not quite as pleasant, and therefore not as appealing to hover over for a long time.

    • When your marketing is all about achieving/holding onto a more attractive youthful appearance, something which plays a major role in social status, it’s probably pretty easy to manipulate people through such desires. Especially when you face minimal to next to no regulation whatsoever in the peddling of your wares.

  3. I expected the next to last panel to be someone asking, Why? And the last panel showing someone using their phone to order something on-line.

  4. The WSJ has had articles about this very issue several times recently – stores going out of business, pulling out of malls, and malls closing. I don’t know about GNC – I never see anyone in those stores, either. But the big name stores and many of the big box stores are becoming index items in retail history. Sears. Macy’s. Borders. My thought is all the stores not only lost out to Amazon.com, eBay, etc. because they failed to change their business models. Go into one Macy’s and you’ve been to all Macy’s. How can Kohl’s keep giving out those deep discounts and make money? Why does Target always look and smell slightly dingy? At WalMart, the store is ugly (which is why I never shopped in KMart), and checking out is never easy or fast. So, retailers want to behave as though it’s still 1990 when, in fact, generations of shoppers have moved on.

    • Spot on. I hardly ever shop in one of the big chain stores anymore (mostly Walmart and only when I need something cheap and quick), and I never go to malls.

      Shopping online is so much easier, and I can get exactly what I want for better prices.

    • I’ve never been in a Target that was dingy. Perhaps it’s regional. But you’re spot on about Macy’s and Wal-Mart. ESPECIALLY Wal-mart. 8 billion checkout stations and only 3 ever have cashiers at them.

    • According to an article a couple of weeks ago in “That Oregon Life” there are still somewhere between 11 and 15 Blockbuster stores operating, all of them franchises. (The store you mention must be in Bend, Redmond, or Sandy, as those are the only three in Oregon, all owned by the same franchisee.)

      There are also nine locations in Alaska and Texas which are apparently also owned by a single franchisee, and 27 in Australia … this according to Wikipedia and linked references from same.

      There were 51 franchise locations left when the corporate-owned stores shut down in 2014, according to the never-updated list at the Blockbister website.

      There are still independent video rental stores, but I doubt any of them are in malls. Here in the San Fernando Valley the last well-known indie is standalone in a big building that used to be a paint store, and they stay afloat by being open until midnight seven days a week and by buying and selling used DVDs and by having a respectable adults-only section in the store.

  5. That would probably have something to do with how much supplements cost. When you potentially only need to sell five bottles for make rent, and another two to make payroll, you’re going to be able to stay open.

  6. And yet, I still I have to go to a brick-and-mortar dealership and fight with a salesman if I want to buy a car.

    When are auto sales going online?

    • When people don’t mind not test driving something they’re just about to drop tens of thousands of dollars on and signing a 3 to 7 year contract to pay it off.

  7. I think Panels 1 and 2 need to be switched. Music Stores went deader than a dodo faster than the bookstores (partially because the bookstores pretty much “integrated” the music parts into their storeplans).

    • Depends on the kind of music stores. The ones that sell instruments have gone their own way. As opposed to the record stores.

    • May I suggest that the next time you put up a link that you want taken seriously, use something other than a wiki entry. Since any wiki “article” can be changed at the slightest whim of someone, they aren’t the gospel of any subject. You might want to put up a more reliable reference as your link instead.

  8. Funny thing that, vitamin/health food stores… The people who work there somehow always look spectacularly unhealthy.

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