Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Time To Shop Elsewhere: A Few Simplistic Observations on the Recent Closing of The United States of America and Its Subsidiaries.




Let me acknowledge that my perspective is limited and simplistic. I am not well-versed in political science, except where that applies to being a subject of the Kingdom of God and the attendant attitudes and behaviors He requires of me as a citizen of a secular nation. And…let’s see, what other excuses can I make? I guess that’s about it. So, here’s my relatively ignorant observations of what is, certainly, a far more complex reality, especially for those who are employees of the currently shuttered storefront that is The United States of America.

If I were to arrive today at our local hardware store in order to purchase the materials for a particular repair that our home needed, and they were unexpectedly closed in the middle of a weekday when they have previously advertised they would be open for business, then I would hope that there would be some sign in the window that told me how long I would have to make do without the part, and I could plan accordingly. But no matter how long I might be able to delay the repair, if the sign in the window said “Closed Indefinitely,” then I would make my purchase elsewhere, and go on about my business.

As I have considered why this illustration does not apply to the suspension of operations at The United States of America, these are the potential reasons that I have identified.

  • First, it is possible that The United States of America and its franchisees all assume that they offer products and services that cannot be provided through other vendors. Therefore, they can stay closed as long as they like, knowing that we will all wait patiently to make our purchases at whatever point they reopen.
  • Another explanation could be that all of The United States of America’s branch offices have completely run out of inventory, and see no reason to spend their employees’ valuable time handing out rain-checks in hopes that someone will eventually manufacture enough product to fill all their back-orders.
  • Finally, though, there is the strong suspicion that The United States of America chain believes that its customers will continue to renew their subscriptions, allow their electronic-funds transfers, and keep up their membership dues, whether the facilities, goods, and services are available or not. Stranger things have happened.

In their catalog, The United States of America lists only a handful of products. Whether or not one thinks they have effectively delivered them in the past, the question seems appropriate: “Isn’t there somewhere else we could shop for these?” For those who skipped a day or two in High School Civics class, those products are: “a more perfect union,” “justice,” “domestic tranquility,” “the common defense,” “the general welfare,” and “the blessings of liberty.”

I am aware of at least one other supplier offering a very similar inventory. And, having been turned away from my usual source for these goods, even temporarily, I hope that the staff and management of The United States of America will understand that when (or if) they eventually reopen, I probably won’t be a customer. (Unless, of course, they run a really good sale.)

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