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Why is there still a Target-sized hole in my heart?

Sears didn’t mean much to me. It was just a shortcut to the rest of the mall, that is until it started to get really interesting, right before it went under. A huge banner advertised a new slogan “What the Sears?”. The store was constantly under renovation. There were suddenly shelves of reasonably priced housewares and a hopeful sign that read a café was coming soon. It was a desperate makeover to stave off bankruptcy — and it didn’t work. When Sears inevitably closed, I realized with a sinking feeling the Christmas tradition staple the Wish Book was now canceled.

It was one more blow to the seemingly bleak retail landscape.

While Sears was unfortunate, and my childhood will forever miss that giant book of toys and holiday possibilities, there’s one that really hurts­— the one that got away.

The store I made a beeline for every time I went to the States was finally coming to Canada! I trekked to the Cloverdale Mall in Etobicoke on Target’s opening day, but immediately something felt off. The huge store felt empty and the stock placement seemed random. I gave it chance after chance, but it never got better. It was a big debacle, and Target eventually went back to the States defeated, leaving behind empty real-estate and its big concrete balls.

Target shot its shot and lost. It came on too strong and took on too much too fast. In its zeal to enter Canada, it had taken over all of the leases of the now defunct Zellers and quickly discovered not all the spaces were suitable to be transformed into Targets. I wondered, did Canada also play a part? Was it Stephen Harper’s fault? When he ditched the beloved long-form census did it leave the corporation without enough demographic information to make proper expansion decisions?

Whatever the case, Target it’s-not-you-its-me’d itself right out the door, and I found myself at its funeral. I wanted to say goodbye in my own way, and see if there was one last bargain to score from the sad clearance wreckage. Mourners and a handful of media were gathered. Bagpipes played. A sobbing girl laid flowers. A protestor held a sign that read, God hates fake funerals. It was…something. I guess I wasn’t the only one looking for closure.

And then, suddenly, I was hit with feelings of nostalgia for another departed store. The company that was cut to make room for Target —Zellers. I felt longing for the sales racks I had combed through with my mom, the café where I had coconut cream pie with my mother-in-law, my hometown store where the teddy bear mascot beckoned, “Come ride with me! All aboard the Zeddy wheel.” I was so psyched by Target’s arrival, I didn’t even think to miss Zellers.

Stores promise they will always be there. They promise to help everyone, “live better.” So, there’s something uniquely traumatizing about seeing a store being liquidated to the bare studs, with everything for sale, including the fixtures. The space stripped of its former meaning. And going through this process again and again, store after store, what kind of damage is that doing to the Canadian spirit?

Will all these closures scare off potential suitors?

It’s not like I’m totally without selection. There’s places where I can shop for groceries and get a pair of pajamas. Well-lit pharmacies where I can pick up prescriptions and get 40 per cent off on a bestselling paperback.

But there’s something missing. There’s not one place where I can go to for everything, a place I can wander around and get design ideas while I shop for food, and look at clothes I actually want to wear, with sizeable departments so if I’m in a hurry I don’t have to run all over the damn place.

Maybe it’s time to move beyond brick and mortar stores and embrace the future. Order everything online? But sometimes, I just don’t know what I want until I see it.

How can retail be dead anyway when the largest online retailer in the galaxy, Amazon, just opened up a store? And there was a line up around the block to get in?

I can’t help feeling like there’s something missing. Target could have been the one. But, for whatever reason, it wasn’t, and now there’s abandoned retail space that to this day sits empty and in need of revitalization. For a company that has the imagination, there’s a Target/Zellers sized hole to fill. There’s an opportunity for someone to mend the retail therapy gaps. If only someone will just step up and try.

 

Featured Image by Mike Mozart

Amazon prohibits salary inquiries for gender parity

Amazon is changing their hiring policies to ban managers from asking applicants about their previous salaries.

This is part of a US policy that is meant to reduce the gender pay gap. California, New York, New Orleans, New Jersey, Dalaware, and Pittsburg are a few of the states that have already implemented this policy. According to the Labour Code, the bill would “prohibit an employer from relying on the salary history information of an applicant for employment as a factor in determining whether to offer an applicant employment or what salary to offer an applicant. The bill also would prohibit an employer from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment and would require an employer, upon reasonable request, to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant for employment.”

The idea is that if potential employers don’t ask, then everyone entering the position will automatically be given the same starting salary based on experience and job title.

It’s an interesting concept, but there are many who believe the law could backfire and actually increase the gender pay gap. If previous salaries, or salary expectations, are not discussed, assumptions regarding the worth and value of the person being interviewed could guide the hiring process to offer certain people a lower salary.

For example, women could be offered less money than they earned previously, and be forced to either re-negotiate or accept the offer. The argument against this ban is that if women are able to firmly state their expectations and previous salary, the number in the original offer will be able to more accurately reflect their value.

The transparency element of this policy is admirable. Companies will have to provide a pay scale for the position to applicants, meaning those being interviewed will have an idea of what kind of salary they should expect.

While this is a state decision, national companies are now being forced to use this new hiring policy across borders.

It’s still a little early to determine whether or not a policy like this one will help reduce the gender pay gap or cause further challenges for women in the workplace. However, it’s an intriguing attempt by governments to take an active role in gender parity in business.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Why is everyone talking about Wonder Woman’s thighs?

Warning: possible spoilers below!

Apparently, Wonder Woman’s thighs are a big deal. Or rather, the fact that her thigh jiggled during the fight scenes inspired a tumblr post that has since gone viral.

“There were absolutely NO eye candy shots of Diana,” tumblr user creativepowerfulideas said. “There were Amazons with ageing skin and crows feet and not ONE of them wore armour that was a glorified corset. When Diana did the superhero landing, her thigh jiggled onscreen. Did you hear me? HER FUCKING THIGH JIGGLED. Wonder Woman’s thigh jiggled on a 20-foot tail screen in front of everyone.”

 

http://creativewordspowerfulideas.tumblr.com/post/161378925721/watching-a-super-hero-movie-directed-by-a-woman-is

 

I saw the movie last week, despite my earlier reservations, and have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The DC Comics universe has finally seen the error of its ways and developed an action-packed super hero film that doesn’t base its entire storyline on explosions and dark music. There was actual character development, comedic relief, and a storyline that made plausible sense.

Fans were introduced to Gal Gadot’s fierce portrayal of Wonder Woman in the film Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice. Her role was small, but enough to make an impression.

Wonder Woman — the first standalone female superhero movie AND first female directed superhero movie — picks up where Superman vs. Batman leaves off; although, you don’t have to watch that disaster of a movie to make sense of this film (thank goodness). In this origin film, the viewers get to watch Princess Diana (later to be given the alias of Diana Prince) grow into her destiny on an island full of Amazons. She chooses to leave home with an American pilot and spy, played by Chris Pine, to kill the god of war, Ares, whom she blames for the First World War.

Suddenly, Diana finds herself in a man’s world, being told not to speak, not to show her skin, and most importantly, not to fight — rules she breaks as often as she can to the amusement and frustration of others. The movie is full of quirky conversations about power, sex, and ice cream in addition to the intensely epic battle scenes.

And all the while, Wonder Woman is portrayed as a strong leader with an even stronger heart.

What stood out the most in this film was the women were not quite built like the average size zero models you generally see in super hero movies. The Amazons were fit, with big muscular arms and thighs. They were beautiful, but they weren’t dressed up for the eyes of men. They weren’t sidekicks or love interests. They were warriors. And when warriors fight, they jiggle.

Director Patty Jenkins fully embraced the idea of a film that didn’t just portray a strong woman, but a film that was MADE for strong women. My only hope is that when Wonder Woman returns in the Justice League series, she maintains that strength and power.

What did you think of the film? Let us know in the comments below!