Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Retail: An International Community

There has been a lot of talk of the weakness of the United States’ economy. The dollar is not worth what it used to be throughout much of the world. There is also a discussion that the United States is becoming too isolated from the rest of the world. Some say the war on terror has made much of the world hate America and made Americans fearful of the world. These lines of discourse ignore a bigger picture. There is so much more going in both of these areas of debate. It is true that many countries disapprove of the United States’ politics, but that does not mean that they hate us. Far from it, in fact they are still quite willing to pop by for a visit to take advantage of a bargain. International currency now goes much further in the United States and that is good for the economy. Europeans, Asians, Australians and others are beginning to flock to the states to partake in these low rates. This could be a limited time offer and they want to get in on the action while they still can.

For Americans it would be foolish to not take advantage of this glorious opportunity to buoy our economy. We need to get into retail shops and sell, sell, sell to our international brethren. We are hardly separating ourselves from the rest of the world. If our dollar has lost some of its value in other parts of the world that is okay. We do not need to leave our country to experience other cultures because working in retail makes you part of an international community. Not only do you sell to people from all over the world, but often work along side them. Working in retail allows you to work with Bulgarians, Slovakians and an assortment of other Eastern Europeans.

For those working in retail no other day fills them with more international pride than shipment days, also fondly known as United Nations days. Truckloads of product made from every corner of the globe come pouring into our retail stores. There is undeniable and indelible sense of gratification that one is part of something global upon opening up boxes of product made in a long list of countries including China, Peru, Singapore, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Madagascar, Thailand, India, Mexico, Taiwan and a long list of others. It is in a moment like that one realizes that the United States is hardly an island unto itself and that this great nation of ours is not separated, but very much connected to an international neighbor.

When that product, perhaps a sweater made in Sri Lanka, is then purchased by a nice elderly Irish couple it becomes clear our economy will be just fine. Once their money is credited, debited or physically handed over, the customary “Thank you have a nice day, come again” rolls off the tongue with pleasure. The sense of dignity that courses through the veins of that employee more than compensates for their poor pay and lack of benefits. They are helping the economy and are not just a member of the United State of America, but of this great planet, we call home. Sometimes it must be difficult to hold back those tears of pride before having to say, “Next costumer please.”