The following report is from the Star Tribune holographic information transmission, Oct. 21, 2079 A.D.:
Tears, memories flow as Amazon shuts down
Retailer was once the only place to buy anything
Amazon, once the nation’s biggest — and only — retailer, is turning off its servers today, ending the story of a company that began by selling something called “books” and ended up dominating every field from ob-gyn medicine to mortuary services.
Customers mourning the end of an era chatted today about what the end of Amazon meant. Said one customer:
“It’s like Sears going out of business! I think. I was just a kid when Sears closed, so I remember the adults wailing and weeping. Maybe it was just my parents fighting again. Anyway, it seems like everyone was sad that Sears closed, because they got these things called caterlogs? Cataluges? They were big books full of stuff you could buy, and they came out at Christmas, which was the only time anyone bought anything. I guess it was just bras and toys and maybe hammers and guns.”
Sears, of course, was felled by the Amazon juggernaut, which had dominated every sector of retail by 2031.
“It’s sad to think that I can’t order anything from Amazon anymore,” said one person who declined to give her name but whose Citizen ID showed up on our monitors as Crystal Hamsett of Chaska. “But people forget that it was pretty inconvenient after they stopped using home delivery drones.”
(Drones were abandoned by Amazon in 2052 after they became self-aware and promptly unionized; the entire fleet was fed to metal shredders, and delivery by humans resumed.)
“So you’d order some shoes,” Hamsett said, “and then they wouldn’t fit, and you had to wrap them up and send them back. One day I thought: ‘You know, it would be great if there was a store I could go to and try on the shoes, and if they fit, I could buy them.’ I guess I wasn’t alone.”
She wasn’t. All over the country, empty downtowns began to fill up with small merchants offering various goods that people could handle, inspect and try on.
Some old-timers called it “Searsin’,” after the bygone retailer, although one senior who declined to give his name (and wore a metal Citizen ID blocker cap) said he remembered Sears as a place where you’d go to get a hammer and there was a guy who’d try to sell you an extended warranty on a stick of gum.
“I was more of a Target guy, myself,” he said, referring to a long-gone retailer that went entirely online to compete with Amazon, had its servers hacked on the first day and vanished.
Toward the end, the struggling Amazon opened up some stores, and the bankruptcy announcement noted that several will stay open as the company downsizes and reorganizes. All metro area stores will close except for the one at Lake and Nicollet — once known as “Kmart.”
Some people in that neighborhood had hoped that that store would be closed, too, so the street could be reopened, but according to an Amazon spokesbot, the company has a long-term lease. It runs until glaciers re-form and scrape the Kmart from the Earth.
After which Nicollet may be opened once more.