I made an effort to visit my local Dick Smith store in its final days, I’m a cheapskate and I was hoping to score a TV cheaper than a happy meal.
Warped with morbid curiosity, I strolled down Timaru’s main street, rubbing my hands together like Scrooge McDuck hoping that I would uncover Dicks hidden treasure and then run off home quicker than Usain Bolt and sell it for much more than what I paid for it on Trademe.
As I walked into the store (well what was left of the store) I was actually shocked. The back of the store had been closed off, and the very little stock they had left mainly consisted of the stores furniture and fittings.
The budding re-seller in me instantly died as I found myself pondering 10 years ago when I walked through the same doors for a job interview. Back then the store was flooded with people, as I remember it Dick Smith was still selling electrical components and had only just started stocking more consumer electronic stuff. I remember saying to the manager interviewing me “I don’t really know too much about the component stuff” He said it wouldn’t really matter as they were moving more and more into TV’s, stereos, gaming consoles etc. etc. and that the other staff didn’t really know much about it either. As I caught myself thinking about this in-store, I looked across at the busy man behind the desk – the last man standing. I couldn’t help but think how much crap he would have taken from customers and management in the downfall of the Dick Smith Dynasty and thought, ‘Fuck, that could have been me’. I never took the job, and not because I didn’t know a thing about electronic component stuff, but the pay I was offered was shit.
What was left in the Timaru store was a single shelf that had a realms of paper that would have been used to write the prices on and also a wall of HDMI cables, micro USB chargers and bloody Samsung phone cases. Oddly enough the 2 or 3 TV’s they had left there, weren’t the same prices as a happy meal but closer to retail.
Long gone was the store I use to frequent to see what the latest and greatest was, what was left was a retail cemetery.
I left the store with some cheap memory cards that I spotted behind the counter, the last man standing that served me was still pleasant and friendly, despite the hell I could only imagine they had endured.
As I left the store I took one look back and thought to myself ‘I wonder how many other stores will turn into this’ As consumers buying and spending habits change to take advantage of online shopping, ebay, trademe etc. etc. Will there be more fatality’s yet? I think so, sure Dick Smiths mismanagement wouldn’t have helped, but those years ago when I walked in there for that interview I wouldn’t have shopped online once a month and now I do it almost daily.
Rest in Peace Dick Smith. Once a powerhouse in the retail world.