Herbert let the final customer out, a lady all the way from Missouri who bought a purple coat.

He closed the store for the last time.

He had expected more ceremony. Only one journalist had come to bear witness.

Since Ancient Greece there had been shops – physical places with goods to sell. 5th Avenue, Oxford Street, the Champs-Élysées: these were the shopping meccas.

Bloomingdale’s on Michigan Avenue was the last in the world to go.

Shopping was now done solely in front of a screens.

Herbert would be back on Monday morning to open Bloomingdale’s new flagship Order Fulfillment Centre.

Copyright Marie Gail Stratford

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

120 thoughts on “THE LAST SHOP

  1. Well, it’s just evolution. The hypermarkets came in and closed the mom and pop stores and all the other quaint little stores one could find in a market place. This is just the next step. Well written, Iain.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Dear Iain,

    A sad, all too realistic fiction. We shop in front of a screen and avoid human interaction. And the lady from Missouri (who incidentally, does own a purple coat 😉 ) is as guilty as the next person. Well done.



    Liked by 2 people

  3. Since I’ve always disliked shopping, I don’t mind doing it online. However, it is very sad to see wonderful buildings and businesses collapse. We live near Philadelphia, famous for Wanamaker’s, among several others. It no longer exists. I think Macy’s bought it, but somehow it’s just not the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey, to all of you prophets of doom who are forecasting the death of the shop, there’s also been the resurgence in the local market, at least here in Australia. We have local general markets and Farmers’ Markets. We also have loads of small businesses. You might not be aware but Starbucks was a dismal failure here because people preferred their intimate local cafe. Where I live, we also still have what has become a rare breed…an independent bookshop. I always like to touch and feel what I buy and prefer a relationship with the seller as well. Some personal interaction.
    Lastly, you will have to kill me before I give up my pen. It works very well alongside my laptop and is much more portable and can fire up immediately to capture my racing thoughts while the laptop is still trying to wake up.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 7 people

      1. We’ve seen a bit of a small scale revival of the small shops here. I also live in a beach community 1.10 hours train ride from the heart of Sydney and is considered part of Greater Sydney. I struggle with crowds and huge shopping complexes so prefer our local shops especially at Christmas time. Most of my family gets books or something I’ve salvaged from the op shop. It’s my husband’s birthday and I managed to find him a knight and you open his sleaves up and there are shot glasses and his stomach concealed a whisky flask. That was a great find just down the street and he’s very difficult to buy for. Actually, the knight would make a great FF photoprompt. It’s a torso and is made of some kind of silver bronze and has a proper helmet and everything. My husband loves King Arthur.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. You paint a dismal picture for those of us who want to touch the things we’ll wear before we buy them. Or prefer a few moments face-to-face with a cashier to the indifferent automated voice instructing us through self-checkout. On the other hand, just think, all those social misfits hiding in their cellars, living life vicariously through RPGs and social media, will have fewer reasons to venture out into the real world to mess it up for the rest of us.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. It’s an interesting thought, but I wonder if brick and mortar stores will ever completely go away. True, we buy many things online, but I still imagine if you want to purchase a car or motorcycle, you’ll want to actually kick the tires, so to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am less pessimistic, I believe that new uses for many shops will appear. At the moment it is coffee and charity shops. Hopefully in time New artisans will redevelop our High St shops. So that we authors can tell their tales.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I looked to see if you’d classified this as ‘Dystopian fiction’…!
    You’ve chosen some good details to draw us into the story – the purple coat, shops in Ancient Greece, only a single journalist; all these brought with them collateral images that made the story so much richer. Well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Happy to say I’ve done a mix of face-to-face and online shopping today, but I fear the prophecy in your story might come true. It’s timely too, with news coming out today that the Mary Portas project to revive town centre retail doesn’t seem to have succeeded.


  10. Now that I’m a “woman of a certain age” I do most of my shopping online. Eddie Bauer, Land’s End…. No dressing up for me – until I make a trip to the symphony, then I wear a skirt. Nicely done, Iain

    Liked by 2 people

  11. What comes around . . . goes around. I remember Walmart coming to town and putting all the little shops out of business. Now . . . here coming Amazon putting big stores out of business. . . . Wonder what is going to put Amazon out of business ??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If anything I hope it is the small local grocers and bakers that survive while the bigger corporate shops are replaced by online shopping. I could see that happening.


  12. A timely piece, lain. It seems brick and mortar stores will be a thing of the past one day. Convenience seems to be the reason. Changes they are a coming. Who knows when it will be completely on-line shopping but it seems to be peeking right behind our shoulders. Nicely done ….
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It so feels like a possibility. I like to think we’ll always have a mix of the two – on-line for those items that are not accessible and still have the stores for us to amble in and interact with people. Though there are those who will forever abandon that, sadly.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s