They’re here – specialty stores that sell nothing but light bulbs
Light bulbs, at least to me, have never been a particularly glamorous thing. Oh sure, there are millions of them lighting up Las Vegas, creating a glittery dream of stardom, wealth, and eye candy, but ultimately the art is created with light bulbs.
I said “light bulbs” as if they were of no great importance and we all know that is certainly not the case. Yes, light bulbs “light up” the world; but light bulb specialty stores?
It used to be that when you needed light bulbs you bought them, generally, in one of three places. You purchased them in a grocery store, a hardware store, or a large drug store like CVS. Yes, there were stores (sometimes called a five and dime – a name from the 1800’s and early 1900’s when everything in the place cost a nickel or a dime) like the old Woolworth’s which is no longer in business. These “general” stores also sold light bulbs as do newer general stores like Costco and Walmart.
Most people still get their light bulbs at the grocery store while shopping for groceries, at the drug store while waiting to have a prescription filled, or at one of the huge “home stores” like Home Depot while buying car/truck loads of other things. But now they no longer have to. Now they can drive to see an expert in light bulbs who will help them with all their light bulb requirements.
Have we gone too far with specialization, or is this a backlash at the too-big, too-everything store?
Lately it seems that we want our “shopping experiences” in one of three ways. We want to go to the “we’ve got it all and we mean it!” store, we want to shop at super-specialty stores, or we get it online. In other words, we want Costco or we want The Linen Store which enables us to find everything at a huge place or one thing at a small easy-to-access place or an online store like Amazon. There is nothing wrong with this, of course, except that at times it can make shopping more difficult. Yes, on the surface it appears to make shopping easier, but in reality it often doesn’t.
Why doesn’t this simple arrangement make shopping easier? Because too often you have to go to both places when you were sure just a quick trip to one of them would suffice. You get the nails at Home Depot then remember that the dining room light bulb is out and you don’t have any more at home. “No problem,” you think, “I’ll just get some while I’m here.”
Except that you buy the wrong kind. Yeah, you were sure you knew what to buy, but when you got home you realized they were wrong. You needed not only round bulbs, but round bulbs that would fit into a small socket. A small socket of a special kind. So you take one of the bulbs with you and go back to Home Depot. You’re sure that Home Depot will have the right bulb, because Home Depot has millions of things and pretty much always has what you need. Except this time. Yes, you search and search and search, but no bulb. You ask someone and he /she looks carefully at your bulb and declares that they haven’t seen a bulb like that in years. Good luck in finding one.
What do you do? You run home, google light bulbs, and find a store that sells nothing but light bulbs. So you drive over, show them the bulb and they hand you the replacement in seconds. Sure, that new bulb costs $17 but you have one.
On the way home you vow to replace the dining room light with one that uses regular bulbs, not $17 ones. Or, you finally just do what you should have done, get it online before you needed it and could shop for a good price.
Photo credit: http://galleryhip.com/light-bulb-tumblr.html