Courtesy of Mike Mozart via Flickr under CC BY 2.0

Bed Bath & Beyond, once a leading home goods company, is closing its doors for the last time on June 30. Bed Bath & Beyond, founded in 1971, is one of the many leading retail stores that have filed for bankruptcy and closed their stores for good in the past decade. However, the constant changes in consumer preferences and other big retail competitors like Amazon, Target and Walmart led the company to soon lose its peak and eventually declare bankruptcy in April after multiple failed attempts to improve their financial income. The growth of e-commerce and online shopping has effectively boxed these companies out in a way that sets a bad precedent.

The downfall of Bed Bath & Beyond has caused many to wonder whether big box stores will still be around in the future. Online shopping is now more popular, and e-commerce stores, such as Amazon, have taken advantage of this trend. Continuing to allow the rise of e-commerce will only allow these companies to create a monopoly in the future. 

Although the rise of e-commerce has raised questions about continuing big box stores, discontinuing big box stores will greatly affect the economic crisis we are already in. Many people still depend on these retail stores for jobs, as well as affordable and discounted prices. Taking this away from them will only cause an increased economic crisis as e-commerce giants will eventually have no incentive to price their products fairly in what is becoming a non-competitive market.

This will adversely affect low-income minorities disproportionately. Certain stores, like Food 4 Less, specifically target the needs of low-income communities by offering competitive pricing and coupons. Additionally, the shipping costs added with e-commerce purchases present an added cost that some people cannot afford.

While online shopping does, in some ways, eliminate shopping challenges faced by many disabled individuals, it also presents problems for the elderly population who do not have the experience to navigate an e-commerce store. Online shopping doesn’t need to be eliminated, but it needs clear and hard limitations in order to cater to a variety of needs.

The continued dominance of online shopping will also take jobs away from people who do not have or cannot afford to get an advanced or high school degree. There are few jobs left offered to those whose strengths are not academic, and replacing these jobs with warehouse jobs and trucking is unfair. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found a 43% turnover rate in warehouse jobs annually, indicating a lack of stability or safety for workers.

Big box companies can only withstand so much until they are in a financial crisis, just like Bed Bath & Beyond. Although this is something that the public may not think about, e-commerce will soon create a monopoly in our society and have widespread consequences. Big Box stores are still a staple to many and provide a necessary service. With the closure of this retailer, consumerism is continuing to shift dangerously in favor of online shopping, a dystopia that, while convenient, will initiate a domino effect of negative ramifications.