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“When we are listening to our peers, friends or relatives bemoan the passing of the mom-and-pop stores - waxing nostalgically about "the way life used to be, back in the good old days" - what we're really doing is assuaging ourselves of an acute, unexpressed ambivalence in our society regarding the nature of commerce and social relations,” writes retail anthropologist Jarrett Paschal in this week’s edition of HartBeat from the Hartman Group.

What this means for retailers, Paschal writes, is that they have to balance the demands of the efficiency-driven marketplace with the customer’s need for a connection to an idealized past.
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