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Curious George Learns About the Transforming Retail Industry

Posted on by Alissa DeJonge

retail

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the musical Curious George and The Golden Meatball at Playhouse on Park in West Hartford. Based on the books by Margaret and H.A. Rey, this live performance about a mischievous monkey had my son, husband, and I laughing and clapping the whole time.

However, what appeared on the surface as a sweet musical for young children, also had some deeper concepts embedded in the themes. Consider what Curious George teaches about economic development and how the retail industry is changing:

  • George’s neighbor, Chef Pisghetti, owns a restaurant whose customers have stopped visiting because they are utilizing a Meatballs-o-Matic machine. That’s right George, the use of technology in the home has exploded over the past few decades. From in-house surveillance systems to ‘smart’ refrigerators that add items to a shopping list when you are running low, to automatic flushing toilets, the use of technology has a seemingly endless supply of possibilities in the home and beyond. However, traditional retail, such as a restaurant, needs to reinvent itself in order to stay relevant and turn users of technology once again into customers.
  • George enters Chef’s meatballs in the world-famous Golden Meatball Contest and wins the top prize, which floods the restaurant with customers who want to meet the masterful cook and enjoy delicious food. Congratulations to George, and to those retail establishments that prioritize the customer’s experience above everything else. Traditional storefront retailers that remain profitable during this time of industry transition are adopting a hybrid approach of retaining less inventory on site and enhancing a shopping social experience.

Little did I know that attending this musical would provide such a window into an industry transition. The musical is being performed through December 20, so if you get a chance please check it out. Who knew that a Young Audience Series could also relate to an economist? Imagine that!