On the opening page of amazon.com, I can purchase a Kindle, scarves, dresses, books and DVDs tailored to my tastes, coffee, a coffee maker and probably a Barista to work it. Some may argue that this online equivalent to an entire shopping mall exists for the sake of ease, but others aren't so enamored with Amazon's ubiquity. Proprietors of physical stores are becoming increasingly worried about the business lost to Amazon, and no community has been hit harder than that of Diagon Alley. What was once the epicenter of the magical community has been relegated to the status of cassette tapes and television commercials—things we'll one day tell our kids about that they won't fully believe existed. Our favorite magical marketplace has to get itself together in order to remain relevant, so here are our suggestions for those small business owners:
1. Make Diagon Alley way more accessible
Considering the convenience factor of Amazon, the website is a far cry from the hoops jumped through to enter Diagon Alley. First you have to get there--it's the only magical shopping center in the UK. Britain is small, but come on. Who wants to travel that far for the equivalent of a Staples run, even if by Flu Powder? Then once you do, you have to remember some convoluted brick wall code at the back of the Leaky Cauldron. That's a lot of work compared to the whole typing and clicking thing that Amazon has going for it. Small tip, proprietors: make websites. I bet there's a spell that would make it super easy.
2. Be kinder to those with less money to spend
The used section of Amazon lacks the taboo that 2nd Hand Brooms, The Second Hand Robe Shop and The Junk Shop once did. With the advent of the internet, poor kids don't have to endure the shame of going into the second-hand shops. Maybe being teased about your shoddy books and robes by the likes of little shits like Malfoy built character, but why subject your kid to the humiliation of shopping at a place that actually calls itself "The Junk Shop?" Take a page from used car dealerships, guys. Call them certified, pre-owned books, and maybe darken your windows a bit so you can shop there discretely. That's classy as shit.
3. Get rid of Knockturn Alley
Has the Ministry for Magic been collectively bribed to keep this place running? It's right by Diagon Alley and has been bringing the area way down for years now. Basically a government-sanctioned black market, Knockturn is dark and creepy and nothing happy or legal ever happens there. Burn it to the ground and salt the earth. Or put up a McDonalds there—even that is less evil than Borgin and Burke's.