For modern ‘globetrotters,’ the traditional physical retail store embodies nothing but the dead (or let’s say dying) remnant of our old, yet enduring past – withering away like a cut-off branch, since more and more people are likely to choose online rather than traditional ways of shopping nowadays. And should they be doubted? While fashion has ‘souled out’ (mind the wordplay) to an economic beast altogether, defaulting retailers and department stores likewise have put their entire, and quite often last trust into the hands of efficiency-based consulting firms – the modern-day Frankensteinian ‘doctors’ with a cure, or a magical panacea for all corporate ills (let’s be honest – more often than not it turns out to be some “one-size-fits-all” strategy that proved successful in the past). A ‘wise’ decision! After all, those have a world-renowned penchant for grasping the hard facts and figures, the “bottom-line” (which is not quite the original talent, but a talent nonetheless, since today’s fashion industry resembles a bottomless pit), and the real “meat” of an underlying issue. Therefore, their magical “silver bullet” strikes twice-as-fast, right into the heart of the beast. Needless to say, the one-size-fits-all approach widely used throughout the seriously injured fashion industry proves in fact to be more harmful than beneficial, if the operation was not done properly. It’s as if any Emergency Medical Technician would deliberately choose to place an already used ‘dirty’ Band-Aid on this deep, gaping bullet wound in severe need of stitches.

Unfortunately, it is not actually going to help on a long-term basis, the unclean Band-Aid can cause the most severe infections, and the gun-shot wound will most likely get worse sometime after, irrespective the stealthy bandage-changing and nursing care. And here lies the problem: many of the major ‘health’ issues facing today’s department stores are systemic, and as such, they require systemic solutions; that is to say, the persistent “thorn in the industry’s flesh” is not just being stuck in the visible corpus/corpse [physical element], the very heart is sick [spiritual element]. Following the Hygeian (Greek Goddess of health, cleanliness and sanitation; daughter of Asclepius, God of Medicine) holistic principles of health and disease, a single part will never be cured in itself and for itself, if the whole is put out of sight. Thus, one will not be able to properly diagnose and treat an underlying illness by only tending to a breach of visible or superficial scratches – their cosmetic make-up. The body’s inner core also has to be regarded as key to this. It’s sad to say that, however astonishing a placebo response to untailored, one-size-fits-all models of development might appear at first glance, simplistic strategies always carry a high risk of unintended negative side-effects, effectively causing them to ‘backfire’ in the not-so-bright future. The ‘silver bullet’ – an adage for the magic cure – is not just a killer, it’s a “painkiller.” However, even though retailers may as well proceed in that manner, it is a rather bad habit to channel in this fashion.

Now, here comes a second problem: solutions which may well have shown to be valuable and effective in organization A cannot be simply taken and transfused/transplanted into organization B due to them having different environmental self-definitions. It is like a donor-specific blood transfusion or any other heart transplant, for instance. Performing these medical tasks strictly requires in-depth certainty about the compatibility of the donor’s blood with that of the patient; otherwise severest consequences might follow, since using the wrong type of blood can be fatal and, therefore, is most difficult to ‘cure’ – quite similar to a heart or other solid-organ transplant, where there is always the chance that the body could reject the new organ as a foreign body (a virus from outer space), even though anti-rejection drugs are used. And despite the accurate administration of powerful immunosuppressants to ‘lull’ the recipient’s immune system, the human body may still immediately reject new organs. While organs are (relatively) abundant in their natural environments, the human or – in our case – the corporate body, they become a rather scarce resource for implantation into another organism; and this is so because the living tissue is suited peculiarly to the ‘site’ in which it originated. The immune system will almost always reject the introduction of any foreign tissue for the [sole] reason that it has discriminating solid “self”-markers – and, as a consequence, donor organs or different systems/strategies are recognized as “non-self.”

Not surprisingly, any such all-out assault on the natural corporate identity with ‘outsider systems’ (e.g., ‘cut-and-paste’ or ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategies) leaves a deep and fundamental ideological rift between the “natural” (old) and the “artificial” (new) companies’ approach to various styles of execution. All big fashion houses and large commercial enterprises changing their creative director to be the “new heart” of the company on an almost monthly basis exemplifies what the “rage” in modern textile and clothing industries can do to destroy what used to be a beautiful whole; now, however, it is a zombified creature torn to pieces and mutilated by these aggressive wolves lurking out there. Nevertheless, ‘refashioning’ their way of conducting business will ultimately be a necessity in the close future. Here the removal of dead tissue is central in surgical wound treatment. The nurse is responsible for monitoring the patient, ensuring the regular flow of blood throughout the body. It can be too fast, too slow. Drop by drop, she has to watch the transfusion of the precious liquid – the right kind of blood, since the wrong one is also a true poison to one’s system. And poison only begets poison. Poisoning the already toxic environment gets all more poison. Poison is no silver bullet to fix the sick system, and therefore by no possibility can poison cure poison. Poison has but one single significance: it’s an agent of either death or disease. And those who swallow the poison and still recover, do so despite both the drugs and the deadly disease.

Maybe Marx was right in his reiteration of the famous opium-metaphor, where he compared the drug’s analgesic efficacy to a pain-killing medication, which, however, does not cure any organic disease; that is, it does not relieve the whole system (organism and environment) of its intrinsic toxicity. And in fact, opium does not cure anything at all, it merely masks alarming symptoms and allows a system to go on functioning for yet another day. But Mother Nature, in her ‘gracious’ bounty, has scattered everywhere a direct antidote for any poison; likewise, a beautiful, healthy, and pleasant state can only be recovered by nature, in accordance with the old Latin dictum: “The doctor treats, but nature heals” (Lat., ‘medicus curat, natura sanat’). In this regard, sociomedicine should serve as handmaiden to nature – the ‘doctor’ and active agent in the restoration [re-(cover)-y] of health; sociomedical support can, therefore, do no more than ‘clean’ and remove surface dirt and blood seeping from the wound, reinforce or strengthen the power of nature when faint, moderate her when vicious and violent, and conduct her when she is inclined to rampant lawlessness. In fact, practically all vital functions of a (social) system have an innate tendency to return to their ‘normal’ condition, when left to themselves, and the integral organism and environment, when wholly balanced, keep everything in harmony. The so-called “silver bullet” solution takes no part in the recovery. No advancement can be made on the ‘sick industry’ in this respect.