Technology is getting to the point where we can pretty much get everything online. For example, music is rarely bought anymore. People download them through the Internet.
Movies can also be watched online. You can do a Google search for watch movies online, and you will find hundreds of websites giving links to video hosting links to full movie archives. My friends often watch Batman, 300 and others from these movie archives. The quality of the movie is quite poor, but it is still watchable.
Encyclopedias are no longer required. You can read them online. Many books are also in e-book form.
Therefore, I question how long it will take before stores disappear completely and sell everything online. It is quite possible that you can order and pay for your groceries online, and pick them up from the store later that day.
I bought some computer parts from a computer store that is completely online. They have no storefront. I just receive a confirmation number that the order was received. After a few days, I would get an email stating that the parts are in and I can pick them up. I drive down to the place and pick-up my box from the secretary.
The future is good for the consumer. Everything will be dirt cheap. The elimination of the middle-man may never disappear, but it will get cheaper. It seems that we are not allowed to purchase directly from the warehouse. Maybe it is because of the laws in place, or because the warehouse does not like to deal with customers. In any case, the future of business is virtual.
Virtual is cheap, easy, and the exposure is unlimited. Therefore, I look forward to the future. I look forward to paying peanuts for stuff. I look forward to the elimination of millions of jobs and the streamlining of the process.
There is no turning back. As technology gets better, things get done faster, cheaper and easier. This is what I call a double-edged sword.