First off, let’s just say I loathe shopping. Hour wandering around the store trying to find everything, unhelpful (if even findable) service, and me progressively losing patience with roughly everything in the universe.
At some point, though, it penetrated the haze of impatience that the problem I was seeing is analogous to that of faceted classifications vs. linear shelving. Electronic catalogs are great in that they allow us to search and browse in faceted ways, like I think most of us think. But whenever you have to put actual physical objects on shelves, you have to break that paradigm; there’s only one order they can go in. (Perhaps if you are very nerdy, and your products can be fully specified along a small number of axes which have few values, you can do a partial ordering, taking advantage of the vertical nature of shelving and more complicated arrangements, but really, who are your patrons then? And what are you selling?)
So anyway, here I am trying to find, e.g., a backpack for a toddler. Does it go in the children’s section, near toddler clothes? Does it go in the back-to-school section, which exists only at this time of year (and is admittedly a good idea even if it reclassifies things according to a wholly different facet than the norm)? The various sections of the store are labeled, but there’s so many facets I might treat as primary that the labels are unhelpful. (And in this case, really, “so many” means “more than one”.)
I need a tool to help me navigate. Knowledgeable, easy-to-find sales staff with social skills would work, but that seemed not to be the store’s priority. Kiosks that let me search an inventory and gave me a map would help. Luckily, these are things that libraries often (not always…) do well, and care about. But there is no LC, or other standardized classification system, for this sort of store.
(The answer, by the way? “Luggage”. But only if you want it to be hideously appliqued with brightly colored, strongly gendered merchandised characters. Otherwise you are out of luck.)