There are few things in American pop culture more beloved than the Blue Light Special. Ask anyone in the United States over a certain age about it, and chances are you'll get a smile and some happy childhood memories. The Blue Light Special was one of the greatest retail inventions. In the mid- to late-20th century, shoppers at the discount department store chain K-Mart would see a bright, spinning police light in a certain area of the store that would announce a special sale of a certain item for a very limited time -- for as long as that blue light was on.
Shoppers would rush over to wherever the light was, and even if the sale item was something they didn't necessarily want or need, the spontaneity and limited time of the sale would often influence an on-the-spot purchase. This all might sound quaint in the early 21st century, but the Blue Light Special was not unlike what the online 'flash sale' is like today. The bright light, the limited time, the rush of shoppers trying to get to the merchandise -- it all sounds very 'omnichannel,' doesn't it?