Sunday, April 5, 2009

Malls and U-Bars

Although consumer spending only increased 14% from 1990-2005, mall space has doubled. I often wondered how people have so much money to spend at these places and sustain these businesses over the long term. Evidently these malls are distressed as the recession draws Americans’ purse strings tighter. As aesthetically abhorrent as most malls are, the will now offer their ugly likeness to those stores historically relegated to the fringes of the retail spectrum - stores like Big Lots. (Here is an interesting article in today’s NYT.) As retail architecture has become increasingly ugly in the past decades, I wonder if we will ever see the grandeur of the stores where we remember shopping as children will ever return? At least in Bellingham we have the incessant flow of Canadians coming down in their expensive autos always looking for next deal.

And the variety of stores was always so interesting, like Maison Blanche in New Orleans; Strawbridge & Clothier in Philadelphia; Hornes in Pittsburgh; and many ohers scattered across the U.S. Now your choice is Macy’s or Target. Will there ever be another Samaritaine built? (And as I write this, I find La Samaritaine has been closed for the past year or two – until 2011 – due to structural deficiencies that need to be remedied.)

But Set One is almost over on a 10/04/1981 Dead Show from London that I am listening to on Sirius Radio from my moonlighting gig (on a Sunday morning) as I muse. Need to get some coffee before Set Two begins and write a business plan. Back to quasi-reality.

Oh, and as I finish up, I see I received a picture from yesterday’s U-bar class. Can wait to get home to do some gardening.

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