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First, read this article by Mark Morford. Then think about the last time you went traveling to another state.

When I went down to Florida, it was erie that so many of the same sets of stores, in the same clusters, were along the highways, all housed in the same ugly, bland, yuppified architecture - square, pretentious, and stuccoed. Yes, it was nice knowing that you could find a certain class of goods in a big national chain, but the fact that the colors and decorations were the same 2000 miles apart was a bit, disquieting. Fortunately, the local restaurants were sufficiently unique, if you didn't try fast food.

The interesting thing about mom&pop operations is this: they're gone from the streets, they've moved to the internet. Between eBay and hosting providers that provide turnkey eCommerce, the small business truly can be national, or even global. So I guess the big box chains inherit the streets and malls, splattering a numbing homogenaity all over the (now identical) landscape. The real unique goods and services are on the net.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 17th, 2005 10:40 pm (UTC)
And let's not forget the ubiquitous Outlet Shopping complex. I've been to one of these once (Gilroy), just so I can say I did. But I don't doubt that these complexes along the interstate are pretty much the same. (I'm still working on why folks would go to Las Vegas to go outlet shopping, but they do...)

What's scary is seeing it when I was in Dublin, Ireland in 2001. To get into Dublin proper you must transit a district of shopping malls that look frighteningly like something from the States. I keep thinking of travel writer Tim Cahill writing about small archepelagos in the Indian Ocean in the early '90's, and the ubiquitous Batman T-shirts worn by the locals. Go to the ends of the earth, and you still see evidence of mass market culture.
Aug. 18th, 2005 10:16 am (UTC)
It's not just the US
Go to any High Street or shopping centre in the UK and you can't tell it from any other. All the same chains selling the same stuff.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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