Saturday, January 03, 2009

To the mall

Took a carload of kids stuff to the thrift store, then went to, thinking to replace perhaps my half rotten manclogs, perhaps the "sack jacket" I got from J Crew in 1991 and then gotten tooth marks on from a Moscow escalator in 1996. No luck. I'll never replace that jacket.

But I got to see the mall. A scene in desolation. In Lord & Taylor's, the men's shoe section had three whole racks with nothing on 'em. The suit section was distinctly underpopulated. It was like they weren't bothering to restock. There was plenty of foot traffic, but I know I for one didn't by shit (and it wasn't just because I had forgotten to bring coupons). The bathroom in JC Penney stank and there was garbage on the floors at Macy's. They weren't stocking, and they weren't staffing.

If, as some are predicting, as many as 25% of retailers file for bankrupcy in 2009-10, and gas prices creep back up, there's going to be a lot of fallow real estate out there. Lets hope it reverts to greenspace and the now fully borne costs of getting to the store result in a whole new mode of retail, a return to main street and a new generation of convenience stores serving better foodstuffs, and a defetishization of cost control by buying in bulk.

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