Saturday, January 06, 2007

Retail chains

After New Year's in the OC, we made our way south to see some family in San Diego. On the way we passed some huge boobs and then took CA 78 east, passing thru some suburbs in the north county. I was a bit disgusted to note that we kept passing malls that all looked identical in appearance and content; we must have passed 3 that all had a Wal-Mart, BestBuy and Office Max. Later that night I was reading thru The Nation and saw an ad for a book called Big Box Swindle, a fascinating excerpt of which talks about the history of chain stores in America.

I find myself split between the values of such huge chains. On one hand, it was very cool that when I first moved to New Jersey almost 10 years ago, there was a whole new set of chains that I wasn't familiar with. By the time we moved to California in 2004, chains had spread countrywide and most of the stores I knew on one cost were now on the other, with locals being absorbed by the chains. On the other hand, I do respect being able to see a store name you know; I wouldn't have gone to NJ if they didn't have Trader Joe's, after all. Ms Goat makes a very valid point when she says that the golden arches is the international symbol for a clean bathroom.

We got a membership to Costco as a xmas gift and we'll certainly take advantage of it given the presence of a babygoat in the house. Although I know they're one of the better retailers in terms of social responsibility, the whole bulk-consumption thing can be a bit disturbing, especially when one sees some of the stuff that sells there.

Update: MsGoat points out that Golden Arches represent free bathrooms, not necessarily clean.



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